Isle of Albion
Craggy fortress that dominates the surrounding countryside.
Photographed: Thursday 14th July 2011
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Carreg Cennen is a castle sitting atop a remote crag of rock, rising above the River Cennen in the Breacon Beacons National Park. The earliest stone fortress at the site probably dates back to the late 12th Century, when it is likely to have been constructed under the stewardship of Prince Rhys Ap Gryffydd.

In 1248AD, records indicate that the castle had been handed over to the English by the mother of Rhys Fychan, as an act of hatred directed at her son. However, Rhys regained control of Carreg Cennen before the English could occupy it.

Carreg Cennen changed hands numerous times over the following decades, until Edward I granted the castle to the baron John Giffard in 1283AD. It is believed that Giffard was responsible for the rebuilding work that resulted in the design that survives to the present day.

In the summer of 1403AD, Owain Glynd┼Ár laid siege to Carreg Cennen with 800 men. The siege lasted several months, but the defenders were able to hold out for the duration, and the castle didn't fall.

Carreg Cennen was heavily damaged during the siege, and work was undertaken in 1409AD to repair the castle's walls. During the War of the Roses, Carreg Cennen served as a stronghold for Lancastrian rebels. However, in 1462AD, it fell to Yorkist forces. A team of 500 men subsequently set about dismantling the castle's defences to prevent its use as a fortress in the future.

Today, the ruins of Carreg Cennen dominate the surrounding landscape, looming menacingly over the spectacular patchwork of rolling hills and fields that surrounds it. From every angle, the view of the castle is stunning. Equally, as the visitor climbs the hill and enters the fortress, the countryside unfolds in a breathtaking panorama in all directions.

Much of Carreg Cennen remains standing, and there's plenty to explore within its walls. The defences include a passage providing access to the natural caves beneath the rock, and this feature can still be explored today.

This is a truly stunning location, and well worth a visit for views alone. I'd really recommend trying to visit on a sunny day, because the landscape deserves to be seen in all its glory.