" 2. Our visit to Swansea ~ Dinefwr Castle. "
Date & start time: Sunday 30th March 2014, ( Day 3 )
Location of Start : Dinefwr Castle, LLandeilo, Wales, Uk ( SN 615 224 )
Places visited : Dinefwr Park and Castle.
Walk details : Leisurely walk 1.8 mls, 300 ft of ascent, 1 hours 45 mins.
Walked with : Sandra and Jackie, Jen, Ann and the dogs, Rufus, Toby and Harry.
Weather : Warm and dry Spring day.
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In all the years we lived in Swansea we never took a day trip out to explore the grounds of Dinefwr Castle at Llandeilo.
Today was the chance to put that right as we gathered the car keys, checked the National Trust membership cards were to hand
and set off towards Mid Wales.
It seems that Dinefwr Estate is managed by an amalgam of organisations.
The National Trust own the main house and the estate, CADW look after the old medieval ruin on the hill
and the Castle Woods Nature Reserve surrounding it is also managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
[ This Welsh spelling is presumably the origin of the name of my old school in Swansea, Dynevor Grammar.]
Newton House, the 'new' Dinefwr Castle as we approach through the grounds . . . a National Trust property.
Car parking for the visit . . . no shade from the sun today as the trees are not yet in leaf.
Having never visited the park before the obvious walk should include the old castle
and the lovely views down over the surrounding countryside from its elevated position. The top sign it is then.
The streets shown on the base of the local map is the town of Llandeilo, some half an hour north of Swansea.
Have a go at reading it, bear in mind that it is bilingual, the Welsh in blue, the English in black.
Croeso i Gymru . . . Welcome to Wales . . . where signs (and utility bills) have twice as many words as normal !
Click here or on the photo for a slightly larger version if you want help reading the words.
Ann and myself as we relax on a woodland chair.
Sandra and Jackie's sister Jen who was with us for the day. ( photos both by Jackie)
[ Notice the subtle distraction there to take your mind off the grey hair !]
Well I thought it was a nice woodland scene.
I think a recent woodland adventure course had encouraged the youngsters to build dens in the woods.
Following the snowdrops and daffodils, the season moves on to include the arrival of primroses.
Bear in mind that we are three hundred miles or so further south than Cumbria so Spring is a little more advanced.
We wind our way up through the woodland to the top of the hill to visit the old castle.
One of the classic strongholds of Mid Wales.
The ancient kingdom of Deuhbarth, principle stronghold of Rhys ap Gruffudd dates from 1163
but this castle fortress is later, dating from around the 13th or 14th Century.
The large round tower seen from the castle ramparts.
Spot Harry in the shade below it, as it was a very warm Spring day.
This was the view from that central tower after climbing the many spiral stairs to the top.
There's a fine view across the extensive meadows and gave the castle a distinct defensive advantage.
Closer to the ground . . . from the west tower.
On this lovely warm day our companions relax in the sunshine.
Jackie seeks out the shade with Rufus and Harry.
One last doorway, one last tower . . . looking up to the sky.
Missing all the internal floors and roof . . . but this is still an impressive piece of masonry.
From the top ramparts I get a view over to the new house and the wooded hills beyond.
- - - o o o - - -
We take a less direct route back to the cars by walking around the woodland and top meadows.
How the mighty oaks have fallen . . . storm damage over this last winter.
Full marks for the Trust, they've used natural fencing around the woods,
albeit supplemented by modern fence wire to keep the sheep in or out as appropriate.
In the days of Rhys ap Gruffudd, these flat fields below the castle would have been the site of the old village,
people gathering around the stronghold for protection and presumably, a certain amount of employment.
Now the village has grown to a larger market-town based about a mile away, closer to the main river bridge.
" There are the remains of the original Newton House, described in Tudor times when Dinefwr was seized by Henry VIII.
The present building replaced it in the 1660s - some of the ceilings date from this period.
The house was given a new look in the 1850s when it was given a Gothic facelift, then in fashion."
More info @ the National Trust / Dinefwr website.
Here Jen sits on the wall, contemplating a little late lunch perhaps, as Toby has a walk about ?
Inside most of the house is open to the public . . . Ann has a wander around.
Looking up the centre stairwell at the lovely plaster work on the ceilings.
An interpretation of the castle and grounds . . . the information around will fill in the detail.
In this 100th anniversary of the start of the 1st World War, the trust have taken the theme
and set out several rooms to reflect the way that Newton House was used in the second War as hospital accommodation.
The ward attendant's desk.
A copy of the "Evening Despatch" dated 6th June 1944.
Through the reflections of the balcony window we look down on a small but ornate formal garden.
After a light lunch outside on the grass we made our way across to the car and back to Swansea.
In the evening, another feast at Sandra and Jackie's.
Mmmm . . . that says it all Jackie !
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
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Next walk - 31st March - 3 - Mewslade and King Arthur