Dinefwr Park’s history as relates to man spans 1000 years. But the rock in the park dates back 500 million years. The White Park cattle, a rare breed, have been associated with the park for almost 900 years. Also in the park are three types of fallow deer—the dark brown, the brown, and the mottled fallow with white spots.
Go Back: [Top of Page] [Articles
Three sites in the grounds are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest: the Oxbow Lakes, Deer Park, and Castle Woods. Water fowl inhabiting the lakes include mallard, coot, widgeon, teal, tufted duck, and mute swans. 140 species of lichen grow in the Deer Park.
The first castle in the grounds dated from the 9th century (c AD877). Overlooking the Towy valley, it sat in a strategic position close to the river crossing. The site was important enough that even iron age man claimed it. The castle became the principal court of Hywel Dda (“the good”) in AD 927. He ruled most of south-west Wales and Gwynedd. The castle now on the site dates from the early 12th century and was associated with the Rhys family, descendants of Lord Rhys, one of the princes of Wales who used it.
Newton House, a historic home in the grounds, was built in 1660. In the 1700s towers with cupolas and a parapet were added at the corners of the house. It was refaced in limestone, a port cochere added, window openings re-dressed, and re-roofed between 1856-1858. This was done in the Venetian gothic style of the day. Also added was a viewing platform between the ground and first floors.
In the 18th century specimen trees were planted in the grounds. ‘Capability’ Brown visited in 1775 and made architectural plans for the park, but they were not followed through. However, it is thought he instigated the planting of some trees and a path to the castle. Trees in the grounds include English oak, sycamore, and beech. 3000 new trees were planted in 2007.
The house and grounds suffered a decline during WWII when it was used to house wounded soldiers. The house was restored, and the interiors on the ground and first floors were refurbished when the National Trust bought it in 1990. In the house are paintings related to the Rhys family. The ice house and Victorian Italianate garden have also undergone restoration. An exhibition tells the story of the site.
There are walks in the park including one in the deer park’s bogwood woodland, home to alder and willow. Reed beds are found near the mill pond which provides a haven for coots and moorhens. In drier parts of the park silver fir rhododendron, and Wellingtonia are at home.
Llandeilo, off the A40
Tel. 0 1558 824 512
Open: Newton House times vary according to the month; check for the day you wish to visit at Times Dinefwr Park is open; Dinefwr Castle and Park open year round 10am-4pm except 24-26 Dec and 1 Jan
Park under management of Cadw and Wildlife Trust South and West Wales; Newton house is a National Trust property; special events; shop; tea-room; parking
Photos as follows:
Dinefwr castle courtesy Cadw
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
White cattle, Dinefwr Park from the castle and the castle keep by Trevor Richard; Newton House by Nigel Davies; Park woods and Park lake by David Smith.