Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Victorian transport
  The river port at Derwenlas  

The present county of Powys covers much of central Wales, and it now seems strange to think that it once had a small but busy port.
Derwenlas is a village about two miles south-west of Machynlleth, on the south bank of the River Dyfi.
The river is tidal up to Derwenlas, and in Victorian times vessels of up to 70 tons could sail in and out at high tide.
The River Dyfi was mostly used to export slate from the local quarries, lead from the mines, oak timbers, and bark for the leather tanning industry.

Map of Wales & Powys
as shown
on a map
of the

1st edition map of Derwenlas

This is part of a 1st edition
Ordnance Survey map of
the Machynlleth area in the
1830's, showing Derwenlas
by the River Dyfi.
The main turnpike road to
the left goes to Aberystwyth
and to the right to

The imports included coal, fertilizers, wine, and gunpowder for blasting in the quarries.
A new tramroad was opened in 1859 to carry slate in horsedrawn Drawing of tramroadwagons along metal rails from Corris and other quarries to the north of Machynlleth. The route crossed the River Dyfi , passed through Machynlleth and the went westwards to Derwenlas. The tramroad was heavily used until 1864, but lost business to the new steam railway after that date.
Many of the goods carried in and out of Derwenlas were transferred from river boats to larger sea-going ships at Aberdyfi, close to the mouth of the river.
There is more about the only port in Powys on the next page...

The last days of the river port...


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