Dolwyddelan castle was a mountain stronghold of the native princes of Wales. Its isolated and strategic location high on a hill deep in Snowdonia allowed it to guard the mountain pass from the south into Gwynedd. Views from the top take in miles of surrounding countryside and the mountains of Snowdonia.
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The stone castle, thought to be constructed by Llywelyn the Great (Llywelyn ap Iorwerth) about 1210-1240, sits near the location of an earlier motte castle further down the hill. The latter was reputed to be his birthplace. Dolwyddelan was his seat of government and also served the same purpose for his grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.
A tower and a square keep, with a curtain wall between, made up the castle, originally reached by a wooden bridge. The castle had a great room with fireplace and latrines.
Edward I captured the castle in 1283 and manned it until 1290. It is thought he added the tower to the original castle. An additional storey was added to the keep in the 15th century when a local nobleman rented it. The rectangular stone tower was restored by the Victorians.
Five miles south of Betws-y-coed on the A470
Tel. 01690 750366
Open: Apr-Oct, 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm; Nov-March, 10am-4pm, Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm Sun; closed Dec 24-26, Jan 1
Under the care of Cadw; display boards with information on the castle; parking across the road