Three very different Castles in North Wales

11 Aug

Alongside the River Dee estuary in North Wales is the town of Flint. It is thought that the name stems from a rocky outcrop on which King Edward I  had built a Castle to quell the Prince of Wales whose lands lay around Ewloe nearby. Castell y Fflint is strategically placed in North East Wales and originally had access to the estuary and the sea for ease of supply to the troops stationed there.

The ruined walls are simply massively thick. An immense amount of work went into building this impressive testament to subjugation of the proud people of Wales. We had a good look around and then ate lunch in the campervan which was parked very close by. Adjacent to us was an allotment style garden. This too was in a state of ruin. So sad to see the greenhouse full of weeds and a bush growing up through the roof. Blackberries had gone wild but a large flock of sparrows were enjoying the protection offered by the myriad of barbed runners . Rather like the town of Flint which grew up around the King’s outpost.

After lunch, we made the short drive to a layby near the little town of Ewloe. We followed the sign and took the fenced path across the fields to the Castle hidden in the woods. Literally submerged in a steep sided valley and now surrounded by huge trees, it was a compact but impressive little motte and bailey above a quiet stream. As usual it was built  in the Welsh fashion, using a natural rock outcrop for at least part of the foundations. One of the last constructions of the sovereign, native Prince of Wales.

There was a lot of double dealing and switching of allegiance over the centuries and each of these castles experienced very violent times. The first hanging, drawing and quartering of a man was said to have been made after an incident at Flint. Flint was also burned to the ground to prevent falling into Welsh hands.

As we walked back, uphill to the campervan, we discussed how many journeys must have been made carrying baskets of rock and materials for making mortar all those years ago. Another impressive, massive structure in very atmospheric setting.

The short drive further South to Caergwrle took us past an easily missed sign pointing out the pedestrian route , up the steep climb to Caergwrle Castle. We looped around the village , noting all the double yellow , no parking lines before spotting a free car park protected by a 7 feet high height barrier. We sneaked under it just fllicking our radio aerial a little in the process. The height barrier at the car park at Flint had no height listed, hence our parking on the adjacent road.  Sadly,no easy motorhome parking is very evident near Caergwrle Castle.

We had the place pretty much to ourselves. We only met with two other climbers, a lady and then a gent walking his dog. I was pleased to find a wreath (shown below) left in honour of the Welsh Prince. Nationalistic in a nice way, in my opinion, I liked the historic pride shown.

The wreath had been left over the post to the right of the picture and after photographing I replaced it.

Some of the rock had been robbed from the walls in the 17th Century to use in buildings in the village, far below. There is also evidence of quarrying right at the top of the hill, so close in later years that the walls of the castle at one end were undermined. Whoever left the wreath would have waged war against such activity no doubt and rightly so. Nobody likes a vandal !

Caergwrle Castle is at quite a height above the village and the views are excellent.

Three very different Castles. The day gave us an incite into the struggle between the Princes of Wales and the Kings of England. We would now like to see some of the more well preserved Castles of Wales  which we have not visited before. So we must next head South towards Brecon Beacons and the Severn Estuary. Watch this space, the Kampa is ready to roll.

2 Responses to “Three very different Castles in North Wales”

  1. Steve August 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    Have you been to Pembroke Castle? Well worth a visit. Picton Castle is stunning too…. beautiful grounds & a recent addition of owls!

    • Dinkum August 12, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

      Cheers Steve, thanks for the tip off ! We shall have a look !

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