Conwy Town Walls
Conwy Town Walls
The 13th century town walls of Conwy extend to the north and west of Edward I's famous castle, stretching to about 3/4 of a mile. This is one of the most complete and best preserved medieval town walls in Europe, not just the UK! The walls are pierced by no less than 21 towers and three gateways.
The walls were begun at the same time as the castle, in 1283, and completed by 1286. The towers were constructed first, then sections of wall built to join the towers. The towers are regularly spaced at about 46 metre intervals, a precision seldom seen in Britain since the Roman period. The walls are 1.68 metres thick, and 9 metres high, with the towers rising to 15 metres.

The wall construction is fascinating; the outer face is smooth, but the inner face is built to a clever defensive design; the towers are open to the interior of the town, and joined to the wall walk by removable wooden bridges. The lack of a continuous interior walkway meant that if one tower was captured, the bridging could be removed by the defenders, thus isolating the captured tower. The towers project from the wall to form firing angles to each side, meaning that no matter where attackers came from, they would be exposed to arrow fire from the town's defenders. The defenses were further strengthened by a ditch outside the wall on the north and west sides. The walls are joined to the castle by very narrow wall sections, so that any attackers who gained the wall walk could not proceed towards the castle.

The walls were part of Edward's plan to create an English presence in Wales. Most of his Welsh castles were surrounded by town walls, but none have survived so completely as here at Conwy (Denbigh being an exception). You can walk a section of the north wall by climbing Tower 5 or the Upper Gate. The entire extent of the wall can be followed, following the exterior except for a short section of the south west corner, where you have to go through Upper Gate and follow the interior to Mill Gate.

The historical importance of the walls was recognised by the UNESCO, who named them a World Heritage Site, along with other UK treasures such as Hadrian's Wall and Stonehenge.

The town walls in evening light
The town walls in evening light
Ruined top of a watchtower
Ruined top of a watchtower
The wall at Mill Gate
The wall at Mill Gate
Watchtower on the Conwy River side
Watchtower over the
Conwy River