Dinas Castle (Dinas Emrys) (c) Peter Shone
Dinas Castle (Dinas Emrys)

Also known as Dinas Emrys, a hillfort here was inhabited in the 5th century on a volcanic outcrop above the Gwynany valley. Dinas Castle is the traditional location of a fortress established by Vortigern. Later myths associate the place with Merlin the Magician and the Arthurian legends.

In the 9th century, Nennius told the tale that two dragons fought beneath the hill of Dinas Emrys. One dragon was white, representing the Saxons, and one dragon was red, representing the Britons (Welsh Celts).

Excavations on the site have found evidence of occupation in the Iron Age, Roman, and early medieval periods. In the 13th century a stone keep, possibly erected by Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, was built atop the hill. The castle site stretches 200 metres on an east-west axis, and is about 100 metres wide.

There are three gates leading to the inner enclosure, accessed only after navigating several zigzag passages and blind alleys.