A Guide to Dryslwyn Castle and Paxton’s Tower
A few weeks back I posted about our trip to some of the castles surrounding Llandeilo. This is the follow up day out taking in the nearby Dryslwyn Castle and Paxton’s Tower.
Last time out we spent the day exploring two amazing Welsh castles; Carreg Cennen and Dinefwr Castles, both overlooking the Towy Valley.
We ran out of time on the day, but the views down the valley (and an amazingly clear day!) had us longing to check out Dryslwyn Castle and Paxton’s Tower on the hill above.
Well a few weekends back, that day came. While the weather wasn’t quite as glorious as our initial trip, we weren’t disappointed.
Once again we were headed West from Brecon. The drive along the A40 to Dryslwyn Castle took us just under an hour.
We parked up across the road from Dryslwyn Castle, and after a short clamber were rewarded with dramatic scenery. While there isn’t much left of the original structure today, the views across the valley and up to Paxton’s Tower are stunning. The Towy Valley was in flood creating some amazing water formations and light across the valley floor.
The history of Dryslwyn Castle
The castle was built way back in the 1220s by a prince of the Deheubarth kingdom. It’s changed hands multiple times over the years during wars between the Welsh and English. In 1403 it was taken by Owain Glyndŵr only to be later seized and decommissioned by the English forces.
At some point since then, the castle was burnt to the ground, with much of the original stone being removed. Today it’s a Grade 1 listed building and highly respected as one of the more important structures built by a Welsh Chieftan.
As we explored the castle, the storm clouds rolled in and we found ourselves legging it for the car as the rain came down. Only in Wales.
Time to find somewhere for lunch…
Interlude: Wright’s Food Emporium
If you’re looking for great grub in the area, look no further. Wright’s Food Emporium is part deli, part cafe, part restuarant. Is that what an emporium is? I don’t know.
Either way – it was great pitstop. We sat out back by the open fire, a welcome relief after just avoiding getting caught in a storm. The place was packed – and while you can’t book it’s well worth the wait. Wright’s motto is ‘Many reasons to be cheerful’ which seemed about right.
I supped on a delicious Pilsner from Geipel Brewing in North Wales. We also tried the tartiflette – if you’re looking for something disturbingly cheesy and delicious this ones probably for you.
And be warned, the pork belly roll is out of this world. Who adds ham to pork belly roll? Wright’s do.
Well fed, we made the short drive up the hill to the incredible Paxton’s Tower. The tower is maintained by the National Trust, with a small car park next door.
A proper little Welsh cottage stands sturdy next to the gate to the field – it can booked for holidays with the Landmark Trust and sleeps five. It was originally built for the caretaker of Paxton’s Tower and with views down the valley to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales it would make a fine base for exploring the area. One day!
The history of Paxton’s Tower
Paxton’s Tower was built overlooking the Towy Valley at some point between 1806 and 1809. The Neo-Gothic folly was built by Sir William Paxton a wealthy Scottish born banker and merchant. It’s thought that Paxton was inspired to build the tower by the death of Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Today, the tower stands strong and there is still visitor access to the banqueting room on the first floor.
The views are stunning and on a clear day (which it wasn’t!) you can see down the valley to Dinefwr and Dryslwyn castles. While you can no longer access the top floor there would have once been access to roof terraces which would have given even more dramatic views of the surrounding area.
With the rain clouds looking threatening, we called it a day – next time we’re in the area the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Aberglasney are top of the list.
Read part one of this series, when we visited Carreg Cennen Castle and Dinefwr Castle.