Flint Castle – Welsh Fortress of The Dee Estuary

It was time to take a road trip of some remarkable Welsh castles of Edward I that are located throughout North Wales. A fantastic journey of history, sights and learning. No better place to start than one of his first, not far from the English border and a fortress that fed this medieval King’s way to encircling the rebellious Welsh of the time, Flint Castle.

Cadw flint castle

From the Norman conquests of the 11th Century the Welsh were definitely a hard nut to crack for the English rulers. Things came to head when Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last King of Wales, actually the first ruler of a full Wales did not want to conform with Edward I of England. So the English King began the Welsh Conquests and began building a ring of castles with Flint being one of the first. Only a days march from Chester and with access from sea plus by foot over the estuary on a good tide, Flint made a perfect spot to start. Work began in 1277.

castle turret ruins
welsh flag flying

Work was finished in 1286. Nearly 2000 English labourers had been used in the construction and at a cost that would relate to at least 5 million pounds today. This castle was a very important step for Edward I on his way to building many more throughout North Wales to keep the locals quiet. The design is unique in Britain. Square with towers on each corner with a great isolated keep protecting the gatehouse. When first getting out of the car to look around you feel it is a low unassuming castle, far from others by Edward I eg Caernarfon and Conwy castles. BUT, as you walk around and within you see it properly for all it is worth. A colossal medieval fortress that would have served its purpose and more.

castle walls
flint ruins
flint castle and seafront on the marsh

Walk.. yes, take the walk. From the castle you can take the coastal path along the side of the Dee Estuary. I found I could have gone for miles and miles had I the time and will surely be back to document it properly. Looking back at the castle you can see how it dominates the area, plus you get remarkable views across the Dee Estuary to the English side.

Dee Estuary
looking across the estuary to England

One other remarkable thing about this castle and surrounding walks? It is absolutely free of charge. No excuse not to visit, discover, enjoy and learn when in this part of Wales or even by Chester and beyond! The castle is looked after by Cadw and as I mentioned this was just stop one on my road trip around Edward I castles of Wales….

castle ruins and the estuary

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