This watchtower is called Lady Emily’s Tower. It’s near Cefn yr Ogof and is a familiar landmark to everyone who drives along the A55 north Wales coast road between Abergele and Llanddulas. It’s a 1930s folly commissioned by Lord Hesketh’s wife, Lady Emily, so she and the children could go painting and take in the air (source)
Lady Emily’s Tower is connected with Gwrych Castle. From its perch, high above North Wales’s A55 road, you can see breathtaking views east and west along the coast. Looking out to sea from the tower is stunning, with the windfarms peppering the northern horizon.
In the woodlands around the tower, you can walk along the many paths created when the tower was built.
“The headstone above the main entrance to Lady Emily’s Tower bears the words “the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands prepared the dry land”, taken from line 95:5 from Psalms of David.
“There’s a variety of access points as it’s buried in some really beautiful woodland, we park near Llandulas and walk up the scree banks from the Dolwen / Tan Rallt side. The view from here opens up quickly over the houses of Llandulas, The Beach caravan park and beyond.
The Frozen Divide Blog writes: “After forging a path through the maze of forest trails, the limestone caves lower down the cliffs are amazing fun and well worth an explore too, with popular sport climbing routes.”
The hanging dummy
There are a few stories associated with this landmark. However, my favourite is the one told to me by a friend of my father’s – on the condition that I didn’t publish his name. When he was a boy in the late 1950s, he and his friends ‘borrowed’ a tailor’s dummy of a woman from the back of an Abergele dress shop. They marched the dummy up to Lady Emily’s tower. They then hung her from a rope round her neck from the branch of a tree through the tower’s window. Seeing the body swinging over the cliff, several car drivers on the road below stopped at phoneboxes in Llanddulas and Abergele. They called the police to say they’d witnessed a tragedy.
The police retrieved the dummy from Lady Emily’s Tower and returned her to the dress shop owner. Do you know what? I don’t think my father’s friend was ever found out.