From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|From:||King's Thorn (SO496323)|
|To:||Chepstow Interchange (ST534914)|
|Length:||30 miles (48.3 km)|
|Meets:||A49, B4348, B4521, A40, A4136, B4293, B4235, A48, M48|
|Route outline (key)|
The A466 runs from the A49 8 km south of Hereford to the M48 at Chepstow in Monmouthshire, following the Wye valley south of Monmouth and crossing the river into Gloucestershire for some 6 km along the way. The route passes a number of locations of historical interest.
The route starts on the A49 at King's Thorn, a few miles south of Hereford, then progresses down to Monmouth where it crosses the dual carriageway which is the combined might of the A40 (Ross, M50, Brecon) and the A449 (Newport, M4, Worcester). Owing to a one-way system in the town centre southbound traffic is forced northeastwards to join the A40 at a roundabout before retracing its steps along that road to rejoin the A466 at traffic lights just before crossing the River Wye for the first time.
The road then winds around the edge of the Forest of Dean and crosses and recrosses the River Wye. It passes through Tintern (where the ruined Abbey is) and then meets the A48 in Chepstow. A nice big new bit (with trunk status) of the A466 then continues down to the M48 (old M4) at J2 (right next to the Severn Bridge).
The A466 originally ran along Welsh Road in Chepstow to terminate on the High Street (originally the A437, then the A48 from 1935). By the 1940s, a spur had been created along St Lawrence Road. When the M4 Severn Bridge opened in 1966, this spur was extended down to meet the new motorway.
Importance (past and present)
The A466 is not an immensely important road, in fact with the A40 at the top, and the M4 at the bottom with the A449 connecting the two, the A466 is a best a local route. It is of course an important tourist route, judging by the coaches full of blue-rinsed trouser-suits you see careering around the bends.
- Tintern Abbey in Tintern is really an amazing sight. This is where the tourists are going.
- The ruined church on the hill overlooking Tintern.
- The parts of the road cut into rock with over hanging trees. Gorgeous.
- Tintern Station. Ancient disused railway that is now a footpath. The station buildings are all renovated.
- The "Diversion that became the actual road" outside of Tintern. See below.
Most interesting thing
A few miles south of Tintern, the road runs very close to the cliff edge, with the River Wye far down below. At one point in the 1970s, a bit of it fell over the side. A convenient lay by on the other side of the road was pressed into temporary service. A car's width of new road was built where the original road was, but was never finished, and then the usual piles of gravel appeared. Meanwhile, the Diversion signs stayed, but the layby was gradually disintegrating. Every time we went down there, the signs were older and more covered in green stuff, and the layby was more crumbly. Then one day, the signs were gone. When we got to the layby, we found it had been resurfaced and had now become the actual road. In 1991, I went there in my Mini Clubman Estate to look at it again. The little bit of "new road" that was built was where I parked. I wandered about and looked at the gravel, and over the side at the bits that had gone. We came to the conclusion (or heard) that the contractor had gone bust, but I am not sure if this is true. Anyone know?
The A466 originally ended at Chepstow, but as the M4 passed about a mile to the south, it was common sense to extend it down to meet it.
What choice! One side is the Forest of Dean, which is lovely. The other side you have Devauden and Trelleck and the hills. Then there's Tintern. Chepstow is nice as well. Monmouth has loads of history and then there's the original Severn Bridge to the extreme south linking to the M5 and West Wales.