At the edge of Ewloe wood in Flintshire, north east Wales, stand some of the country’s most enchanting ruins. Ewloe Castle today occupies a quiet, secluded spot, at the junction of two brooks. A mile or so to the north east, the River Dee forms the border between England and Wales.
This proximity to England made it an important strategic site when the castle was built in the 13th century, at the height of the princes’ struggles with the English crown. Perhaps the most striking feature is the tall, freestanding, defensive tower, of which substantial sections still stand. This D-shaped structure is typically Welsh in form – it closely resembles the tower at Castell y Bere, which was built by Llywelyn the Great in the 1220s.
Ewloe Castle was probably built some time later than Castell y Bere. Historians identify it with the "castle in the corner of the wood", recorded in a document from 1311 as having been built by Llewelyn the Last (grandson of Llywelyn the Great) in 1257, after he had seized much of Flintshire from the English.
You’ll notice that the castle consists of two separate courtyards – or wards – enclosed by yellow sandstone walls. The higher of these is dominated by the D-shaped tower. The lower ward was probably constructed later and would originally have enclosed numerous timber buildings – the remains of a latrine and a well testify to its use as living quarters.
At the western end you can see where a round tower formed part of the wall. A steep ditch on the southern side added further protection. The castle, however, was taken by the English King Edward I when he invaded Wales in 1277, and fell out of use.