Castell Dinas Bran – Denbighshire, Wales - Atlas Obscura

Castell Dinas Bran

Denbighshire, Wales

These precariously placed ruins harken back to a 13th-century castle.  


The debate regarding the actual name of this castle began during the 17th-century.

Castell Dinas Bran is sometimes wrongly translated as “The City of Crows” because the word dinas in modern Welsh means “city,” while in Middle Welsh it means a defended enclosure. Brân meanwhile is Welsh for “crow,” suggesting that the castle’s name was “the crow’s fortress.”

It has also been suggested that Brân could be the name of an individual. According to legends, Brân was a Cornish prince and the son of the Duke of Cornwall. It’s also believed that these legends could be a reference to King Brân Fendigaid. It has been suggested that the name may have simply derived from the word bryn, or “hill.” The name could also simply refer to a local mountain stream. The moniker of  “Crow Castle,” has also been used since at least the 18th-century. This explains the crow statue positioned on one of the paths. The ruins visible today are all that remain of the stronghold constructed around the 1260s by Prince Gruffudd ap Madoc, a local Welsh ruler. 

Dinas Brân is just one of several castles that were constructed in the region following the signing of the Treaty of Montgomery which secured Wales for Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. It also freed the region from English interference.

Know Before You Go

There is a car park in town. then walk over the bridge and head for the canal, from here you will see the sign for Dinas Bran. The walk involves a bit of a climb, so allow yourself plenty of time, about an hour. The views alone are well worth the effort.

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December 1, 2020

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