Abergele and Pensarn

Abergele has a long history, having been a Roman town and port, and the location of a Celtic monastery (which was on the site of the present Parish Church). The town’s most famous landmark is Gwrych Castle. It was originally built in timber by the Normans, and was rebuilt in stone by the Welsh prince Rhys. Later, an Elizabethan house stood on the site, and between 1812-1822 the owner Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh replaced it with an imposing mock-medieval structure with towers and battlements, to plans by various well-known architects and designers. The estate had extensive gardens and grounds planted with many ornamental trees. During World War 2 it provided accommodation for Jewish children brought to Britain through the kindertransport, but it fell into disrepair in the late 20th Century. The efforts of a local boy, Mark Baker, led to the formation of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust in 1996, and in 2018 the Trust was able to purchase the castle and estate to restore it on behalf of the nation. It is now famous as the location for “I’m a Celebrity – get me out of here” which was filmed here in 2020 and 2021. 

Abergele has a sandy beach, a promenade and a pier. Further to the east in Pensarn, the beach is mainly of shingle and is popular with windsurfers and kayakers. Sometimes the timber outline of a wrecked C19th boat can be seen in the bay.

The ridge at the top of the beach suits rare plants like sea kale, sea radish, Ray’s knotgrass, and the yellow horned poppy. It is a nesting site for ringed plovers, and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.