Home » Walking in the footsteps of royalty at Dinefwr
News Top News

Walking in the footsteps of royalty at Dinefwr

THE NATIONAL TRUST in South Wales is inviting Welsh history lovers to uncover the fascinating story of the powerful Princes of Deheubarth at Dinefwr Park in Llandeilo.

The National Trust Heritage Conservation Charity, with its partners of Cadw and Carmarthenshire County Council recently benefitted from grant funding to enhance the story of the Welsh rulers via Cadw’s £19m Heritage Tourism Project.

The work has been funded through the Heritage Tourism Project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

The story of the Welsh princes is one of battles, law making and a passion for the arts that shaped our culture and language. It began after the Roman army abandoned Britain, leaving native British leaders struggling for control.

After several centuries, three main princedoms emerged in Wales: Gwynedd, Powys and in south west Wales, Deheubarth.

T he emerging Welsh princes carved a great legacy for themselves and one of the most important, Hywel Dda, championed Welsh laws. More compassionate and forward thinking than those of England, they included rights for women.

One of the last great princes of Deheubarth was Rhys ap Gruffydd, ‘The Lord Rhys’. He was a fearless warrior, an able diplomat and a cunning politician who ruled Deheubarth between 1155 and 1197.

“The Princes of Deheubarth had their seat of power here at Dinefwr Park”, said Sophie Thomas, Marketing Officer for National Trust Carmarthenshire.

“The imposing Dinefwr Castle, owned by the South Wales Wildlife Trust and joint managed by Cadw and the National Trust, still stands on top of the hill overlooking the National Trust’s 800 acre parkland estate and the rest of the Tywi Valley. With the help of the Heritage Tourism Project we’ve been able to really showcase this story for the first time and to link the parkland with the castle.

“We’ve created a brand new audio trail allowing visitors to walk to Dinefwr Castle with characters from centuries past as their guide. You can listen to what life was like for a humble farmer or even The Lord Rhys himself. Archaeology enthusiasts could also choose to listen to our own on site archaeologist for a different view point on this incredible story and of course these tours are available in Welsh as well”.

online casinos UK

The aim of the Princes of Deheubarth project was to explain this important medieval history and to use Dinefwr Park and the castle as a heritage tourism focal point of the story, providing connections between other places in the area linked as partners under the project. The story continues at the Hywel Dda Centre in Whitland, at Talley Abbey and then links with Lord of the Southern Marches story based around Pembroke Castle.

This Medieval history is not available today as all we see are the ruins of castle so we wanted to widen the understanding of our visitors and local to how important in Welsh history the story of the Princes of Deheubarth were. The hope is that people will be inspired to learn more and to follow the journey as the historical story unfolds across South Wales by visiting the key sites.

Under this project there are lots of different ways you can learn about this fascinating Welsh history. “We were aware that not everyone likes an App or modern media so we have tried to provide a range of interpretation tools that mean the widest access for our visitors “said Jacqui Kedward, General Manager.

The interpretation includes a free App called “Castles & Princes” that can be downloaded for all types of mobile devices. The audio tours are available at the Dinefwr Visitor Information Centre and can be listened to in both English and Welsh, with dramatization of the story in the words of the characters who would have experienced them. We have improved the interpretative signage on site so the story can be followed using a s self-led map of the walk to the castle so families can take their own time to follow the story. “I was most impressed with the waterproof paper that the self-led map is printed on” said Jacqui Kedward, “essential for the Welsh weather and a little rain has never stopped our visitors from enjoying the parkland walks”.

The start of your journey for learning the story of the Princes of Deheubarth starts at Dinefwr where Carreg Cennen Castle can be viewed from up on top of the castle walls. Also part of the Castles and Princes story are Carmarthen Castle, Swansea Castle, Pembroke Castle and Laugharne Castle which all contribute to the story of the princes of Deuheubarth as history unfolds itself across the landscape of South Wales.