Ten miles from Dolgellau lies this Welsh castle. Once very powerful, Castell-y-Bere controlled one of the primary routes through central Wales, but today the major road runs further south and the castle is abandoned and lonely. Little remains and only foundations represent the original buildings. Originally built by Llywelyn the Great in the 1220s, it is probable that the castle was intended to be more a step towards securing his position as Prince of Wales in the minds of his warring compatriots than a stand against the invading Normans. The castle was roughly triangular, following the shape of the rock, with towers at each angle. The entrance was defended by an impressive array of ditches, as well as a drawbridge and a portcullis. During Edward I’s wars against the Welsh princes, Castell-y-Bere was besieged and damaged. Although Edward paid more than £260 to have the castle repaired, it was not occupied for long and completely abandoned by 1295. Photo credit: © Crown copyright (2015) Cadw
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year, daily 10-4 (last admission 3.30). Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan
Also in the area
About the area
The county of Gwynedd is home to most of the Snowdonia National Park – including the wettest spot in Britain, an arête running up to Snowdon’s summit that receives an average annual rainfall of 4,473mm. With its mighty peaks, rivers and strong Welsh heritage (it has the highest proportion of Welsh-speakers in all of Wales), it’s always been an extremely popular place to visit and live. The busiest part is around Snowdon; around 750,000 people climb, walk or ride the train to the summit each year.
Also in Gwynedd is the Llyn Peninsula, a remote part of Wales sticking 30 miles out into the Irish Sea. At the base of the peninsula is Porthmadog, a small town linked to Snowdonia by two steam railways – the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway. Other popular places are Criccieth, with a castle on its headland overlooking the beach, Pwllheli, and Abersoch and the St Tudwal Islands. Elsewhere, the peninsula is all about wildlife, tranquillity, and ancient sacred sites. Tre’r Ceiri hill fort is an Iron Age settlement set beside the coastal mountain of Yr Eifl, while Bardsey Island, at the tip of the peninsula, was the site of a fifth-century Celtic monastery.
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