• St Ffraid's Church, Llansantffraid
  • St Garmon's Church, Llanfechain
  • St Myllin's Church, Llanfyllin
  • Christ Church, Bwlch-y-Cibau
  • Pendref Chapel, Llanfyllin

Trail 2 - The Cain valley trail

5 churches & chapels in villages along the Cain valley

The historic market town of Llanfyllin lies at the heart of the Cain valley trail. St Myllin’s Church and Pendref Chapel lie at either end of the main street.

Llanfyllin was granted its borough charter in 1293 by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, Lord of Mechain by which it became a town. It is one of only two Welsh towns (the other is Welshpool) to receive its charter from a native Welsh ruler. By the beginning of the eighteenth century the town had its own brick works utilising a supply of suitable clay to produce a beautiful mellow orange coloured brick. The town was also a place of independent thinking. Pendref Chapel is one of the first independent chapels in Wales.

Today the town remains a thriving centre with a population of around 1200. There is a market every Thursday and an excellent selection of shops, including a post office, bank, general store, chemist, bakery, butchers, grocer and DIY store. Public toilets are opposite the church.

There is a wide range of places to eat such as ‘The Lazy Cat’ coffee shop, Seeds restaurant, a fish and chip shop and ‘The Cain Hotel’, which also offers accommodation. Pubs include the Lower Cross Keys Inn and Old New Inn opposite the church.

Places of interest nearby

There are many places of interest in the town or within a short walk or drive. There is an excellent guide Llanfyllin – A Centre for mid-Wales available in the Corner Shop on the town square and the post office. The recently restored St Myllin’s Well overlooks the town. There are a number of historic houses in the town, such as Plas Uchaf (The Hall) where Charles I spent a night en route to Chester in 1645, and the Council House, opposite the church, where a Napoleonic prisoner of war painted a mural between 1812 and 1814. The Civic Society has produced leaflets for the many beautiful walks in the area, available from the Corner Shop.

Llanfyllin workhouse (Y Dolydd) lies about half a mile outside Llanfyllin. It was built between 1837-39 to house poor people from a large part of Montgomeryshire. Designed by Thomas Penson and solidly built of local stone and slate, it has survived largely intact and is one of the finest remaining examples of a Victorian workhouse.

The annual Workhouse Festival began in 2004 and is one of the most successful smaller festivals in Britain, achieving high artistic standards, fostering local talent and dedicated to principles of sustainability and respect for the environment.

A short drive from Llanfyllin is the small rural community of Bwlch-y-Cibau, where followers of the trail will find the charming gem, Christ Church, perched on the hillside. The Stumble Inn, opposite the church, offers food and drink at lunchtimes and in the evening.

Llansanffraid is a linear village in three parts: the high ground on the north side of the road is occupied by St Ffraid’s Church, school and the vicarage, with some new housing developments. The buildings either side of the road include the Lion Hotel and some brick and timber cottages. The third part of the village surrounds the eighteenth century bridge across the river Vyrnwy, surrounded by houses built in the 1830s and 1840s.

Places to visit nearby

The Foel Camp is a site of archaeological interest on Foel Hill, west of Winllan Road. It bears the marks of an iron-age fortification and the spot on the top is known as ‘Soldiers Mount’.

The church of St Garmon, with its large, raised circular churchyard lies at the centre of this charming village. Llanfechain is the birthplace of the Welsh poet, Gwallter Mechain (Walter Davies), born 1761. He was also Rector of St Dogfan’s Church, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (trail 1).