Carreg Cennen Castle never ceases to amaze. There are few castles in Wales which can boast a more spectacular location. Its stout, weatherbeaten ruins crown a sheer limestone crag overlooking the remote Black Mountain (Mynydd Du) and the River Cennen in the western corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park, around four miles southeast of Llandeilo.
An attack on the castle must have been a daunting prospect. Ingeniously adapted to its rocky hilltop, its core is a high walled, strongly towered enclosure, protected by a succession of pits, drawbridges and gatehouses. Approach from the other direction is impossible, for the castle tiptoes on the edge of a sheer 100m cliff.
The castle, although damaged over the centuries by warring forces and the elements, is charged with a sense of the past.
Imagine the skills and ingenuity required to build a castle here, and all the men who toiled over hundreds of years in its construction and maintenance. After the steep walk up to the castle, as you take in the spectacular views, think of this castle as a defensive stronghold and what a formidable task faced any medieval army that hoped to capture it.
If you have a torch, take a trip down the underground tunnel to see the natural cave in the rock under the castle. This cave was used as a storeroom but was also the castle’s dungeon; imagine how it must have felt to be held captive within this rock prison.
By a quirk of history, Carreg Cennen is one of the few castles in Wales in private ownership. It includes a special chapel licensed for marriages.
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