Sir Drefaldwyn


This article is about the county of Wales. For the ancient kingdom, see Kingdom of Powys.

Powys principal area
colspan="2" style="text-align: center; background: white;" - Geography
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 1st
5,196 km²
? %
Admin HQ Llandrindod Wells
ONS code 00NN
- ()
- Density

/ km²
Ethnicity 99.3% White
Welsh language
- Any skills
Ranked 7th

Powys Council



Powys (pronounced ˈpæw.ɪs Pow [rhyme with "cow"]-is [as in "list"] by most English speakers, but with a full, rounded, accent on the first syllable [rhyme with "oh" or "oval"], which is stressed, by Welsh-speakers) is a local government principal area and a preserved county in Wales.


See the list of places in Powys for all towns and villages in Powys.
Powys covers the former administrative counties of Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, most of Brecknockshire, and a small part of Denbighshire — an area of 5,196 km², making it the largest principal area in Wales by land area.

It is bounded to the north by Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Wrexham; to the west by Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire; to the east by England (counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire); and to the south by Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly (county borough), Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire and Neath Port Talbot.

Most of Powys is mountainous, with north-south transportation by car being difficult.

The majority of the Powys population is made up of small villages and towns. The largest is Newtown, with a population of 12,783 (2001).

Just under a third of the residents have Welsh linguistical skills and Welsh speakers are concentrated mainly in the rural areas both in and around Machynlleth, Llanfyllin and Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (where William Morgan first translated the whole Bible into Welsh in 1588) in Montgomeryshire (Sir Drefaldwyn), and the industrial area of Ystradgynlais in the extreme south-west of Brecknockshire (Sir Frycheiniog). Radnorshire (Sir Faesyfed) was almost completely Anglicised by the end of the 18th century.

For a map of the current distribution of Welsh speakers in the county, see the website of bwrdd-yr-iaith/The Welsh Language Board


Top performing secondary schools in Powys, 5 GCSEs, grades A-C, according to the latest inspection reports from Estyn.

83% Llanidloes High school, Llanidloes (Bilingual)

77% Builth Wells High School, Builth Wells (Bilingual)

74% Llanfyllin High School, Llanfyllin (Bilingual)

72% Crickhowell High School, Crickhowell

64% Welshpool High School, Welshpool

63% Caereinion High Sch, Llanfair Caereinion (Bilingual)

61% Gwernyfed High School, Three Cocks

57% Brecon High School, Brecon (Bilingual)

56% John Beddoes School, Presteigne

52% Ysgol Maes y Dderwen, Ystradgynlais

49% Ysgol Bro Ddyfi, Machynlleth (Bilingual)

42% Newtown High School, Newtown

All are substantially out-performed by the county's leading independent school - Christ College, Brecon. In 2007 91.3% achieved grades A - C in GCSE examinations.


This area is named after the older Welsh/British Kingdom of Powys, which occupied the northern two thirds of the area as well as lands now in England, and came to an end when it was occupied by Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Gwynedd during the 1260s.

In December 2007 Powys was awarded Fairtrade County status by the Fairtrade Foundation


The gold in the county coat of arms (see right) symbolises the wealth of the area. Black for both mining and the Black Mountains. The fountain is a medieval heraldic charge, always shown as a roundel barry wavy Argent and Azure. It represents water and, therefore, both refers to the water catchment area and the rivers and lakes. The arms, therefore, contain references to the hills and mountains, rivers and lakes, water supply and industry.

The crest continues the colouring of the arms. A tower has been used in preference to a mural crown, which alludes to the county's military history and remains. From the tower rises a red kite, a bird almost extinct elsewhere in Britain, but thriving here. The bird is semy of black lozenges for the former coal mining industry, while the golden fleece it carries is a reference to the importance of sheep rearing in Powys ).

The county motto is, Powys - the paradise of Wales (Powys Pardwys Cymru) .


Powys was originally created on 1 April 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, and originally had Montgomery and Radnor and Brecknock as districts under it, which were based directly on the former administrative counties.

On 1 April 1996, the districts were abolished, and Powys was reconstituted as a unitary authority, with a minor border adjustment in the north-east (specifically the addition of the communities of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, Llansilin and Llangedwyn from Glyndwr district in Clwyd, all historically part of Denbighshire).

The first Lord Lieutenant of Powys was previously the Lord Lieutenant of Montgomeryshire. The Lord Lieutenant of Brecknockshire and Lord Lieutenant of Radnorshire were appointed as Lieutenants.

The present Lord Lieutenant is The Hon. Mrs Elizabeth Shân Legge-Bourke LVO of Crickhowell.

Quality of life

Recent research suggests that Powys is the happiest place in the UK

Places of interest

Cave systems

Reservoirs and Lakes

Museums and exhibitions





External links

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