VISIT | Come Castling at Longtown Castle | Herefordshire
A Herefordshire Castle
A fine castle ruins with tower, gatehouse and bailey in rural west Herefordshire
Breathtaking views up on on the Black Mountains
A history worth studying and a place worth taking in
"...this Norman castle with its setting beneath the Black Mountains and its roots in the ancient years before..."
Longtown seems like the forgotten side of Herefordshire. People assume that they’ve reached the Welsh lands as the Black Mountains literally dominates your eyeline. But no – we are still in Herefordshire. And yes – this is Castle Country.
This place is a castle. It’s free to enter. It seems like you’re almost at the end of the world. There is some wonderful original archaeology. It is deeply atmospheric. And the castle tower - up its dramatic step after step after step -reveals the most breath-taking views of the edge of the Black Mountains.
For those who love their history, the magic of Longtown Castle is in its roots. Before the Norman lords brought motte and bailey castles and stone keeps, the Romans were here with a fort and a Roman road which ranged up these borderlands to keep eyes on the Celts beyond the line of Roman influence, power and control.
The De Lacy family held this castle for a long period amid political struggles with King and country. But Longtown Castle, like its settlement the village, has over the centuries become somewhat retracted by the Black Death, by shifting power, by Welsh conflict and then none. So now the village is more farming and agricultural centre, than conflict zone. And now you’re more likely to see a walker ranging down the mountainside from the Offa’s Dyke Path or from Llanthony Priory on the other side.
Longtown Castle is not the most impressive stone fortification, it is not the most complete, the most historically perfect – but its wonder is its location. No where else can this scenery be placed such as it is here in this crook beneath the soaring climbs above. There is a timelessness. A call back to centuries before. When locals borrowed stones. When some leaned their buildings against its wall. When the bailey became curiosity rather than security.
Longtown Castle is a wonder. Take your time. Watch the tower when the winds blow like the devil. But as with this most intriguing of old villages, marvel that even here there is a castle that still remains.
Directions and Map |
Find the Castle in the village of Longtown off the A465 between Abergavenny and Hereford