|Distance:||86.6 miles (139.4 km)|
|Meets:||A456, A4034, A459, B4173, B4174, A4036, A491, A461, B4186, B4537, A449, A454, A442, B4555, B4363, B4364, B4368, A4169, B4371, B4380, A5, A5064, A5112, A5191, A528, B4386, B4380, B4473, B4393, B4387, B4388, A483, A490, B4381, B4385, B4392, B4389, A495, B4395, A470|
|Former Number(s):||A456, A5, A491, A483|
|Old route now:||A470|
North & Mid Wales TRA
|Route outline (key)|
The A458 is a varied road, running from the suburbs of Birmingham into the Welsh Mountains and ending in the Snowdonia National Park.
Section 1: Quinton - Shrewsbury
The road begins at a roundabout on the A456 at Quinton, just to the east of the M5 motorway, though there is no motorway junction at this point. At this stage there is very little clue of the variance in scenery that follows. It runs west for a mile to another roundabout with an A road and an unclassified road. Obviously, it is the unclassified road which is dual carriageway, the A road is the A4034 heading towards Blackheath. Soon after, the A458 itself becomes dual carriageway as it leaves the built-up area for a short while until we cross the Dudley Canal and enter Halesowen. Soon after, there is another roundabout, this time with the A459, followed by a section which is more like a pair of one-way streets than dual carriageway as there are buildings in the central reservation.
This arrangement ends at a roundabout in Halesowen town centre, and we continue along a single-carriageway alignment through residential areas, until another pair of one-way roads takes us through Lye (westbound along the High Street, eastbound using the bypass) and across the A4036 on the way into Stourbridge. The town centre is made up of a one-way ring of A roads, all of which seems to be numbered A491. The A451 (which ends here) and the A458 (which does not) merges in. We emerge on the west side and continue across fields to Stourton where we cross the A449 and the River Stour.
Now we are out in the countryside, and as we progress in a westerly direction, we pass through the southern edge of a forest, before passing to the north of landscaped parkland near Enville. From here, the road is heading north-west, and we continue to pass through fields until we reach a roundabout with the A454 on the east side of Bridgnorth. We bypass the town to the south, crossing first the Severn and a B road before immediately passing under the Severn Valley railway and then another B road. We cross the B4364 at a roundabout, and just over half a mile later we meet the now-unclassified line of the old A458 as it emerges from the town.
We continue north westwards through farm land, passing Morville, and the B4368, before turning north towards Much Wenlock, thus avoiding some hillier ground to the west. The right turn at the crossroads here is the A4169, and the left is the B4378, but we go straight on, before descending down Harley Hill towards Harley. Then we head north to Cressage, which is back on the River Severn. In the village we turn left, remaining south of the river, running across very flat land, shadowing the line of a disused railway all the way to Shrewsbury. We cross the A5 bypass at Weeping Cross, where slip roads give access to and from the west, and a roundabout immediately after gives access to the east via the B4380. We continue into the town centre, meeting the A5064 at a roundabout, where we turn left, then crossing the A5112 at another roundabout. We pass under the railway via a one-way system, where there is a junction with the A5191, before crossing the Severn into the historic town centre.
We cross the Severn again in order to leave the town, passing the northern end of the A488. We cross the B4380 at a short stretch of dual carriageway, and eventually reach the A5 again at a roundabout where the A5 dual carriageway ends.
Section 2: Shrewsbury - Mallwyd
From here we head due west, now on a trunk road, past some parkland, then past the village of Ford. We go on through a flatish landscape until we reach Middletown where we cross the border into Wales, and steep hills rise to the north and south. (Middletown Hill and Moel-y-Golfa). We then emerge into a broad valley (River Severn (which has taken a longer route to the north), where we cross Offa's Dyke before meeting the A483 at a roundabout north of Welshpool.
The A483 bypasses Welshpool, so we turn right at the north of town towards the town centre. Again, at the crossroads, we turn right (a spur of the A458 continues ahead to the far end of the bypass), then left at the roundabout to resume our course on the A458. We follow the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway to the north of Powis Castle, following the valley of Sylfaen Brook - the hills on either side rising to around 1000 feet.
At Cyfronydd we arrive in the valley of the River Banwy. Still shadowing the light railway, we turn sharp left in Glascoed towards Llanfair Caereinion, where the railway terminates. We continue to follow the valley on the north side of the river, crossing to the south just beyond the terminus of the A495. We continue to thread our way through the hills, mostly within the Banwy Valley until we reach the watershed near the boundary of the Snowdonia National Park at Nant-y-dugoed. East of here, the rivers eventually drain into the sea at the Severn Estuary. West of here, the area drains into the Irish Sea.
The valley sides here are steeper than to the east, and the hillside south of the River Dugoed is heavily wooded. The arable land near the east end of the A458 has long since disappeared: now we are into hill-farming countryside, where the largest population group is sheep. Our journey ends in a surprising manner for such a rural area where the dominant form is a priority junction. Here, however, the road ends at a roundabout on the A470 in the Dyfi Valley, about 12 miles south east of Dolgellau.
The original eastern end of the A458 was on the A456 in the centre of Halesowen. When that road was moved onto the current bypass the A458 was extended to meet it.
At the west end, the A458 ended on the A5 (now A5064) on the eastern edge of Shrewsbury. In 1935 the road was extended west along the former A491 to Mallwyd (via a multiplex along the A483 into Welshpool), then the A4084 to end the road on the A487 at Cross Foxes near Dolgellau. Around the same time the A5 was moved onto the first Shrewsbury bypass (now B4380) and the A458 took over that road's original route through the town centre. This possibly explains why the A458 still runs through the town centre following the construction of the current A5 bypass.
When the A470 was extended in the 1970s, the A458 was cut back to Mallwyd, with the former taking over the latter's route to Cross Foxes.