Play King of the Castle on the Dinefwr Estate
The National Trust owned Dinefwr estate holds a wonderful ruined castle, surrounded by a magical and truly ancient forest. Growing densely around the castle walls are some of the oldest and most mysterious trees in Britain. A walk from the main car park up to the castle is accompanied by creaking branches and a magical windy breeze blowing through the trees.
Found in the heart of Carmarthenshire in South Wales, Dinefwr was once the royal seat of warring Welsh princes. 600 years ago, the castle and surrounding forest was a symbol of their power, and you can still feel the grandeur of the place today. A steep 20 minute walk up leads to the castle itself, via a winding path that flows between some wonderfully wizened trees. An old British saying goes that 'It takes 300 years for an Oak tree to grow, 300 for it to live, and another 300 to die'; and you can feel the age and wisdom of many of these trees.
Pretend to be the castle Lord at Dinefwr
The castle is completely open for visitors to explore. There are five floors to climb and clamber up, with safety rails and barriers to keep you safe. Many of the tower climbs are steep and a little slippery, though, so do take care if you venture up. Thoughtful and interesting billboards tell the history of the castle and show what it may have looked like in its prime.
The castle is free to the public, but visitors must pay for parking unless they are a member of the National Trust, in which case there is no charge.
to read about all of the other elements that make Dinefwr such a special place to visit.
The breathtaking views from the castle walls make the steep climb well worthwhile. The castle is built to proudly command panoramic views of the Welsh hills and on a clear day, visitors can see for many, many miles around.
Whether you are young, young at heart or of advancing years, a wander around the castle is a magical experience and appeals to the child within us all. My son adored the place, and the freedom to explore that it allows. A highlight for me was gazing up in to towers and corridors leading to nothing but crows and the open sky above. It was truly mysterious and magical.
At the top of the towers, it is almost like being in a ruined temple or jungle palace. I overheard several visitors comparing the place to the Incan city of Machu Picchu and I can see why. The structure is immense, and a real tribute to the people who must have toiled for decades to build it.
The windows of the tower provide picture-perfect landscapes when gazing out.
For fans of Lord of the Rings or Arthurian legends, the walk back down to the carpark is an experience in its own right. It offers another chance to experience the trees in the ancient forest. So many of them appear human-like, it is almost comical. With Oak, Ash, Beech and Hazel trees, it is literally magical. Old English lore holds all these trees dear and dictates that they are powerful and potent magical breeds. It is easy to imagine them having an Ent-moot, or a party gathering, when nobody is looking.
Situated 30 minutes away from Laugharne Boathouse, it is more than possible to experience both places within a day. Click here
to find out all about the poet Dylan Thomas, and his beautiful boathouse home.
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