The spa waters


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There are a number of mineral springs in the Rock Park. During the early nineteenth century the area was only known for the Eye Well and the Chalybeate spring, but towards the end of the century a number of other springs were discovered, principally as a result of a Thomas Heighway. By 1896 the guidebooks for Llandrindod listed saline, sulphur, chalybeate, magnesia and the Eye Well. In 1906 a Lithia spring was discovered, again by Mr. Heighway. The saline, sulphur and magnesia were piped to the Spa buildings located in the Rock Park where charges were 1d per glass and 1/11d per gallon or 6d per day for any amount and 2/6d per week. The chalybeate was free of charge from a drinking basin near the Arlais brook. The Eye Well was in a natural hollow in the rocks on the banks of the brook.

By modern-day standards the curative powers of the waters are debatable, but in Victorian times they were considered to have important medicinal properties. It was generally felt that sulphur was good for skin complaints, while the iron in chalybeate was good for anaemia, and saline for constipation. Mineral waters were regularly recommended for the treatment of scurvy, ulcers and eye troubles with varying degrees of success. They were also recommended for asthma, debility and for generally washing out the system. It was thought that those that contained traces of barium were good for heart troubles.

The compositions of the waters are very similar suggesting that they all have a common underground source. It is thought that the fractured rock in the area allows the water from the surrounding hills to percolate into the ground and flow underground into the region of the park where hydraulic pressure forces the water to the surface through a fault line. It is thought that the process may take up to a year from the time the water falls as rain on the surrounding hills to the time that it emerges in the park. During this time the various salts in the rocks dissolve into the water, and the varying concentrations point to slight variations in the underground routes. The British Geological Survey undertook a detailed analysis of the waters in Llandrindod in 1991, and the main components of several of the waters are listed below (mg/l):

Saline Magnesia Eye Well

Sodium

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Chlorine

Barium

Lithium

Iron

Bromine

1200.00

8.97

281.00

67.60

2530.00

8.79

2.39

3.64

18.30

Sodium

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Chlorine

Barium

Lithium

Iron

Bromine

88.70

3.48

40.50

5.65

151.00

0.50

0.05

0.01

0.90

Sodium

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Chlorine

Barium

Lithium

Iron

Bromine

1390.00

24.60

383.00

73.80

3040.00

3.68

2.78

0.05

21.90

Sulphur Chalybeate

Sodium

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Chlorine

Barium

Lithium

Iron

Bromine

499.00

6.49

121.00

54.50

984.00

1.53

0.62

0.02

7.10

Sodium

Potassium

Calcium

Magnesium

Chlorine

Barium

Lithium

Iron

Bromine

1580.00

12.30

362.00

37.70

3180.00

17.60

3.03

1.52

23.10


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