Criccieth Castle, North Wales

Dramatically positioned on top of a high mound, overlooking the sea and the town, the ruins of this 13th century castle are a combination of the Welsh castle, built at the beginning of the century, and the later 'English' castle commissioned by Edward I. Very little survives of the original building, but the outer defences are still quite a prominent feature.

The inner bailey contains some of the earliest building, including the inner gatehouse with its two, semi-circular towers, the south east tower and the inner curtain wall. As was usual, substantial alterations and necessary repairs were carried out during the 14th century and it is, therefore, quite difficult to distinguish much of the original work, especially as the site is now largely ruinous.

However, the majority of the inner curtain wall stands almost to its full height and, along parts of it, the original wall walk remains. The south gate, a former entrance to Criccrieth Castle 'on foot', served as access between the inner and outer baileys, when the outer bailey was constructed towards the end of the 13th century. The outer gatehouse was once a passage through the curtain wall with an internal gate, but an outer gate was later added and a simple barbican built to provide extra defence.

Prior to the Edwardian conquests, it is likely that the living quarters at Criccieth Castle were in the south west tower overlooking the sea, and the large, square north tower (Engine Tower) possibly supported an engine - such as a catapult - on the roof. Although there is little actual 'castle' left to explore, having hiked to the top of this grassy headland, the visitor will not fail to be impressed by the spectacular views across Tremadog Bay.

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