After following a lovely and quiet walking trail that is suitable for all walks of life, hidden inside a saturated and discreet forest, lies the infamous Ewloe Castle. One of our favourite things to do is explore castles that are hidden, perhaps not very well known and off the beaten track and Ewloe is exactly that.

The origins of the ruins are somewhat unclear, but the earliest date of a castle built here was from 1257, after Llewellyn Fawr captured this particular area of Flintshire, from the English crown.

The castle resembles a motte and bailey keep, with it’s earthworks uncovering how this would have formed, it stands facing eastward and above the Wepre valley. it is defended on three sides by steep slopes, this meant all Llewelyn had to do was dig a deep ditch across to create a defensible site for his fortress. The ruins consisted of a D shaped tower of sandstone, with an oval enclosure. The tower had a had a single first floor hall that stood above a lower ground floor chamber and  defensive arrow slits were placed on the curved sides of the tower.

Later on, with a phase of construction, a curtain wall was added as well as a west tower. Although there is no link that they are connected to one another, and it’s possible it could have maintained separate entrances and even occupied by other families.

Ewloe was taken by Edward I in his first invasion into Wales in 1277, and was never again used for military purposes, gradually decaying into the romantic ruin we see today. You are able to head up the steep and narrow staircase that takes you to the battlements above where you can overlook Wepre forest and understand why this was a great place to have a castle.

After visiting huge, impressive fortresses like Harlech, Caerphilly and Conwy, Ewloe is both a surprise and a breath of fresh air. It gives us the chance to appreciate Wales’ smaller castles, which were built for entirely different reasons than their mighty, better-known cousins. So the next time you find yourself in the area across the A55 do yourself a favour and take the time to visit here, it’s free, open access 24/7 and is a different yet wonderful welsh castle experience.