During our recent holiday we made a second visit to Dinefwr Park near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. Dinefwr is the site of a 12th Century Castle, built by the Rhys family, whose story is intertwined with Welsh Princes and with the conflicts and struggles that saw Henry Tudor take the throne as Henry VII. If you watched the recent BBC series ‘The White Queen’ you may be familiar with the story.
In later years the Rhys family reclaimed the lands, changing the spelling of their name to Rice, They built, Newton House, which still stands on the grounds to this day, although it has been much rebuilt and developed over the centuries.
The grounds enclose a deer park, with approximately 140 fallow deer currently in residence. Also in residence are the famous White Park Cattle, an ancient breed which may have lived on these grounds for as much as two thousand years. We took a tractor trailer tour to get up close with these guys and heard a bit more of their history. The tour guide told us that they had only left the site at Dinefwr twice in its history, the first time was in the Second World War, as they were so distinctive they could be spotted from the air and used as a landmark. A hair-brained scheme to paint them green was an understandable failure, hence they were shipped off to Canada until after the war. Later the family sold the herd, but when the National Trust took over the property they were able to bring the descendants of the original cattle back to Dinefwr.
Whilst there we took the ‘Hidden House’ tour, a guided tour which takes you to parts of the house that are not usually open to the public, around servants’ corridors, up into the loft space and finally out onto the roof. It was a fascinating little tour.
We didn’t manage to get up to the castle on this day, so that may be a trip for another day. Here’s a few photos from our visit to give you a flavour of the day.
The front view of Newton House
The White Park Cattle
The view of Newton House from the rear
The small formal gardens at the rear of Newton House
Just to prove that we were on the roof…
Some of the fallow deer…can you see ’em? (I need a better camera!)
Looking out from the roof of Newton House, this is the view looking towards Dinefwr Castle.