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St Clears Castle

Visited July 2023

Location St Clears, Carmarthenshire
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Roadside
Facilities None
Map

 

 

 


 

 


Review

 

You wouldn't think to look at the scant remains today, but the motte and bailey castle at St Clears was large and of great importance in its heyday.

 

Quietly snoozing just off Bridge Street in the town named after the castle, all that remains today is a motte and a bailey which has been landscaped into a public park, with a play area for children. There is no longer any masonry on site; the motte would once have had a stone-built tower on top and there were defensive walls around the bailey. 

 

The castle was built in the 1100s, and was at one time an important stronghold in the area, probably helped by its strategic placement near to the rivers Taf and Cynin. At one time there was a quay on the river Taf just below the castle which could accomodate large supply ships. 

 

It was attacked by the Welsh at least three times in its history, and was finally abandoned after an attack by Owain Glyndwr in 1405. 

 

 

 


 

 


 

The remaining motte is approximately 12 metres high, which makes it one of the tallest in Wales. You can get to the top via a worn pathway, but be careful as it is quite rocky and uneven in places. At the top of the motte is a seat for taking in the view, and a flagpole.

 

On the day we visited the motte had not been mown and was overgrown with brambles in places meaning it wasn't really accessible across the whole of the summit, but the bailey had been recently mown so it would seem this is a deliberate decision to let the motte grow into a more wild environment. 

 


 

 


 

The children's play area in the bailey is quite small, but would provide some interest for kids and there is plenty of space for running around or ball games. There are no facilities on site, but St Clears is of reasonable size and has cafes and shops nearby. The parking is roadside only, but we had no trouble finding a space. 

 

All in all  this is an interesting site, very quiet, and with enough interest to warrant a stop if you are in the area, but not as a sole destination in itself. There are several other castles nearby if you wanted to combine them and make a day of it; Laugharne Castle is a six minute drive away, and Llansteffan Castle is just over 20 minutes drive.

 


 

 

 

 

More info:  St Clears Castle

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