Penlle’r Castell Heritage Trail

C 14th November 2013

Penlle’r Castell Heritage Trail Overview

The remote ruins of Penlle’r Castell on Mynydd y Gwair is the highest point in Swansea and offers some of its most spectacular views. This area is steeped in history. It used to be known as ‘The Strivelands’ due to the confrontations between the Welsh Princes of Dinefwr and the Norman Lordships of Gower.

Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km).
Time: Allow 3.5 – 4 hours.
Walk classification: Moderate – Strenuous.
Be prepared: Take plenty of drinking water, and maybe some food to eat along the way.


Download the Penlle’r Castell walking route map >>    


Route Map

If this walk sounds good to you, why not download this great little walking route guide. It’s been put together by the City & County of Swansea Countryside Access team, and will help you get off on the right foot.   DOWNLOAD THE ROUTE MAP
Download the Penlle’r Castell walking route map

Video Transcript

Chris Jones: “When you come to Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower; by all means enjoy the beaches, of course, and the amazing coastline. But don’t forget about Rural Swansea either, with its history, its culture and, of course, its incredible scenery. Earlier on, I asked Mr Ioan Richard to tell me more about this area.”

Ioan Richard (local historian): “Well, this area is known as ‘Mawr’, which means a large area. It’s part of the ancient lordship of Gower, it’s the highest part of the Swansea County and it has a vast range of views. You can look across the Severn Sea or the Bristol Channel, you can see right up into the heart of wales and Pen Y Fan, and you can even see down to the Preseli Hills. We have now these walking trails, which are a wonderful asset for tourism and I hope they will be used by a number of tourists coming to the area.”

Chris Jones: “If you’re a keen walker like me, and enjoy a challenge, then head for Penlle’r Castell, where you’ll enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery in Swansea.”

“The walk starts deep within woodlands, through fields and pastures, and points in the direction of Pentwyn Mawr. Pretty soon it joins the 64 mile St Illtyd’s Walk, spanning parts of Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath.”

“It’s going to take me to the ruins of the 13th century Penlle’r Castell on Mynydd Y Gwair, which is perched on the highest point of the county.”

“The wilderness of Mynydd Y Gwair and Penlle’r Castell is a site well worth waiting for. This area was known as the Strivelands in medieval times, due to the violent confrontation between the Welsh princes of Dinefwr and the Norman Lordships of Gower.”

“As you can see, of course, by now the remains of Penlle’r Castell have been merged back into the landscape. The original castle would have been seen for miles around in every direction. Even today, on a good day, you can see the towers of Castell Carreg Cennen in the distance, which was one of the most prominent strongholds of the Princes of Dinefwr.”

“It’s a wild, windy location and you can still feel the history all around you.”

“So, after the highest point in this walk it’s downhill all the way. With the occasional bird or sheep for company as you enjoy magnificent views of the Amman Valley and beyond. On this walk, there is some fantastic scenery and you can, on a wonderful day like this, see from the Black Mountains in the distance that direction over to the Gower Peninsula.”

“I continue to walk down from the lofty heights of Penlle’r Castell through the green fields to reach more shady woodland.” “The final challenge before reaching the Garnswllt Activity Centre: well apparently there are 133 steps here, and I’m about to count them all…”

“So, after a fantastic day’s walking, I’m nearly back at the Garnswllt Activity Centre from where this walk starts and ends. So this circular seven and a half mile walk is strenuous in places and a real challenge. Wear some sturdy footwear, bring some drinking water and something to eat along the way maybe and, of course, bring a camera. If it is peace and quiet you’re looking for, well this path is perfect for you. We’re a long way away from the hustle and bustle of city life, but that’s the beauty of it.”

“Swansea Bay is well loved and is made up of five unique areas; Swansea, Mumbles, Gower, Rural Swansea and Afan and the Vale of Neath. So if you’d like more about Swansea Bay and this, the Penlle’r Castell walk then go to visitswanseabay.com/walking. And enjoy.”

Useful Information

Swansea Council Countryside Access Team
# 01792 635746 or 01792 635230
@ countrysideaccess@swansea.gov.uk
i www.swansea.gov.uk/countrysideaccess

Further links
i www.baytrans.org.uk
i www.traveline-cymru.org.uk

More about walking in Swansea, Mumbles, Gower and Rural-Swansea

With nearly 400 miles’ worth of rights of way, Swansea Bay offers many memorable walking routes, from short family trips, taking in many of the small churches and landmarks in the area, to routes for the more experienced, with breathtaking views of the Gower Peninsula. Read more:

DOWNLOAD THE ROUTE MAPMore walks in Swansea Bay >>