Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Victorian transport
  The turnpike roads around Machynlleth  

The ports near the mouth of the River Dyfi at Aberdyfi and Derwenlas once gained a lot of trade because the cross-country roads in the district were very bad for many years.Notice of tolls,1835
It wasn't until local turnpikes were authorised by Parliament that decent roads were built. These roads were paid for by invested money, and tolls were charged for their use by travellers.
The Turnpike Trust built the road between Machynlleth and Aberdovey in 1827 - just 10 years before Victoria came to the throne.
There were local toll houses and gates at Lledfair Gate on the Aberystwyth Road and at Mengwyn Gate at the eastern end of Maengwyn Street. The Dyfi Bridge Gate and the Ffridd Gate controlled other routes, and there were other gates further from the town in the outlying district.

This copy of the 1835 Tollgate sign originally displayed at the Leighton Gate near Welshpool, can be seen at
Powysland Museum
in Welshpool.
The notice said that the charges were 6 pence for coaches, 4 pence for wagons and carts, and 2 pence for horses.
Every 20 cows were charged
1 shilling, and every 20 sheep were charged 8 pence !

Montgomeryshire tollgate

This early photograph of the Kynant Tollgate near Welshpool gives a good idea of a typical Montgomeryshire turnpike road.

In the early years of the Victorian age local people in many areas were finding the high toll charges levied on them by the Turnpike Trusts a real burden in difficult times.


Toll gates on most roads in and out of towns meant that those on horses or in horse-drawn vehicles could not avoid the expensive tolls. It was particularly costly for farmers driving animals in to market, as you can see from the charges shown above right.

Toll charges were one of the causes of the famous Rebecca Riots in south Wales, when toll gates were attacked and destroyed. These took place between 1839 and 1844, and they eventually led to the ending of this method of paying for roads.

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