I’m on a mission to see every castle in Wales, this is no small task, since 100 (out of 600) castles have something to offer, but not every one of those has public access. My dedication to you, my wonderful readers, is undertaking the duty of traversing the country and reporting back my findings. Ensuring your precious minutes of your vacation is spent wisely.
Setting off to the town of LLangibby, a mere 30-40 minute drive from Cardiff, my friend and I talked about the difficulty of reaching our goal, Tregruk Castle. A few nights prior this castle was mentioned on the TV show Time Travellers here in the UK. The narrator stated that the majority of Welsh natives have no idea this castle is even here, since it’s hidden within a woodland overgrowth.
Well, we found the road to it easy enough, thanks the GPS technology, yet thanks to a farmer who doesn’t want people on his property, there is no public access up the driveway. Seeing a footpath sign we parked, but there was no open pathway. Not giving up, we drove to where we thought might be a side street with a footpath, which there was, but path number one lead us away to where we guessed the castle stood and we decided not to bother with the second path. There are other castles nearby to check out.
Usk Castle is just a ten minute drive up the road. The town is having a winter celebration with people selling homemade goodies and wares; we drive past in search of the castle. Before reaching the outskirts of town we see the sign, with a sigh of relief we park the car.
This castle, like the previous, is on private property. Unlike the previous landowner, they’ve decided to allow the public to view Usk castle on their own awareness that if you get hurt, they are not reliable. Walking past their private residence, up the driveway will lead you to the gate that lets you inside, with a note to close it behind you.
What’s to see? There’s the outer wall, keep, a couple of towers, Chapel of St. George and chamber block are still intact. The keep dates back to 1170, whereas the chamber block is dated 13. The north tower was constructed in 1280, but renovated 2000.
It’s a very enjoyable castle, although it’s not large, we spent around forty-minutes. The family has done a fantastic job keeping it up and making it a pleasurable, even providing a footpath for hiking the countryside.
If you are traveling by car camping or staying in hotels, the property offers glamping. You can choose to stay in the Shepard’s Hut, Medieval Pavillions (jousting tent) or Glyndwr Fort. Call them for information (0750609924) or email THDHUMPRHREYS@YAHOO.COM; you can also check out their Facebook page.
Leaving the castle by foot, we walked to the towns weekend fair and enjoyed some street food, then walked the main street. It will take you about five minutes round-trip, unless you pop into a store.
We set out for Caldicot Castle and during the drive I googled it, only to find out it’s closed. It reopens in April, so that will be saved for my next visit, which just so happens to be in April.
The GPS took us around the Welsh countryside away from the town of Ruppera. You would presume that since the castle carries the town’s name, it would be in general vicinity. We back tracked and picked up the signal again, which lead us to another private road. The website says that this is a privately owned castle that is for sale, and even though you cannot drive to it, you are allowed to follow the footpath and view from afar.
We saw no trail nor a tower peaking above the trees. With the sun setting, we thought it best to head home.
Our sunday drive only produced one out of three sites, but the one we were able to get to was worth the drive.
Okay, your turn….
Have you been to Usk? Do you have a ‘missing’ castle in Wales you can add to the list?