As far as location goes, this is simply stunning: this castle stands on a flat green headland overlooking the gorgeous sand flats of the River Tywi in Carmarthenshire. Initially, Norman invaders, recognising the strategic strength of this plot of land, established an earth-and-timber enclosure within the ancient defences of an Iron Age fort. The castle controlled an important river crossing and it changed hands several times during fierce fighting between the Normans and the Welsh. The gradual transformation of the early earth-and-timber stronghold into the powerful masonry castle visible today was undertaken mostly in the 13th century. At the close of the 15th century, King Henry VII granted it to his uncle, Jasper Tudor, who was probably responsible for blocking the great gatehouse passage to create additional accommodation. More recently, it was used as farm buildings before coming under the care of Cadw. Photo credit: © Crown copyright (2015) Cadw
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Facilities – at a glance
Assist dogs allowed
- Parking nearby
- Approximately 800 metres to the castle via footpath and private road which are steep and uneven in places. Access limited to walkers
- 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
Carmarthenshire is the largest of the historic counties of Wales, and known to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Carmarthen, its county town, with its Roman fort, claims to be the oldest town in Wales.
Carmarthenshire was a heavily disputed territory between the Welsh and the Normans in the 12th and 13th centuries, and many of the castles and forts dotting its landscapes date from this period. They include ruins at Carreg Cennen, Dinefwr, Dryslwyn, Laugharne, Llansteffan and Newcastle Emlyn, as well as the slightly better-preserved Kidwelly Castle. Carmarthen Castle, meanwhile, saw further fighting during both the Wars of the Roses and the Civil War, when it was captured twice by the Parliamentary forces, and ordered to be dismantled by Oliver Cromwell.
In these more peaceful times, the economy of the county is mainly agricultural (the 19th-century Rebecca Riots, in which local farmers and agricultural workers protested against higher tolls and taxes, started in Carmarthenshire), and its fertile farmland is known as ‘The Garden of Wales’. A more literal garden, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, opened in 2000.
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