A40/Abergavenny - Brecon
|Meets:||A465, A4042, B4233, B4521, B4246, A4143, A4077, A479, B4560, B4558, A470, B4601|
|Old route now:||B4601|
North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent • South Wales Trunk Road Agent
Brecknockshire • Monmouthshire
|Route outline (key)|
From Abergavenny the A40 strikes north-west into the Brecon Beacons National Park. In spite of the hilly surroundings, the road itself remains reasonably flat, mostly following the valley of the River Usk. At a point some 2.5 km beyond Crickhowell, however – where the Rhiangoll (a small river in a large glacial valley) flows in from the north – the A479 branches off to the right, taking traffic up the east side of the side valley towards Talgarth (and eventually Builth), and we, too, desert the Usk, if only temporarily, to follow the opposite, western bank of the Rhiangoll for a while. After skirting the northern flank of Myarth (a 292 m eminence which separates the A40 from the Usk), we turn sharp right to begin a steep climb to reach the col between Cefn Moel (to the north-east) and Buckland Hill (to the south-west) at the village of Bwlch (the name, appropriately enough, means "gap"). From here, having turned westward again, we descend more gently to rejoin the Usk at Llansantffraed.
Our road continues on towards Brecon, a cathedral town in the heart of the National Park and home to a number of military establishments. On the final approach to the town, the A40 becomes a dual carriageway, meeting the main North Wales to South Wales artery (the A470) at a roundabout at the eastern edge of the built-up area. The A40 originally passed through the centre of Brecon but now, in tandem with the A470, it follows the dual-carriageway bypass which crosses the Usk to sweep round the south side of the town.
If the weather is kind, you will see that the road passes through the edge of the main part of the Brecon Beacons. More frequently, however, the cloud cover is such that whilst you get a feeling of being amongst mountains, their true majesty is hidden, and you have to allow your imagination to see what is there.