Denbigh Town - Castle link scheme, Broomhill Lane

Denbigh Town - Castle link scheme, Broomhill Lane


Denbigh (“Dinbych” in Welsh, meaning small fortress) is one of the most historic towns in North Wales. The town is first mentioned in records in the years following the Norman Conquest when it became a border town guarding the approach to the Hiraethog Hills and Snowdonia. Denbigh was also probably the location of a fortified settlement during the Roman occupation and in the twelfth century, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the brother of Llewelyn, the last Prince of Wales, had his headquarters here. Edward I created the Lordship of Denbigh in 1282 which was granted to Henry de Lacy who authorised the building of Denbigh Castle which was built over the stronghold of Dafydd ap Gruffydd.
The castle's finest feature is its triple-towered Great Gatehouse bearing the unmistakable stamp of Master James of St George, the architect responsible for all of Edward I's major North Wales castles.

Yet as a first-time visitor to Denbigh you would find it difficult to locate the castle, as it is not visible from the town centre. From the main high street, there are no views to the castle and the most direct and accessible pedestrian route is via a narrow, steep and dark lane – Broomhill Lane, widely seen by residents as a dingy, poorly lit and consequently intimidating pathway. Therefore the objectives of the Denbigh Town - Castle link project were twofold: to achieve greater awareness for visitors to Denbigh Castle and Walls from the town and vice versa and to create an appealing route along Broomhill Lane to encourage more visitors from the town up to the castle.

Celfwaith was appointed by Denbigh Council to deliver a public art scheme for the route and Mererid Velios worked with associate Geoff Wood (WorkingpArts) to manage the commissions.

A series of artworks were proposed for the lane, split into four commissions.

1. Finger post, window grilles and light fittings by Ann Catrin Evans, Dyfed Wyn Jones and Brian Fell
An existing black painted finger post at the bottom of the lane was not visible enough to mark the important route. A new finger post was made, painted in brighter colours and incorporating the town's motif of the key. The base of the post includes stylised broom flowers, followed by stylised leaves, topped by the 'Castell / Castle' sign below a large key.
Along the right side of the lane black painted, plain window grilles gave the impression that the lane was unsafe. These grilles were replaced with individually crafted grilles, depicting the broom flower, keys, flames, and weapons.
Four existing wall-mounted light fittings along the lane were of modern design and not in keeping with the historic character of the area. Bespoke light fittings were created in the form of large broom flowers that help to lead the eye to the lane from both directions.

2. Poetry mural, written by Rhys Trimble
The wall along the left side of the lane was rendered but unpainted and contributed to the gloomy character of the lane. The lower section of wall was painted off-white and a poem commissioned to be painted along it.

Moliant i Ddinbych

Boreon Dafydd; o ael bryn dyfai:
Lôn Brombil, grombil gandryll gaerau.
Anterliwt trwy ein hanturiaethau -
Îs-bonc, brys! lleferys genod a llanciau
Twm o’r Nant: gwant rhwng ein gofidiau
Simbar Rainmaker Stanley-knives holy hazel
Wil Ysceifiog asylms concatenating Englyns
Middleton, K&I Roberts three faces of the damask town
Lengthen Lenten-light; pooled in at Henllan Street, turned
All the people lyle to bloodlines and houses nigh to souls.

The other two commissions are featured here

The Denbigh Town - Castle link scheme was part of Cadw’s £19 million Heritage Tourism Project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government. The project was officially opened on the 28th November 2014.