Castell y Bere

Princes of Gwynedd
Castell y Bere

Castell y Bere

Distinctive remains of a native Welsh castle, probably begun by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth ('the Great') around 1221.

Castell y Bere was a remote outpost on Llywelyn’s southern frontier, but it was vital to his security. It guarded his cattle range, protected the homeland of Gwynedd and dominated the neighbouring lordship of Meirionydd.

Llywelyn ab Iorwerth was Prince; but cattle were king! In medieval Wales cattle were as good as currency. This location was so important that Llywelyn was prepared to take it from his own son Gruffudd in 1221, so that he could begin building a castle.

After Llywelyn died his successors continued to use it. It was taken by English king Edward I, in 1283. He made alterations to the castle and hoped an English frontier town would grow here. It never happened. The English abandoned the site during an uprising against their rule in 1294.

Today Castell y Bere is as wild and remote as it was when Llywelyn first arrived. It stretches along the summit of a rocky outcrop on the eastern side of the Dysynni valley. The picturesque and remote location makes it difficult to appreciate that this sprawling stronghold once controlled an important routeway running up from the coast at Tywyn northwards through the mountains towards Dolgellau and protected the southern border of Gwynedd. Distinctive features at Castell y Bere include the characteristic Welsh apsidal — or elongated D-shaped plan of the south tower. In scale, it may be compared to examples of similar design at Welsh castles of Ewloe and Carndochan, where they served as keeps.

Another distinctively unusual feature for a Welsh castle of the 1220s is to be found in the highly elaborate defended entrance with its ditches and two gate-towers, each with its own drawbridge and probably portcullis. Such a sophisticated entrance cannot be matched in any other Welsh castle. Indeed, even by the standards of English fortification, it would have been technologically advanced for the early 1220s.

Opening times

Dates
1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018

Times
Daily 10.00am - 4.00pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing

Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January

For yearly opening times please click 'View all visitor information'

Admission costs

Adult - Am ddim/Free
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 - Am ddim/Free
Disabled and companion - Am ddim/Free
Disabled visitor and companion admitted free

Facilities and information

Cycle stands Car park Dogs welcome No smoking
  • Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult
  • Dogs on leads welcome
  • No smoking
  • Cadw do not allow drone flying from or over its guardianship sites, except by contractors commissioned for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and are operating under controlled conditions.
View all visitor information
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Directions

Postcode LL36 9TS

Car Road Near Llanfihangel y Pennant, off B4405 61/2m (10.5km) NE of Tywyn.

Rail Rail Tywyn 7m (11.3km).