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New lease of life for medieval barn at Tretower Court & Castle

FOLLOWING 13 months of essential conservation and development work, Cadw has announced that a Grade II listed barn on the site of Tretower Court and Castle has been brought back into public use.

Since breaking ground in November 2021, Tretower Court has undergone extensive conservation work with a focus on repairing the site’s Grade II listed barn — thereby safeguarding the monument for future generations.

Having stood since 1100, the Court & Castle also now features audio-visual interpretation techniques to tell the story of all who treaded its floors before Cadw restored them — from Norman invaders and Welsh Princes, to dignitaries of the Wars of the Roses and the Vaughan family, right through to 20th century campaigners who helped to save the buildings from ruin and decay.

Including an 18-stop audio tour detailing the site’s tumultuous past and new panels explaining the history of the restored barn, the site’s new interpretation invites visitors to experience the monument as they never have before.

Coming in summer 2022, experiential interpretation inside the Steward’s Apartment in Tretower Court will give further voice to the monument’s history — using audio, visual, and physical techniques to immerse visitors in the site’s rich stories.

Not only that, but works have transformed part of the restored barn into a charming new restaurant, Y Bwyty Bach — headed by chef, Connor Turner.

With 30 covers and a small kitchen-garden in place, visitors can sample modern British cuisine which celebrates seasonal, local produce, from the chef previously awarded two rosettes and Pub of the Year.

Further visitor experience improvements include a new visitor reception; accessible public toilets; an event space for local businesses to rent as pop-up stalls; and facilities for custodians. 

Led by John Weaver Contractors, the site is now fit for public use and is even home to local wildlife: offering a ‘penthouse’ for a wide varirty of bats, including the: greater horseshoe; lesser horseshoe; brown long ear and the common & soprano pipistrell of endangered bats in the barn’s roof. 

Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “I hope the development and conservation work at Tretower Court — particularly the new, interpretation works — will encourage more visitors to discover the local history and culture on offer here in Crickhowell.

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“Conservation works such as this are vital for the protection of our monuments across Wales, ensuring these historically significant sites are protected for the benefit of future generations.”

Gwilym Hughes, Head of Cadw, said: “Tretower Court and Castle welcomed dignitaries and poets throughout the medieval period, and now that the conservation and development works are complete at the monument, we look forward to welcoming visitors from near and far to discover the site’s remarkable history.

“We hope the visitor experience enhancements encourage more visitors and Cadw members to explore the site, and we look forward to working with Connor at Y Bwyty Bach to provide top-quality dining for our visitors — within a truly fascinating and beautiful setting.”