Carreg Cennen Castle

Perched on a limestone precipice in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Carreg Cennen Castle

The rugged terrain of the Brecon Beacons National Park is a hauntingly beautiful place of rivers, woods mountains and waterfalls. Within this romantic landscape are many ancient castles situated on strategic cliffs and hills. The picturesque ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle sit on a limestone crag 300 ft above the river Cennen, isolated in the western fringes of the beacons. 

If you enjoy avoiding crowds of visitors, a day out in the Brecon Beacons National Park is ideal. You can spend the morning touring Carreg Cennen Castle and afternoon exploring the Four Falls Trail, a three-hour walk seeing spectacular waterfalls. A day in the Beacons park can be part of your Classic tour of Wales.

Come and learn about the fascinating history of Wales through real places. There is nothing quite like touring lesser-known Britain; it is an authentic experience. Carreg Cennen is unspoilt by mass tourism, and a visit feels like you are walking onto the film set of the Game of Thrones. Make Wales a part of your tour of Britain.

Brief history of Carreg Cennen Castle
Native Welsh castles occupy the most spectacular locations; Welsh princes were concerned with securing mountain passes and local attacks from rival lords. The site has probably been a stronghold since the Iron age; its defensive qualities are easy to identify. 

The Welsh castle fell to the forces of King Edward I of England as part of his conquest of Wales (1282-83). Edward’s armies were international war veterans, and many have been on a crusade and experienced at siege warfare. There may have been some hasty repair work after the castle fell. The style of the construction indicates the King instigated building works during the 1320s. The design has two sets of elaborate defences which suggest that Baron Giffard built Carreg Cennen during the peak of castle technology.   

The castle was held by the Giffard family until 1322, after passing through various owners until coming under Crown ownership upon the accession of King Henry IV (1399-1413).

Carreg Cennen came under siege during the revolt of the great Welsh hero Owain Glyn Dwr. Owain gained legendary status after leading a rebellion against the English lasting ten years (1400-1410). His sheer will and energy enabled him to take several castles, including Carreg Cennen, damaged during the attack after a valiant defence from the constable John Skidmore. Prince Owain’s campaign falters, as he is unable to be re-supplied by ships and had no artillery. He was offered a pardon but goes to ground and never captured by the English. He remains a folk hero, a legendary warrior.   

The castle last saw action during the ‘Wars of the Roses’ and was slighted, meaning damaged beyond repair to stop its use in further conflict. 

Touring the Castle
To set the scene, you will hear the roar of native Longhorn cattle and the usual baa of Balwen Sheep, and they are a breed of Welsh Mountain sheep. First, you walk through the old farmyard of Castell Farm, behind the farm you follow a path, as you climb you may see birds of prey, Red Kites are very common in this region. There is a Red Kite feeding station nearby. The Red Kite feeding experience is awe-inspiring. We can include this event in your tour.  

Your climb continues up the hill until you reach the fortified gate or barbican. Your tour guide will explain how the defences worked and what life was like in a castle. You can make out halls, chambers and chapels. Your guide will take you into a vaulted passageway, leading to a cave. Switch on your flashlights (torches) and be brave, go deeper into the cave until you reach an underground water supply. The whole experience is spooky, and nobody knows the real use of the tunnel-like cave. It could be dovecot or dungeon, explore and find out more. 

The Brecon Beacons is a walkers and hikers paradise and we can provide expert hiking guides. There are a wide variety of landscapes to explore and wildlife encounters as mentioned.

Red Kites have returned to Britain after many years of persecution, breeding programs and feeding has increased numbers significantly at the Red Kite feeding station. This successfully re-introduced raptor will be seen in high numbers when feeding begins. We watch quietly from a bird hide as they circle above, they then dive and battle in mid-air for flesh. It is an impressive sight to see, especially when birds fight for scraps mid-air.

Touring and accommodation
Merging Wales with England makes for a dynamic experience of mountains, stately homes and cosy country pubs. If this is your first time to England, we would recommend a custom version of our Town and Country Tour; it covers the famous places and allows you to utilise your private driver-guide by getting-off-the-beaten-path. Our Classic tour of Ireland is a good place to start for the first trip to Ireland, and we suggest the Classic tour of Scotland for your first trip to the bonny Highlands. 

There is a wide choice of accommodation in the Wales. CottagesManor House Hotels and traditional Guest Houses. For people who a like a traditional Manor House Hotel, we recommend staying at the Llangoed Hall Hotel. It is on the edge of the Brecon Beacons with easy access to local golf courses, hiking trails and small towns.

Explore Unspoilt Carreg Cennen Castle

Carreg Cennen Castle Resembles a Game of Thrones Film Set

  • Brecon Beacons National Park Location
  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Historic Site
  • See Native Longhorn Cattle
  • Wildlife Experience Available
  • Explore the Hidden Cave