The Severn Arms, Penybont
This hotel has a long angling tradition and has access to 8km (five miles) of the river Ithon. It was once a meeting place for hunts which would kill foxes and otters, both treated as pests.
The building dates from 1840, when it replaced an earlier coaching inn on the same site. The name comes from an early owner, John Cheesement Severn of Penybont Hall (and not from the river Severn). The road here was once the turnpike connecting Aberystwyth to London.
The Severn Arms was a principal venue for groups and events in this rural area, including the Radnorshire Agricultural Society in Victorian times. In 1830, farmers were summoned to pay their tithes (church taxes) at the inn at 11am on 7 December 1830. They were told: “An early attendance is desired, as business must be finished before dinner.”
It was reported in 1877 that Major Hill’s otterhounds had followed the river Ithon to Lover’s Leap, Llandrindod, where they found an otter holt. A “short but most exciting hunt” of 25 minutes ended with the death of an 11kg (24lbs) dog otter.
In 1881 a public inquiry was held at the Severn Arms Hotel into the falling numbers of salmon in the river Wye and its tributaries, including the Ithon, since 1861. One of the witnesses, Sir Richard Green Price, had fished for salmon in 1880 and hardly caught one, the river being “full of a coarse fish”. He blamed incessant fishing by nets downstream, and said demand for salmon increased after completion of railways to Hereford.
Today the river has a healthy fish population, thanks to decades of actions to reduce pollution from agricultural run-off. Anglers come to the Severn Arms from as far away as France for the fly fishing, not least because the flat riverbed is ideal for anglers wishing to stand in the middle of the flow. Grayling and brown trout are the main catches. Otters, now a protected species, and salmon are present.
Postcode: LD1 5UA View Location Map