We love to receive reports of good driving roads. This one comes from Janet:
“What shall we do for a free weekend?” we asked ourselves. The weather forecast was good and we had some petrol money and nothing else to do, so we decided on a drive to Wales to enjoy the fabulous roads outside of the holiday season.
We arrived in the Principality over the M48 Severn Bridge to Chepstow. There wasn’t much traffic so there was only a slight pause to pay the toll and then we were off up the Wye Vally road (A466) via Tintern Abbey which was looking very atmospheric in the mist. The road follows the river and winds its way up to Monmouth where we managed to find a way through the town and stay on the A466.
We took to the lanes to avoid going into Hereford – the city traffic is a nightmare at the best of times and should be avoided whenever possible – and headed for Kington. The A44 is a major route into Wales and so there were many more lorries than we wanted to see.
We reached Rhayader and took the slightly narrow in places but lorry-free B4518 road to Llanidloes and beyond. This is a fun stretch of road to drive and we had a great time enjoying both the scenery and the sweeping bends.
We then joined the A470 and headed towards Dolgellau over Dinas Mawddwy. As we reached the top of the mountain we drove out of the gloom and into bright sunshine. At last the weather forecast was coming true.
Again we avoided the town and took the scenic route along the estuary to Barmouth, and then up the coast on the A496. We stopped for a lovely lunch at the Victoria Inn at Llanbedr. It has plentiful private parking across the road and also has rooms. We had planned a visit to Shell Island but discovered it was closed for the off-season and as we didn’t fancy parking on the sand, we did a quick drive past the old airfield and then continued on our way to to Criccieth via Porthmadog on the A497.
In Criccieth, we stopped in at Bron Eifion, one of our favourite hotels. It’s a traditional Victorian house with a great atmosphere and an outstanding Gin Bar and restaurant. At this time of year it is also decorated for Christmas which makes it a magical place to be. Most importantly though it has an excellent car park and is truly welcoming to Petrolheads as it hosts regular visits from a number of car clubs. Do try it if you’re in the area.
The next day we headed back to Porthmadog and then into Snowdonia on the A497 past Lyn Trawsfynydd. We didn’t stop to look at the old Power Station as there appeared to be only roadside parking, instead we continued on the A4212. Again the sun was shining and the roads weren’t busy so it was time to have some fun. We remembered to slow down enough to take a left turn on the B4501 as a more direct road to the legendary Evo Triangle. We decided to start at Cerrigydrudion and continue on the B4501 until it joins the A543. We then turned left and continued down the hill on the gentler road and then left again on to the A5. We had been warned that the Police are very active in the area so we were careful to control our “enthusiasm” (apparently they also sometime use helicopters!). It is a very challenging piece of road and we now fully appreciated why it’s used by Eve Magazine.
On the A5 we headed east and then briefly on to the A494 and then on the A5104 on our way to our next target – the famous Horseshoe Pass much beloved by our friends with motorbikes. Again this road can be very busy so it’s best experienced either out of season, or early/late in the day.
So after a good couple of days driving, a little less petrol-money in our pocket and most of our spare time used up, we headed home.