|Distance:||16.6 miles (26.7 km)|
|Meets:||A40, B4224, A4151, B4234, B4028, B4432, B4228, A466|
|Route outline (key)|
The A4136 runs across the north of the Forest of Dean. Originally classified as the B4223, it gained its current number around 1930.
The road starts at the Forest Gate traffic lights on the A40 at Huntley, a few miles to the west of Gloucester. The junction has a little slip road specifically dedicated to the considerable amount of traffic that makes the turn here. For most of its length the A4136 is very winding and we find this out from the beginning, as the road zigzags around Broomhill Wood and eventually starts heading westwards.
At first the road is subject to a 50 mph speed limit as it begins its climb into the high land of the Forest of Dean. This drops to 40 mph as the road narrows and makes the twisty ascent of Nottswood Hill. At the summit there is a brief section of dual carriageway that once had two lanes in each direction, but which is now reduced to one each way to allow for filter lanes to protect vehicles accessing the local roads that join at this point. The road then returns to the National Speed Limit as we make the descent (with an overtaking lane in the opposite direction) towards Longhope. The village is bypassed via a long straight section and the road becomes hilly again as we head on towards Mitcheldean.
On the approach to the town there's another brief section of dual carriageway, designed to aid access to a business park, on a sharp corner. A 30 mph limit begins at the end of the dualled section, and the road then skirts the southern edge of the town. At a mini-roundabout we meet the B4224, which heads north towards the A40 and eventually reaches Hereford.
After Mitcheldean, the road climbs Plump Hill, with good views over the valley to the left. Much of this section has a 40 mph limit, on account of its twistiness and the frequent presence of occupied dwellings and tiny side roads meeting the route at awkward junctions. However, the road soon the road becomes wooded and the National Speed Limit returns, lasting for about half a mile before the next village, Drybrook, is reached. Again the road only skirts the edge of the settlement. At traffic lights we meet a road, which was once the B4227, coming from the village. To the left is the A4151 to Cinderford, although that road is one-way; we have to drive to the next set of traffic lights to meet its other half, where the traffic from Cinderford joins us.
The A4136 now returns once more to the wood and stays there for some distance. Here the road is fairly straight. We pass to the south of Brierley and The Pludds – an unlikely sounding place-name – before meeting the B4234 at a staggered crossroads. This is the great survivor of the Forest of Dean's numerous B-roads. Turn left here, and you can follow it all the way to Lydney to the south of the Forest; turn right and you can follow it up the valley to Ross-on-Wye to the north. However, if we continue along the A4136, we climb Worrall Hill and the road becomes winding again.
At Edge End the speed limit drops to 40 mph and the B4028 bears off to the left and heads into Coleford. The right fork takes the A4136 onwards to Five Acres and Berry Hill. Here, at traffic lights, the former B4432 turns right for Symonds Yat. This section of road has some repeater signs which show 30 but a crossed out 40 underneath. I'm not sure why these are still there as it hasn't been 40 here since about 2002, around the same time they put the traffic lights on the crossroads up. Soon after, however, our speed does go up to 40 and we cross a few fields before arriving at a staggered crossroads where the B4228 once crossed the A4136 on its way from Coleford to Ross-on-Wye. This section of the latter road was diverted in the 1990s, and is now unclassified. We return to the trees and to the National Speed Limit for a while before meeting the diverted B4228 at an unexpected set of traffic lights. This road, which has come all the way from Tutshill near Chepstow, terminates here. It once joined at a very sharp angle from the left, but this has been reconfigured to make the junction perpendicular.
After winding through the woods once more, there is a long straight descending to the pleasant village of Staunton, after which we cross the border into Monmouthshire. The A4136 then takes an exceptionally circuitous route around The Kymin, with one of the sharpest bends called the Fiddler's Elbow. Bilingual warnings painted on the road surface warn you to take the corner slowly as the road descends into Monmouth. There's one final bend to the right, where the 30 mph limit begins. There is a mini-roundabout immediately inside the built-up area, and then another on the A466 just east of its bridge over the River Wye. This used to be a T junction with the A4136 ceding priority, despite occupying the straight line onto the bridge. Turn left, and you can follow the beautiful Wye Valley down to Tintern and Chepstow. Carry straight on and you will cross the Wye and meet the major strategic route of the A40 before heading into Monmouth.
Whichever way you choose to go, the A4136's trip through the Forest of Dean is over.