Dinas Bran has watched over Llangollen in the stunning Dee Valley since it was built in 1260. Unlike many castle in Wales, it was not built by the invading Normans or English, but by the Welsh ruler Gruffydd ao Madoc, Prince of Powys Fadog on the site of a prehistoric hillfort. Deliberately burnt in 1277 to thwart the invading English army by the Welsh but then repaired and garrisoned for Edward I, it was soon abandoned so had a very brief active life.

view from Dinas Bran

The remains of this Welsh castle sits 750 ft high giving a panoramic view over the town with its backdrop of the Berwyn foothills. To the west stretches the heather-covered Llantysilio Mountain and the breath-taking limestone crags of the Eglwyseg Escarpment, while the distant Shropshire Plain lies to the east. The walk up is waymarked from the north end of the canal bridge between the river and the school. Sturdy shoes are recommended as it’s a steep climb but well worth it for the views.

Many legends surround the castle one suggest the Holy Grail is hidden here whist another story tells of how an evil giant called Geomagog guarded treasure here and, although he was defeated, the gold still lies deep inside the hill. Whether you like to let your imagination run wild or not it’s the perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day, or even a bit of cloud gazing.  You do have to bring your own refreshments these days unlike in Victorian times where a lady was known to climb the hill daily to sell sustenance to visitors.See the photo below supplied by Denbighshire Archive office.

A guide book is available at Llangollen Tourist information Centre and more information about Llangollen and its surrounding attractions can be downloaded here.

Drawings from the Hand Hotel Visitor book. Supplied by Denbighshire Archives Office.


This blog is written as part of the Denbighshire County Council Destination Management Plan 2021.