The wells of Llandrindod had been resorted to as early as 1696. Rock Water (the chalybeate spring) was rediscovered by a Mrs Jenkins in 1732, tenant of the lower Bach-y Graig Farm. She began selling the waters to travellers, and news of their ‘healing qualities’ spread.
In 1749, William Grosvenor converted a deserted farmhouse into a magnificent hotel, described as ‘accommodation for the invalid of whatever rank and distinction, field amusements for the healthy… balls, billiards and regular assemblies carried the pastimes of the gay and fashionable.’
The Hotel became fashionable, and for the following three decades flourished as a resort. However, as sea bathing grew in vogue, the Wells began to decline in the late 18thand early 19thcenturies.
The construction of the Heart of Wales Line (which made Llandrindodd accessible from the Midlands and North West of England, and South Wales) helped to reverse this decline. Enclosure of the common in 1862 resulted in expansion of the town, and it enjoyed a boom until 1914.
The Rock Park shows how Llandindrod Wells has adapted its heritage for modern use. It was designed in the town’s Victorian heyday as a ‘natural’ open space to complement the spring waters. It declined as ‘taking the waters’ became less and less popular, and became neglected. In recent years, though, Powys County Council, the Friends of Rock Park and volunteers have worked hard to repurpose the space: including restoring some of the footpaths, enhancing accessibility and nurturing wildlife.
Llandindrod Wells prides itself on its association with ‘wellness’ – the town’s emblem features Hygieia, the Goddess of Health. The town contains a range of resources – and encourages activities – based around wellbeing and an active lifestyle. The lake is a prime example. It offers a 1km, 3km and 5km circular was around it, for visitors to enjoy all it has to offer.
Read more about spa towns in our feature here.