Dinas Emrys is a delightful wooded hilltop just outside the village of Beddgelert. If you are in the mood for a short (just over two miles) but relatively strenuous walk in the wooded hilltops of Snowdonia then this place is hard to beat.
Fabulous walk, glorious views and a dusting of myths and legends thrown in for good measure.
Take the A498 from Beddgelert towards Llyn Dinas. About a mile from Beddgelert you will see the car park for Craflwyn. The car park is free although you are encouraged to make a small donation towards the upkeep. Well signposted paths take you through oak covered woods to the hilltop site. The paths can be muddy and a touch slippery as they are covered by wet leaves and moss. It is well worth the effort as very quickly you will find yourself in the magical woods which feel very surreal.
According to legends in the 5th centry AD Britain was ruled by Vortigern. He wanted to build a fort on the hilltop. Everyday his men would work hard to build the fort only to discover the following day their work was undone in piles of rubble. Vortigern was advised to seek the help of a young boy born of a virgin mother. This young boy was called Myrddin Emrys.
Vortigern ordered his men to dig looking for the lake and the dragons. Merlin was proved right. The two dragons were released – one red and one white. On their release the dragons fought each other with the red dragon eventually emerging victorious. This is commemorated to this day on the Welsh flag bearing the red dragon.
Vortigern was so please to finally be able to build his fort, he named it after the young boy who had advised him. He called his fort ‘Myrddin Emrys’. Today we know the young boy as Merlin, the great and wise adviser of King Arthur.
Although little remains of the hillfort structures, excavations in 1910, 1954 and 56 reveal several periods of habitation, with the earliest dating to the 1st century. The pool inside the structures has been identified and is believed it was once a timber-lined reservoir. Could this be the link to the legend of the two dragons?
Why not visit Dinas Emrys and discover more about the legend for yourself?