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Secret Castles of North Wales

After months of planning, talking, getting equipment, securing our social media and generally just being excited by life, today was the day - the day we filmed our first vlog.

To be fair it went really well. I thought we would argue more to be honest and I’d have to bully Wills onto film, but he was great. I hope you enjoy the vlog and this accompanying blog.



Flint Castle

We started the day with a drive to Flint Castle. The weather was a bit cloudy, but the sun soon broke through (yes it was the day of Welsh Summer - and sometimes Welsh Summer is only a day!).

Flint Castle has its own parking, and its free - bonus. To find the car park, put this postcode (CH6 5PE or CH6 5PE) into your Satnav or Google Maps. It’s less than a minute's walk from the car to the castle. Flint castle also sits on the Wales Coast Path, a walking route that covers the entire coast of Wales.


Flint Castle was the first in a series of castles instructed by Edward 1st in his invasion of Wales. It was a good strategic place to build as it was only a day's march from Chester, and supplies could be brought in along the River Dee. For a much better and detailed history of the castle visit.


Sadly the towers were still closed off due to Covid. I hope these open soon as the views from up there are amazing. A new feature since we were last there are the audio points. There are stories of the castle and things to look out for, available in English and Welsh, just push the button and listen to a lovely lilting Welsh voice tell you all about the castles history.



Ewloe Castle

The next stop of the day was Ewloe castle. It’s only about a 10 minute drive from Flint and is a totally different type of castle. For a start, it’s a Welsh castle, so very different in design. What I love about this castle is, until you’re upon it, you wouldn’t even know it’s there. It sits in a woodland in Wepre woods. We parked on the Ewloe side of the woods. Here is the postcode we used CH5 3BZ.



Since we were last there, a path has been built, which takes you straight to the castle. It used to be, pick your own path across the field and as the castle is well hidden, you only had to be wrong by a small margin to miss the castle completely.

This castle was built by The Kingdom of Gwynydd, but was abandoned in 1277 when that pesky Edward 1st was doing his invading of the Welsh thing. There are signs all over it saying don’t climb on the castle, but to be honest it’s a kids playground. You will find children climbing all over it whenever you’re there. You can get up the tower (officially). At the top of the tower you are just peeking out above the trees. It’s a truly magical place. As this castle doesn’t have a locked gate on it, you can get in at any time. So for sunrise and sunset it would be magical. The rest of the time it’s a dog walkers haven and a kids playground.


Lunch

We were getting pretty hungry by this time so decided to stop for our picnic lunch at the top of the Horseshoe Pass at the Ponderosa Café. It’s a haven for bikers and we weren’t disappointed today. As you may know, Wills does a lot of field recording and supplies many sites with his sounds. He got some great bikes revving today. We ate our lunch on the grass at the roadside listening to the bikes revving. It’s a truly beautiful spot overlooking the Vale of Llangollen and the Clwydian range.


Dinas Bran

Next it was our final castle of the day, Castell Dinas Bran. This is another Welsh castle. There has always been a hill fort on this site, but today’s stone structure was built in by Gruffydd Maelor II in the 1260's.

When Gruffydd died, it was inherited by his 4 sons. They abandoned the castle and set light to it during the invasion of Edward 1st (again!!). I think they knew they couldn’t defend it so set it alight and left. There isn’t really any official car parking for this castle. If you look in guide books, it will tell you to park in the town and then follow the signs up. We knew of the shortest route up, but we couldn’t find a postcode for it, but drop me a comment on the vlog or email us if you want to know where we parked. It’s along very windy narrow roads to get there, but once you’re parked it’s only about 15 mins up - instead of an hour. It’s pretty steep mind you, but at least it’s short and steep. We could definitely feel our legs the next day. On the top, it’s truly stunning - I’m not going to describe it, just look at the photos, it’s just stunning!



Llangollen

So on weary achy legs, down the hill we came and we drove back into Llangollen. It was definitely time for a well earned pint. We chose the Corn Mill, because it sits right on the river and has a gorgeous deck with amazing views. We were lucky to get in as A) It was Welsh Summer, B) It was a bank holiday, C) It’s Covid times!! We didn’t get a table, but got two wooden chairs outside on the deck with a view of Dinas Bran up above. We sat in the sun, listening to the river and chatting about our day's adventures. We totally loved it. For anyone else who wants to do this, it is very doable in a day. It’s a great day in the fresh air seeing some truly remarkable castles that you won’t always find front and centre in the guide books





Cheers to the good times








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