A motte-and-bailey castle is thought to have previously occupied the site  of Llawhaden Castle and the present structure was built by the bishops of the Diocese of St David in the 13th century. The castle was abandoned in the 16th century and some of the stone was removed for local building projects. The site is privately owned by the Lord of the Manor of Llawhaden and managed by Cadw.

The remaining ruins date from the early 13th century. It is surrounded by a ditch, which was designed to be only crossable by a drawbridge. The castle is pentagonal in shape and while the north-western and western sides of the castle are no longer present, the other three sides remain. The gatehouse is located on the southern side, which is formed of two drum towers and a gateway. This was also where the drawbridge would have been located to allow entrance to the interior of the castle.



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Llawhaden, United Kingdom
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vicky Byrne (13 months ago)
The castle itself is great, pretty surroundings, kids loved looking around and climbing to the top, really can only spend an hour before kids get bored. Toilets, small cafe and a more interactive information board would be great. The grounds are lovely but needs something more especially over the summer hols, reenactments, plays ect would be a great little addition.
Joseph Priestley (13 months ago)
Wales has a lot of castles, thanks to the English. You can't get round them all but you should stop off at a few to get a feeling for how commonplace and gigantic they are. Llawhaden is one such place. Nobody else there through our visit, interesting to poke around but most stimulating when one begins to think of how widespread these castles were.
Diana Nicholls (15 months ago)
Lovely walk around castle grounds. Girl walking her 2 poodles did not pick up her dogs business.? we saw her go into a property near the car park,so definitely a local. We have a dog and always clean up after her
Graham Rowberry (15 months ago)
Lovely ruins with some great views. Not many visitors so you may be able to explore with only the crows to keep you company! Really peaceful. Free entry. The care home right outside the castle gates is my perfect retirement spot!
Geraint Davies (17 months ago)
Great little castle, with free entry set in the small village of Llawhaden.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.