Castell Dinas is a hillfort and castle in southern Powys. At 450 m it has the highest castle in England and Wales. It is positioned to defend the Rhiangoll pass between Talgarth and Crickhowell.

This site was originally an Iron Age, 600 BC to 50 AD, hillfort. A fortified Norman castle with stone walls was built on the site possibly by William Fitz Osbern or his son Roger de Breteuil, Earl of Hereford in the period 1070 to 1075. The castle was eclipsed with the building of Brecon castle before April 1093. The fortress seems to have been constructed in stone from the first with a hall-keep surrounded with curtain walls and square towers. Historically the castle remained a part of Brecon or Brycheiniog barony until 1207 when King John of England granted it to Peter FitzHerbert. It then became caput of what was to become the Talgarth or Blaenllyfni barony.

The castle was sacked by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in October 1233 and subsequently refortified by King Henry III of England before being returned to Peter Fitz Herbert. The castle was again captured by Llywelyn's grandson, Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in the period 1263 to 1268. The castle was finally destroyed by the adherents of Owain Glyndŵr in the early 15th century rebellion.

What remains now are crumbling walls mainly covered with earth and the outlines of ditches and ramparts from the original Iron Age fortifications, commanding extensive views up into the Black Mountains and over Talgarth towards Brecon.



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Talgarth, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1070-1075
Category: Ruins in United Kingdom

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ian Strachan (17 months ago)
Steep climb to see there’s not much left of the castle but wonderful 360 degree views
Nigel “Nige” Friend (2 years ago)
A great walk, views spectacular.
Ben Goddard (2 years ago)
Need some information boards to bring it alive.
Cameron Mitchell (2 years ago)
The climb was quite fun but hard at points. The only part of the castle left was the wall part which was a bit underwhelming but the climb and picturesque scenery on the way up were amazing on the day I went, you can see for miles and you can easily access other peaks from the castle area.
Anthony Owen (Natural_design) (2 years ago)
Steep walk but worth every step. Extra nice as my wife an I got married at a castle dinas (iron age castle/hillfort) in Cornwall. So was nice to see another..
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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.