Castell Ddinas was the highest castle in England and Wales and dates back to the Iron Age, which in Britain was between 600BC and 50AD. Along with many castles in Wales, such as Caerphilly Castle, it was built during the Norman Conquest of Wales. This particular castle was expanded to become a Norman fort in the early 1070s, so very quickly (remember, the Norman Conquest of England was in 1066).
The Norman incarnation of the castle was constructed rather hastily. The Iron Age fortification was mostly gone by the time the Normans arrived, so they built entirely in stone and kept it a simple affair. A central hall-keep was built and then surrounded by a curtain wall and square towers.
The Castle’s status as the premier castle in the region was quickly overshadowed. In 1093, nearby Brecon castle was built in what is now the town of Brecon. This castle became more of a fort that was used to defend the Rhiangoll pass between Talgarth and Crickhowell.
During its time as a working castle, Castell Dinas changed hands between the Normans and Welsh and was also sacked by both sides, especially in the 1200s. It also served at this time as the capital of the Talgarth barony.
Finally, in the 1400s, the castle was destroyed by Owain Glyndŵr’s (the last Welsh Prince of Wales) followers and was never rebuilt. Today, the castle is virtually non-existent as many of the stone ruins have become overgrown or are now found under layers of soil. What draws people to continue visiting this site is the impression of the Iron Age fort which can still be seen with its original ditches and ramparts as well as the impressive views that can be seen from this position. The Castle used to look over Talgarth, towards Brecon and had extensive views into the Black Mountains, one of the major geological features of this part of Wales. As is true of most of Wales, this area has many hiking and wandering paths that pass through regions of extreme natural beauty, drawing hikers from around the world.
Here are three more views: