Former hydro-electricity dam, Leighton Estate
Here the Offa’s Dyke path crosses a dam built by the Leighton Estate in an early and short-lived attempt to power farm machinery by electricity. The reservoir behind the dam was once known as Offa’s Pool. It was the uppermost in a string of four reservoirs designed to collect water to drive hydro-electric equipment.
This was one of many ideas tried out at the estate as part of a grand plan to create a model farm, drawing on the latest scientific research. Hydraulic rams and an internal railway were other elements of the farm’s mechanisation.
The estate was given as a wedding present in 1847 to John Naylor by his uncle Christopher Leyland, a wealthy banker. John Naylor rebuilt the home farm with unusual circular buildings, in the belief that they would offer better shelter for animals and feed. Manure was spread to fertilise the fields.
The estate was sold in 1931 by John Naylor’s grandson, Captain JM Naylor, to Montgomeryshire County Council. It passed to Powys County Council in 1974 and was sold in 2010 to the Welshpool-based Potter Group.