Thursday 31 December 2015

A Post-Christmas Walk - Dinefwr Castle Part 2 (Picture heavy!)

A reasonable amount of  the castle still remains at Dinefwr.  When we first moved here, you could walk up to the ivy-covered walls, but it wasn't really maintained and you couldn't go inside.  Now it is made safe and popular with locals and visitors alike.

As you can see, it held its defensive position, on a steep outcrop of rock, with ease, and behind it (see photo below), there were two rock-cut ditches for defence.  A promontary fort of the first order and I don't doubt it has been held since the Bronze Age.

This was roofed over and used as a summer house in Victorian times.

Of course, there are fabulous views of the Towy Valley whichever way you look.  This is the River Towy with its Oxbow Lakes and meanders.

In the opposite direction is Newton House, where I used to volunteer, and a couple of estate houses.  The bracken area is inside the Deer Park.

To the right of the last picture, looking across the parkland towards Llandeilo.

A wider view of the Deer Park.

More River Towy meanders viewed over the ramparts.

Looking straight up the Towy valley, to Dryslwyn Castle, the next link in the chain of command which began at mighty Carreg Cennen Castle, high on its limestone cliff close to Black Mountain. The final link was at Carmarthen Castle, although little remains of that as a Gaol was built on the site in the 18th C.  As you can see, a band of rain was enveloping it and heading our way.

Looking to the South.  The fields, copses and woodland are typical Carmarthen scenery.  Small farmsteads would be about 60 acres or less.  That was considered to be a one-man farm.  Anything larger and you needed good strong sons to help you.

View across the Castle.

The castle is still surrounded by trees, but when it needed to be defensive in the past, I imagine the hillsides would have been clear so that any attackers approaching could be seen and dealt with.

Here is one of the three vents for light and air, built like a fireplace with steps.

The entrance into the keep with walls about 15 feet thick.  We sheltered here from the rain.

We made our way back across the park.  Here is Llandyfeisant church, shrugging off the surrounding trees.  It is encircled by Yew trees, "children" of much older Yews.  The stream which runs beside it would have made this an area venerated in Iron Age times (and before).  When the Romans came and built their encampments on high ground at the front of the park, they doubtless visited the spot.  It was only natural that in time Christianity should claim it for its own.

This stream cascades through the wall at the back of the church, where there is a rather intense feeling, so we normally scoot around that corner.  I would like to say it's just the energy of the water, trapped there against the walls, but I'm not so sure - I got a sudden intense headache as we stopped to take photos.

The roof is well on the way to being a proper centre for mosses and plants.

Finally, the first Snowdrops, beside a Primrose plant which looks as if it will soon be flowering too.


  1. A wonderful post - so interesting and informative. It looks a great place to visit :) I haven't seen any snowdrops yet but wild primroses (P. vulgaris) are flowering in the garden here.

  2. Interesting to read about the 'intense' feeling you got when in one particular area. I had a similar 'feeling' many years agoas i was being driven through a remote hamlet in West Cornwall. It was a hot, sunny day and we had the windows down. Suddenly I felt chilled right through and shivered "Brrrr!". My friend who was driving asked if I felt cold and admitted that he too had shivered at the same time. We closed the windows and drove up the hill, away from that hamlet as fast as we could. It was so eerie.

  3. I've enjoyed a quarter hour taking the 'tour' of the ruins--Jim looking over my shoulder at one point and speculating on the stream which has found its way through the wall [?] of the old church. We have nothing so ancient in America, but it is fascinating to spend time at an old fort, battleground or 'ghost town' and imagine the place as bustling and alive.
    It is constantly wet in KY also--puddles, streams, rivlets that shouldn't be here in December. Ah well, we take what we get, weather-wise!

  4. Lovely to have a tour of the castle while keeping warm here in Suffolk!

  5. Very evocative those photos, especially of the church and stream.

  6. Very evocative those photos, especially of the church and stream.

  7. R. Robin - I think if I did the Colomendy walk (if it ever dried up long enough!) I would find the Primroses out along there. They have flowered on Christmas Day in a previous mild winter.

    Marlene - the views are superb on a sunny day in summer. The light levels weren't good last

    Rambler - ah "feelings" are my speciality. I pick up on places, and some have very intense atmospheres.

    Sharon - I'm glad you enjoyed the tour of the castle. It's in a fabulous spot and was pretty unassailable back in the day. Your American history might be more recent, but none the less, just as interesting.

    Sue - armchair travel can be the best!

    Thelma - it is an ancient site, and the stream pours through that gap in the wall at quite a rate from all the recent rain. You can see what attracted people there in the past.