Kapoors Year 8: Scotland/India/Bhutan travel blog

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Here’s what the Lonely Planet – Great Britain chapter on Cardiff (Caerdydd) has to say about Caerphilly:

“The town of Caerphilly – now almost a suburb of Cardiff – guards the entrance to the Rhymney valley to the north of the capital. Its name is synonymous with a popular variety of hard, slightly crumbly white cheese

(similar to cheddar, but saltier) that originated in the surrounding area.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Caerphilly Castle – with its profusion of towers and crenellations reflected in a duck-filled lake – was a film set rather than an ancient monument. Indeed, it often is used as a film set, but it is also one of Britain’s finest examples of a 13th-century fortress with water defenses.

Unusually, Caerphilly was never a royal castle. Most of the construction was completed between 1268 and 1271 by the powerful English baron, in response to the threat of Prince Llywelyn, the last Welsh Prince of Wales. In the 13th century Caerphilly was state-of-the-art, being one of the earliest castles to use lakes, bridges and a series of concentric fortifications for defence; to reach the inner court you had to overcome no fewer than three drawbridges, six portcullises and five sets of double gates.

Edward I’s subsequent campaign against the Welsh princes put an end to Llywelyn’s ambitions and Caerphilly’s short-lived spell on the front line came to an end without ever tasting battle; the famous leaning tower at the southeast corner is a result of subsidence rather than sabotage.

In the early 14th century it was remodelled as a grand residence, but from the mid-14th century onward the castle began to fall into ruin. Much of what you see results from restoration from 1928 to 1939 by the fourth marquess of Bute. Work continued after the state bought the castle in 1950.”



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