|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||153.6 miles (247.2 km)|
|Meets:||M4, A48, B4290, A4067, A4217, B4603, B4489, A4118, A4216, B4620, A484, B4297, A474, B4556, A476, A40, B4344, B4358, B4519, A470, A481, A4081, A44, B4356, A489, B4568, B4389, B4386, B4385, B4390, A458, A490, B4381, B4392, B4393, B4398, A495, B4396, B5069, A5, B4579, A539, B5426, A5152, B5605, A525, A541, A5156, B5445, B5102, A55, A5104, A5268|
|Former Number(s):||B4290, A475, A4138, A474, A481, A540, A55|
|Old route now:||A40, A5|
North & Mid Wales TRA • South Wales TRA
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Earlswood - Swansea West Services
The A483 begins life at a junction with the A48 and the M4 (part of J42) at Earlswood in Glamorgan, 7 km east of the Tawe crossing at Swansea. Although known as the Earlswood roundabout, this is now really more of a signalized T-junction, and most of the traffic which once made this a notorious bottleneck disappeared when the M4's "missing link" opened overhead.
From Earlswood, the A483 starts its trek towards North Wales and Chester by striking out as a dual carriageway heading in completely the opposite direction – namely, south. On our left, about 30 m up in the air is the off-slip from the M4, which gradually descends over about 500 m, merging with the A483 as the road bends to the right. Now heading west, we pass the Jersey Marine junction, a signalized roundabout (with a two-lane bypass, however, for Swansea-bound traffic) which provides access to the Amazon distribution centre. Passing the old Ford Engine plant the A483 continues into formerly industrial Swansea. As main gateways to cities go, this one remains somewhat bleak, though it is a million times better than it was 30 years ago and the area is gradually moving "upmarket".
After passing Swansea University's new Science and Innovation Campus on a 26-hectare site on our left, and what remains of Swansea Docks – parts of which are now being redeveloped as an expensive riverfront area known as SA1 – we reach the River Tawe, from which Swansea gets its Welsh name of Abertawe ("mouth of the Tawe"). We cross a dual-carriageway bridge immediately south of another main-road bridge, the pair forming part of a gyratory system, the southern side of which is, however, two-way.
The A483 heads north from here, avoiding the city centre, and after passing beneath the railway tracks leading to Swansea railway station, heads uphill to the complex junction known locally as the Dyfatty lights. A left and then right dogleg through here sees us onto the Carmarthen Road, heading towards Cwmbwrla. Greatly improved over the last 25 years, the A483 climbs steadily past retail parks to Fforestfach Cross, before descending past a large Tesco and the former Walkers Crisp factory to a roundabout junction with the start of the A484. Hundreds of old terraced houses were demolished to improve this road.
From the A484 roundabout, we climb along a mile and a half of dual carriageway built in 1977 to serve the then new M4 motorway (junction 47) and the A48. The A483 used to multiplex with the A48 as far as Pontarddulais, then turned along the present B4297 through Llanedy. 12 miles through the city, and we're back on the M4. Still, at least we're beginning to head north!
Section 2: Swansea West Services - Builth Wells
We multiplex with the M4 from junction 47 to its terminus at junction 49. At the roundabout, we head north along a new single carriageway road, again built as part of the M4 scheme in 1977, until we pick up the old alignment at the north end of the B4297, and continue north to Ammanford, through Llandybie and the Golden Grove, eventually reaching Llandeilo.
We now multiplex with the A40 as far as Llandovery, passing the end of the A482 at Llanwrda. Further north we pass the Sugar Loaf - a mountain so-called because it looks like a Sugar Loaf. (Yes, really!). It's even got its own station which is passed shortly. We then reach Llanwrtyd Wells, and beyond that, Builth Wells, home of the Royal Welsh showground, a Mecca for the farming community in Wales every July.
Section 3: Builth Wells - Chester
The road north from Builth is more of a mystery to me. I have been along there once, but it was over 20 years ago and my recollection of detail is non-existent. Nevertheless until such time that someone with recent knowledge is able to put something together, this outline will have to suffice.
After a short one-way loop we multiplex with the A470 across the River Wye before the two roads split by the Showground. After leaving the A481 we progress northwards on a single-carriageway road. We've been following the route of the Heart of Wales railway line - reputedly very scenic, but not particularly quick - on and off now since Swansea but after a few miles we now run alongside the line through Llandrindod Wells. At Crossgates we leave the railway, then cross the A44 at a roundabout and continue northward for 23 miles along a winding road. We climb along the valley of the River Ithon into the hills before descending more quickly into Newtown, on the River Severn.
The A483 gives way to the A489 at the start of the short multiplex (where we have priority), but has the straight-ahead route at the roundabout a few hundred yards later, where the two roads diverge. We now head north east, shadowing the Machynlleth to Shrewsbury railway line through the Severn Valley as we head downriver to Welshpool. The A483 bypasses Welshpool town centre on a 1990s-built WS2 via roundabouts with the A490 and B4381. When approaching the B4381 junction look carefully and you'll spot the original railway station building with the A483 passing in front. This is because the only way to fit a bypass in was to move the main Aberystwyth-Shrewsbury railway line to the east and use the trackbed as land for the new road. The A483 then continues with a restricted junction with the A458 towards a roundabout where the A458 heads off towards Shrewsbury. The original route through the town ran along the A458 to a signalised crossroads in the centre of town and the queues to get through here in the summer rush were legendary.
We leave the Severn Valley, preferring instead to follow the line of the now-disused Montgomery Canal as we progress northward. At Llanymynech we cross the England - Wales border (which actually runs along the street through the village), before passing through the unfortunately-named Pant (I never could get the hang of these English place names).
Soon after, we bypass Oswestry to the east (the B5069 takes the old route through the town), picking up a multiplex with the A5 at the roundabout half way along the bypass. At Chirk we re-enter Wales and regain our number when the A5 turns off at the next roundabout. Then, after passing Ruabon, the road becomes dual-carriageway - for the first time since Swansea. Indeed, here we go one step better: the Wrexham bypass junctions are all grade-separated! From here, we shadow the River Alyn and then a railway line, back across the border to England.
We pass over some very flat landscape - a world apart from the hills of mid Wales - then reach the first at-grade roundabout for some distance on the B5445 (pre-bypass A483) just before another roundabout over the A55. It's single carriageway from here into the middle of Chester, where the road crosses the Grosvenor Bridge and ends on the A5268 Chester inner ring.
The road was extended in both directions in 1935. To the north a multiplex with the A5 through Chirk led to the A483 taking over the southern half of the A540, as far as the original route of the A55 to the south of Chester city centre. In more recent years virtually the whole of this section has been bypassed and upgraded. (The A483 having taken over a short section of the former A55, it now reaches the centre of Chester.)
In the other direction, the A483 took over the A481 from Builth to Llandovery, then the A482 to Llanwrda, the A4080 to Ashfield, the A40 to Llandeilo, the A474 to Ammanford and the A4138 to Pontarddulais. A multiplex along the A48 led to the final section of the extended A483, which took over the A475 into Swansea.
After World War II the A40 took over the section of A483 between Llandovery and Llandeilo; the first half rerouted that road whereas the second half received back the number it had lost in 1935.
Following construction of the A48 Briton Ferry Bridge in the 1950s, traffic heading east from Swansea no longer had to detour via Neath. The A483 was therefore extended along what was the B4290 to meet the new road, thus giving the road its current length.