Ruperra Castle was built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, who was knighted by King James 1st. It was a typical Jacobean courtier’s house, an example of the ‘Great Rebuilding’ of the 16th and 17th Centuries. King Charles 1st stayed here in 1645 raising support after the Battle of Naseby. A deer park was recorded in 1684 when the Duke of Beaufort feasted there and there were viewing points through the trees and beautiful grassed rides up to the summer house where the family took tea at this time.
Nowadays quite substantial ruins can be seen from footpaths surrounding the grounds of the Castle and some really nice carvings are still visible amidst the ivy-clad stonework. There is no access to the Castle but you can get good views at varying angles by following the public footpaths surrounding the Castle grounds. The best views of the front aspect of the Castle can be obtained by taking the Rhymney River Circular path which is signposted off the lane right next to the boundary wall of the castle. For details of a nice country walk through the woods to reach the Castle, see my Coed Craig Ruperra tip.
The Iron Bridge is now a listed stucture. It was built in 1826 to take the new carriage way from the Castle through Coed Craig Ruperra and across the Rhymney River to Lower Machen Church where the family and their servants attended Sunday services.
I stumbled across the Ironbridge walking trail whilst on my way back through Coed Craig Ruperra after visiting the Castle. I noticed a waymarked trail for the Ironbridge and decided to explore! As luck would have it, it took me back past where I parked the car and was only a short walk down towards Ironbridge cottage. It looks as thought the Victorian Ironbridge Cottage is no more. In place of it, there was a very nice house under construction during the time of my visit. The public footpath looks as though it comes to a dead end as you approach the house but the Ironbridge is hiding away just the other side of it.
From the car park at Coed Craig Ruperra, take the lane to your right and then the next lane on your left (signposted Ironbridge). Walk past the nice red bricked house & the ironbridge will appear before you!
Ruperra woodlands lie just a 15-20 minutes drive away from the Centre of Caerphilly. The woodland is managed by the Ruperra Conservation Trust and they do a mighty fine job. During the 400 or so years of ownership by the Lords Tredegar of Ruperra Castle, much of the woodland was used as an extension of the estate gardens, with exotic plantings particularly on the southern side. Some of these are still visible in the shape of large specimen conifers, but most particularly in the Cherry Laurel and Rhododendron which have unfortunately proved only too successful and now infest much of the Hill Fort area. Eradicating these two problem plants, which create dense shade and exclude native plants wherever they spread, has proved to be major challenge for the group involving a great deal of work.
There are various paths into the woods, I parked in the main car park where there was a handy information board together with some free maps to help me on my way. I followed the main track which leads uphill from the car park. As the path levels out there is a lovely pond area with some welcoming seats for you to catch your breath back after the climb. I then followed the lower summerhouse path (beneath the Motte on the hill). This path provides excellent views of the Bristol Channel on a clear day and after a short walk you will catch sight of Ruperra Castle through the trees.
There are some great historic features in Ruperra Woodlands; an iron age hillfort, Arbour, Motte and not forgetting Ruperra Castle. If you enjoy walking, history and the Countryside - this is a great place to spend a few hours getting away from it all.
The Car park can be found on the Draethen to Michaelston-Y-Fedw road which runs in front of the Hollybush pub in Draethen - an excellent place to stop off for re-fuelling after your walk!
Castle Morgraig is located some 800 feet up on Cefn-Onn ridge above Cardiff just behind The Travellers Rest Public House.
It has been the subject of much speculation over the years.
The Castle would have been constructed sometime in the 13th century and was on the border between Welsh Senghennydd and English Glamorgan overlooking Cardiff and guarding what was an important route from the coast over the mountain and into the valleys.
It was Constructed from a red Marley sandstone but the main question that has puzzled historians over the years since it was discovered in 1895 is Who built it and Why??
In 1997, The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales asked undertook an investigation into the castle and to try and establish the facts.
Many of the design detail led thought into that it could have been an English Castle of an unusual with five towers, there are the remains of a spiral staircase in one which would be unusual in a Welsh built Castle. Also the presence of carved stones being used as dressing for doorways and windows suggests a English built Castle. The flanking towers at each corner are an obvious 13th century feature that the Welsh had not adopted but the Castles keep and entrance are both have features which suggest Welsh construction.
However the carved Sutton stone used in construction could only have come from a single quarry near Ogmore, a quarry whose supply was exhausted by the end of the Middle Ages.
their investigator Jack Spurgeon said that "It's inconceivable that the Welsh lord of Senghennydd would have been able to get Sutton stone in this period for Morgraig" adding that, "it's inconceivable too that Richard de Clare would have allowed him to build a castle looking right down into Cardiff".
The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales concluded that the castle was probably built by Earl Richard de Clare at about 1243-62, with the castle guarding the main road into Cardiff. Many people do not agree with the Royal commission’s findings and believe the Castle to have been built by the native lord of Senghennydd and the scene of a Welsh 'Alamo', where a Welsh rebellion was defeated in 1315.
The question may never be answered but if you are passing why not call and take a look at the ruins.