Carmarthenshire’s Carreg Cennen Castle and Llansteffan Castle, both cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s historic environment service, have been shortlisted in Countryfile Magazine’s 10 most romantic ruins in the UK. The shortlist, compiled from an original list of 50 by a panel including John Craven and Countryfile’s Jules Hudson, will now be put to the public to vote for their favourite.
BBC One Show star Alex Jones’ vote would be for Carreg Cennen Castle as she has chosen it as her ‘Favourite Site’ in the Winter edition of Cadw’s Heritage in Wales membership magazine.
Alex says, “Much of the castle, of course, has been lost but it’s a wonderful place. The last time I visited Carreg Cennen was about five years ago, with my boyfriend at the time. I wanted to show him where I used to go when I was a child and, of course, it’s a very romantic place.
“When I go there now, all the memories come flooding back and I’m like a child again. I have very clear recollections of everything we used to do.”
Intrigued as to why the UK’s countryside has so many evocative historic ruins, Countryfile Magazine and John Craven wanted to explore why so many people love to visit the ruinous remains of the past
There are few castles in Wales which can boast a more spectacular location than Carreg Cennen. Its ruins crown a precipitous crag in a remote corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park. A visit to Carreg Cennen is an adventure - not least for the sight of the breathtaking 100mtrs/325ft cliff on which the castle is perched and the dramatic trek through a passageway cut into the cliff-face and down into a hidden cave below the castle.
Llansteffan is an impressive, dramatically sited stronghold crowning a hilltop overlooking the estuary of the River Tywi. Its remains are those of a castle established in the earlier twelfth century within the site of an Iron Age promontory fort. Rebuilt in stone, it was held by the de Camvilles for much of the Middle Ages.
John Craven, said, “Is it by the impact they have on the landscape, the legends that surround them and the part they have played in our nation’s story, or is it simply the place they have in our hearts? How tumbledown should they be, how spectacular, how windswept, how threatening, how magical?”
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, added, “It’s great to see the castles of Carreg Cennen and Llansteffan, which surely rank amongst the most photogenic of Welsh historic sites, getting the recognition they deserve. I urge as many people as possible to vote for these Welsh wonders as it would be great to see them crowned as the UK’s most romantic ruins.”
Details of the top 10 romantic ruins are listed in the November issue of Countryfile Magazine. Alternatively details are listed on the Countryfile Magazine website www.bbccountryfilemagazine.com. Voting closes on 26 November 2010 and the winning ruin will be announced in the February 2011 issue of Countryside Magazine.