Early Welsh castle, built and destroyed in quick succession
Castell Cynfael once stood on a small hill, overlooking the Dysynni Estuary, just north-east of the seaside town of Tywyn. It was built in the mid-12th century by Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd, son of Gruffudd ap Cynan, a ruler of Gwynedd.
In 1137 when Gruffudd died, Cadwaladr’s older brother Owain Gwynedd took power. At first Owain and Cadwaladr were successful allies in their battles against the Normans, but then a power struggle developed between them. In 1144 Owain sent his sons Hywel and Cynan to take the lands that Cadwaladr controlled, and in 1147 they besieged and destroyed Castell Cynfael. The poet Cynddelw cited this battle as one of Hywel’s finest hours, and vividly described the keep at Cynfael toppling down in flames.
Hywel certainly seems to have been thorough in his destruction of Castell Cynfael, for little of the 12th-century structure survives. It was a motte-and-bailey castle (that is, a mound surmounted by a keep and surrounded by a protective ditch or wall), built in a style traditionally used by the Normans. And you can clearly see how the mound was created by digging a deep ditch around the upper part of the small hill. It is well worth climbing to the top for some splendid views.
A lovely spot for a peaceful picnic
Cynllun Castell Cynfal Castle Map
application/pdf / 0.33 MB
- Good Walks Nearby
1 mile south of the village of Bryncrug on minor roads
Approx 2½ miles from Tywyn railway station
Buses stop in Bryncrug. Call Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or go online at http://www.traveline-cymru.info for latest public transport information.
1 mile south of the village of Bryncrug, on minor roads
1 mile south of the village of Bryncrug, on minor roads or footpaths
Medium. Walking boots required. Dogs allowed.
- near Bryncrug, LL36 9RD