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Regeneration work begins on Wales’ largest medieval fortress

31 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Work to regenerate Caerphilly Castle has begun

Wales’ largest medieval fortress is set to be transformed over the next three years as work begins on the Caerphilly Castle Regeneration Project.

The £10m project is part of a wider investment into Wales’ historic monuments and is due to be complete by summer 2026.

The 13th century castle will benefit from extensive improvements to facilities, visitor experience and conservation – bringing a state-of-the-art welcome centre, brand new café, toilets and an education room.

Of the total investment, £1m has been allocated to develop a new interpretative scheme – telling the fascinating stories of people who built and lived in the castle through the centuries.

Caerphilly Castle will remain open throughout the project, with some areas restricted, so visitors can continue to enjoy its heritage and history.

Initial work began on the regeneration scheme in 2021 with the necessary conservation of the Inner East Gatehouse in preparation for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project.

Phase 1 will see improvement works to the inner ward of the castle and will commence on 7 August 2023 and is expected to be complete by July 2024.

This will include the refurbishment of the medieval great hall, installation of visitor access paths and ramps, comprehensive new interpretation, and the construction of a wildflower garden.

The great hall at Caerphilly Castle

Open

Work will also be undertaken to conserve and open visitor access to the medieval watergate, which once provided access from the water’s edge to the medieval great hall.

This atmospheric entrance with its long-covered passageway has not been in use since medieval times.

During this phase of the project, the great hall, central courtyard and some ground floor areas of the inner ward will be closed to visitors.

Upper floors and wall walks will be open as usual but will require use of historic spiral stairs to see.

No visitor toilets will be accessible within the castle but visitors can use toilets at nearby locations (Caerphilly Library and Visitor Centre) which are close to the castle.

Once the regeneration of the inner ward is complete, Phase 2 of the project is expected to begin in Summer 2024 in the castle’s outer ward.

This will involve construction of a new sustainably built welcome centre, refurbishment of the Cadw shop and the installation of a children’s play area.

Rich past

Dr Kate Roberts, Cadw’s Chief Inspector of Historic Monuments and Buildings, said: “Caerphilly Castle is one of Wales’ most impressive historical landmarks with a rich past – it’s seen many sieges and battles and played an important role in the downfall of King Edward II.

“Our aim is to conserve this unique historic place – the first truly concentric castle in Wales and to transform the experience for the thousands of visitors that enjoy the attraction each year.

“We’re working closely with Caerphilly Council and other key stakeholders within the Caerphilly 2035 strategy to shape the town as an attractive place to live, work and invest, and to make the castle one of Wales’ biggest heritage attractions for us all to keep in years to come.”

To bring the enhancement works to life, Cadw is also working in partnership with John Weaver Contractors (Principal Contractor), Mace project management, Purcell Architects, Bright interpretation designers, Studio Hardie, Mann Williams Engineers, Holloway Partnership M&E, Wessex Archaeology, BSG Ecology and Austin Smith Lord landscape Architects.

Caerphilly Castle will remain open during the improvement works, with visitors receiving a free guidebook to enhance their experience.


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Frank
Frank
8 months ago

Caerffili Castle was built by an English noble to suppress the Welsh. I only hope that the bill for any renovations is paid for by the English in that case.

Simon
Simon
8 months ago
Reply to  Frank

You must be really old to still bear a grudge

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

Last couple of months been to two open days organised by Cadw at Bryncelli Du and Barclodiad y Gawres with Rhys Mwyn explaining the sites, very informative and interesting. Just hope some of the money is spent on some of the lesser known sites to maintain stiles etc. While CADW has failings it is nothing compared to Wrexham Council who have all but abandoned Bersham Ironworks and who provide no help to the North Wales Miners Assoc who do not even have a water supply on their Bersham Mine site despite all the attention the world is giving Wrexham at… Read more »

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