Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

1 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



IN LOVELY WALES. VI. THE WELSH SPAS. The fame of the wells of Central Wales has travelled far and has reached many people who have never visited them. Those spas are scattered over a district reaching from Llan- drindod in Radnorshire to Llanwrtyd in Breconshire, a distance of about 20 miles. About the health-giving qualities of the waters -saline, sulphur, and chalybeate—we do not propose to say anything. We possess neither the necessary knowledge nor experience. We have tasted the waters, and that is about all, but we cannot say that the taste made our throat thirst for a full draught. All we know is that their reputation is growing higher daily, that crowds of invalids visit them, that medical men give their glowing testimonies, saying, that all that is needed to make them as much frequented as a continental spa is that people should have the same comforts and the same opportunities of forgetting their ailments when they go to Wales. If that be all we may soon expect to see Llandrindod, Builth, Llangamarch, and Llanwrtyd as well patronised by the invalids of all lands as Homburgh, and Nanheim, and Kreuznach. But this district in Central Wales is a favorite resort of people who are not actually invalids, but who are anxious to keep all ailments off by change and recreation. And about the pleasure- giving properties of the centres mentioned, who can speak with much greater confidence. We know of no district that affect so magically the tired body and the weary brain. Whether the waters in the earth have some effect upon the atmosphere or not, we are not able to say; but we know that breathing that atmosphere for a few days has made us forget all our troubles and feel that if we could only breathe it continually we might live for ever. The climate is splendid, the air being pure and exhilarating. Llandrindod stands on a much higher elevation than the other places mentioned, being situated on the tableland, and though it affords a most extensive view, the scenery is not so varied and sylvan in its beauty as it is in the valleys of the Wye and the Irvon. But for those who desire a bracing air, and plenty of it, and can enjoy walks in somewhat crowded parks, and rest satisfied with such amusements as croquet, balls, golf, Llandrindod is an ideal holiday resort. And visitors there must not forget the Shaky Bridge" and the old church on the slope of the hill above the lake on the common. There is also a famous leap over the river down in the hollow which will test the courage of the most reckless athlete. One of the chief attractions of Llandrindod is the Railway Station, of all places imaginable. But to be present at the station to welcome the coming and to bid adieu to the departing guest, is a most important element in the social life of the place. Up to the present Llandrindod has been considered the most fashionable of the resorts in this district, but the other centres have a large number of partizans, and recently Llan- gamarch has made rapid strides in popularity. Besides sulphur it possesses a spring, which is almost unique on account of it containing as a constituent part banim chloride, said to be a very effective cure for rheumatism and heart disease. The climate there is said to be especially mild throughout the winter, so mild really that one would almost expect to find wild flowers in bloom at Christmas. The whole district possesses everything needed to meet the tastes and preferments of all classes of visitors and pleasure seekers. There are rivers and brooks full of fish for the anglers, there are shady and quiet lanes and walks for ramblers, for those who wish to climb theie are the Eppynt Mountains, 1,600 ft. high, and from the summit a splendid view to be ob- tained. Each centre also provides opportunities for boating and canoeing on artificial lakes, whilst along the banks of the Wye on both sides of Builth, as far as Rhaiadr in one direction and Enwood in the other, the scenery is most pictur- esque, and often grand. So also in a lesser degree it is all the way along the valley of the Irvon, as far as Llanwrtyd. Those who love ruggedness and wildness should not omit to visit Abergwesyn and the lofty hills that divide Breconshire from Cardiganshire. Llanwrtyd is the principal playground of Lhe miners of the Glamorganshire valleys, and such a lovely playground it is that it is no wonder that they have no desire to change it. As curious and quaint a village as is to be found m the country, surrounded by lofty hills, with wooded lower slopes, sheltering glens where wild flowers grow in great variety, watered by babbling brooks as clear as crystal, it is difficult to imagine a pleasanter resort, quite apart from the medicinal value of the strong sulphur water to be obtained there. It may be said justly that Llanwrtyd is really a discovery of the late Kilsby Jones," who built a home for himself .about three-quarters of a mile from the village, and used his ready and virile pen to sing the praises of the place of his adoption. And though the sphere of his pastoral duties was for many years at Llandrindod, twenty miles away, he only went there on the Saturday evenings and returned on the Monday mornings. For more than a quarter of a century he was the "celebrity" of Llanwrtyd, and his name and fame brought the quaint village into prominence far and wide. But Cantref Buallt, in which most of the spas are situated, has other attractions. It is as full of historical interest as any district in Wales. The Rev. Kilsby Jones, who lived there for a generation, used to call it classical ground." And the description is most appropriate. A few miles from Builth, in the direction of Llan- gamarch and Llanwrtyd, stands Cefnybedd, the farmhouse, under the hearthstone of which, according to tradition, the bones of Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf" are resting. Some chroniclers, it is true, hold that he was buried in a neigh- bouring monastery but it is not at all likely, as he was at the time of his death under a sentence of excommuni ation. There is no doubt about the fact that the last independent Prince of Wales fell by the hand of a traitor on the hills of Buallt. To the south or south-west of Llangamarch, on the slopes of Eppynt, there stands another farmhouse that has become quite as famous in the religious annals of Wales as Cenfybedd has become in her political. This is also a cefn- Cefnbrith. It is the birthplace of John Penry, the morning star of Welsh Nonconformity. And it is a strange and suggestive coincidence that the torch of Welsh religion was kindled within sight of the spot where the torch of Welsh independence was extinguished. The story of John Penry is familiar enough to our readers that we need not repeat it. His martyrdom in Tyburn, at the early age of thirty-four, for no crime whatsoever except that he denounced the carelessness of the professed religious teachers in Wales who neglected their duty, and called for light to scatter the darkness that was like the mantle of death over his beloved land, is one of the ugliest stains on the character of the Elizabethan era. Llangamarch is associated also with the names of two other men whose names are very familiar to lovers of Welsh literature, the two Theophiluses—Theophilus Evans, the author of Drych y Prif Oesoedd," and Theophilus Jones, the historian. Jones was a nephew of Evans, and lived many yea. s with him when he was vicar of the parish. Drych y Prif Oesoedd" is considered a Welsh classic, and is still widely read, not on account of the historical value of its romances, but on account of its style and the purity of its diction. We have said enough about the attractions of the central Wales playground, but would add that the travelling facilities afforded by the London and North Western Railway are being perfected year after year. The Cambrian Railway also runs along the Wye Valley. If there was a better understand- ing between the two companies with regard to the trains passing through the junction, it would be better for the public.