History

One of the Snowdonian strongholds of the Princes of Gwynedd, Dolwyddelan Castle was thought to have been built around 1210 by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and Wales. The original stone castle consisted of a two story tower.

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle served as a guard post, protecting the main route through North Wales. It was reputed to have been the birth place of Llywelyn the Great, but historians now believe Llywelyn was born at nearby Tomen Castle and that he built Dolwyddelan Castle.

On January 18th 1283, the castle was captured by the army of Edward I of England during the final stages of Edward’s conquest of Wales. It was at this time that Edward added a second tower to Dolwyddelan Castle and used the castle as a troop garrison. The two towers and a courtyard were surrounded by a curtain wall. The English would maintain a presence at the castle until 1290.

In 1488, lord Maredudd ap leuan acquired the lease to the castle and added a third story to the original tower and a drainage system. It was reported that one of the towers may have collapsed around 1810. The castle was restored and partially re-modelled in the 19th century by Baron Willoughby de Eresby who also added battlements to the top of the original tower.

In 1930, the castle was placed under the guardianship of the Ministry of Works and is now under the protection of Cadw.

Castle Highlights

Dolwyddelan Castle resides high atop an outlying ridge looking out towards the rugged grandeur of Moel Siabod. The original tower is the most impressive feature of the castle. An exterior stone staircase leads to the first floor of the tower.

The ruins of the tower built by Edward are still partially in place as well as fragments of the curtain wall. The castle provides great views of the Snowdonian Mountains.

Dolwyddelan Castle can be thoroughly visited in an hour or two. If you want to explore more castles, the ruins of Dolbadarn Castle are only about 10 miles from Dolwyddelan. The castles of Conwy and Caernarfon are also close enough to visit the same day. I recommend starting at one of those castles and finishing the day at Dolwyddelan Castle.