High up above the village of Deganwy is a massive outcrop of rock called Vardre Hill with the remains of fortifications which go back to Roman times. Deganwy Castle's position by the River Conwy was considered to be of major strategic importance in the post-Roman era, so much so that over the years it changed hands between Normans, English and Welsh, with much alternate destruction and rebuilding. During the 13th century, when the Welsh held sway over the castle, the threat of the relentless advance by the English led to the castle being destroyed so effectively that when the English came in 1245 they were reduced to sleeping in tents. The ruins seen today are all that remains of the castle as it was during the time of Henry III. Henry's son Edward took a fancy to Conwy as an alternative site, since it occupied a strategic location at the frontier of Gwynedd, and Deganwy Castle was finally abandoned and demolished in 1263 by the Prince of Wales Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Those feeling energetic enough to climb up to the ruins will be rewarded by a lovely view of Conwy Castle as well as views of Llandudno and a large swathe of the surrounding coast.
Deganwy is a village on the opposite shore of the of the River Conwy from the town of Conwy. The Quay was originally built for the purpose of exporting slate which had been quarried in the mountains of nearby Snowdonia, and there was a railway line linking it to Blaenau Ffestiniog from where the slate was transported. Nowadays the quay is devoted to more leisurely pursuits, with a 165-berth marina and a luxury hotel and spa, all of which is enhanced by wonderful views of Conwy Castle and the mountains. Each summer the village holds a Prom Day and on the previous day the Deganwy Dash, a 5-mile coastal run, takes place.
Map of the area.
|Deganwy from Conwy Castle. Photo by Nigel Chadwick, via Wikimedia Commons.|