A new festival themed after the Welsh Robin Hood is to launch in the Conwy Valley next month. Medieval tours, banquets and re-enactments are planned as the town of Llanrwst evokes the spirit of Dafydd ap Siencyn.

Much else is in the schedule at the three-day Gŵyl Dafydd ap Siencyn Festival on October 20-22. There’s also live music, forest art and storytelling, even massage therapy and hire of Gravity scooters – a cross between a bicycle and a scooter. The full schedule is given below.

Elements of the festival will be held at the mile-long Caerdroia Labyrinth in Gwydyr Forest, the largest of its kind in the world. Chair of the event’s organising committee, Cllr Mostyn Jones, said the festival will enable people to follow in the footsteps of one of the area’s most notorious rebels.

READ MORE: Met Office warning of ‘disruptive’ wind amid hopes of Indian summer in Wales

READ MORE: Salvage Hunter Drew Pritchard born to find gold in junk is 'starting again from scratch'

“The community has been clear that our town should hold more events, create more activities for young people, and do more to celebrate the best of Llanrwst,” he said. “I am delighted that we as a town council have been able to work with the community to create a truly unique festival. From medieval re-enactments to choirs of merrymen, an adventurous weekend has been scheduled for all to enjoy.”

More than 500 years ago Llanrwst and the forest fortress of Gwydyr were home to Dafydd ap Siencyn, a nobleman and bard. During the 15th century War of the Roses, Dafydd declared himself for the Lancastrians and took his men to battle dressed all in green, leading to the Robin Hood association.

As a native of the Conwy Valley and kinsmen of the Wynn family, he used a rocky outcrop in the Gwydir forest as his base, living in a cave known locally as Carreg Y Gwalch. On one occasion he led his men to Denbigh, the main Yorkist stronghold in North Wales, and burned the entire garrison.

The furious king was said to have ordred the Earl of Pembroke to “lay waste to the whole Conwy Valley”. Pardoned in 1468, he was later he was appointed Constable of Conwy Castle.

Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

Dafydd is one of several claimants to the title of the “Welsh Robin Hood”. Perhaps best known is Twm Sion Cati, a Welsh bard and noble’s son – though reputedly the illegitimate son Sir John Wynn of Gwydir.

Born Thomas Jones near Tregaron, Ceredigion, he was a highwayman who supposedly only robbed the rich. In fact there’s is little evidence of him regularly giving to the poor – he’s perhaps best remembered for his kindness to his victims.

The Gŵyl Dafydd ap Siencyn Festival in Llanrwst and Gwydir Forest launches next month
The Gŵyl Dafydd ap Siencyn Festival in Llanrwst and Gwydir Forest launches next month


Friday night, October 20

  • Wine Tasting, Y Siop Win, Blas ar Fwyd, 7pm-9pm (£25)
  • Gig, Llanrwst Club, 8pm-12am (free)

Saturday, October 21

  • Announcement of the winners of the art and literature competitions, Ty’r Dref, 10am (free)
  • Walking tour from the square to Caerdroia, Gwydyr Forest, 10.30am (free)
  • Gravity Wheelers scooter experience, Caerdroia, 12pm(£15 single and £40 for party of 4)
  • Shuttle bus from Golygfa Gwydyr to Caerdroia, 12pm; 1pm; 2pm & 3pm (free)
  • Medieval re-enactment, Caerdroia, 12pm-5pm (free)
  • A forest of stories by a storyteller, Caerdroia, 12pm-5pm (free)
  • Guided tour of Caerdroia, 12pm-5pm (free)
  • Massage therapy, Golygfa Gwydyr, 12pm-4pm (book a slot at 12pm) (free)
  • Forest art session, Golygfa Gwydyr: 12pm-4pm (free)
  • Wax Seal Project - supporting local businesses, Elusendai/Almshouses, 9.30am-5pm (free)
  • Presentation on Dafydd ap Siencyn and Eglwys St Grwst Church, St Grwst Church, 12pm (free)
  • Medieval Banquet, St Grwst Church
  • Gig, Nant Conwy Rugby Club.

Sunday, October 22

  • St Gwrst special service, Eglwys St Grwst Church, 9.30am (free)
  • Gravity Wheelers scooter experience, Llyn Sarnau Lake (£35)
  • Wax Seal Project - supporting local businesses, Almshouses: 10.30am-5pm (free)
  • Medieval characters around the town centre (free)
  • Live Forge on the square (free)
  • Presentation by Myrddin ap Dafydd: Dafydd ap Siencyn series, 11am, Glasdir (free)
  • Wars of the Roses guided tour, Gwydir Castle, 2pm (£10)
  • Presentation by Daniel Casey, “Soldiers of Llanrwst”, St Grwst Church, 4pm (free)
  • Festival Concert with CantiLena and CoRwst choirs, Seion Chapel, (tickets on the door)

Find family activities near you