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Tretower Castle & Court

Visited May 2012

Location Tretower, Powys
Entrance Fee Yes
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Shop, Toilets


Tretower Castle is situated in the Brecon Beacons, 11 miles from Abergavenny and just a ten minute drive from the much smaller Crickhowell Castle meaning the two can easily be visited on the same day trip.






The castle was the original seat of the Picard family. The first Picard had come over with the Norman invasion and had been granted the land at Tretower for his loyalty. He built a wooden motte & bailey castle on the land, which was then updated over many generations. The Picards were in power at the castle for over two hundred years, it was under their ownership that the round tower was built. This was an unusual design for castles at the time, but was more common in Wales - there are several other examples of welsh round towers, for example at Pembroke Castle  & Skenfrith Castle.


The castle eventually passed by marriage to the Vaughan family. They found the it to be in disrepair, and wanted to create a new residence which was more modern, and befitting a family of their wealth & status. So they built Tretower Court 200 yards away on land south of the castle green. The building was in keeping with the fashions of the time, and was a perfect showcase of the Vaughan wealth & status.






The castle & court today make an interesting day out, not least because of the contrasting styles of the two buildings. The castle stands as a ruin, dominated by the round tower inside of a shell keep. It stands in fields of a working farm, the sheep grazing right up to its walls.


The court has been restored to look as it would have done in its heyday, with the kitchen and the great hall being of the most interest. The wooden braced roofs are also a beautiful feature. Outside the garden has  been planted to a fifteenth century design. There is a reproduction of an 'outhouse' in the garden, which predictably, the children found fascinating (to look at, not use, I hasten to add!)


There are toilets on site and a small gift shop, but no cafe. However, there seemed to be a teas available from one of the barns opposite the court on the day we were there, but it appeared to be open on an ad-hoc basis.







In summary this is a good day out due to the peaceful setting and both a castle and court to explore. It was reasonably priced- £11.60 for a family ticket at the time of our visit (but do check the CADW website for up to date prices before you go).





More info:  CADW Tretower Castle

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