|Location Map ( geo)
|Fforestfach, Swansea (SS620972)
|57 miles (91.7 km)
|A483, B4620, B3296, A4240, B4297, B4304, A4138, A4214, A476, B4309, B4311, B4317, B4308, B4309, A40, A48, B4300, A4242, A4243, B4301, B4333, A486, B4335, B4334, A475, B4332, B4570, A487
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A484 is quite a lengthy A-road running from Swansea to Cardigan, via Llanelli and Carmarthen. It therefore traverses Wales, by crossing from the industrialised settlements on the Bristol Channel to the more serene coast along the Irish Sea. Despite the length of the road, and the relative importance of some of the settlements along its route, the A484 is of non-primary status throughout.
Section 1: Fforestfach - Carmarthen
The present route begins at a roundabout with the A483 near Fforestfach. It heads out westwards as a straight, modern S2 towards Kingsbridge, passing across flat and uninteresting countryside towards the floodplain and salt marsh adjacent to the Loughor Estuary. On the way, it crosses over the B4620 (formerly the A4070) and the B4296, passing between Kingsbridge and Gowerton to converge with the South Wales main line railway. A significant right-hand bend leading onto a small roundabout with the A4240 heralds our arrival at the 'new' Loughor Bridge (constructed in 1988). Here we come within a stone's throw of the original A484 route; if you look to your right (north) when crossing the bridge, you can see the remnant of the original Loughor Bridge, which was demolished because it was too weak to carry modern traffic. Nowadays the road strikes out across the River Loughor in parallel with the railway, which can be seen your left (south).
Upon crossing the river, we leave the City and County of Swansea behind and enter Carmarthenshire. A right turn at the next roundabout would take you through Bynea and other suburbs of Llanelli on the old A484 route (now B4297), but the modern road passes to the south of the residential area alongside the old Trostre Steel Works and Trostre Retail Park. A little further on, we encounter another roundabout, this time with the primary A4138, which provides a link to M4 junction 48. Suddenly we are among concrete retaining walls, from which the road emerges through the backs of rows of terraced houses into Llanelli town centre, where we meet the original route of the A484 for the first time. It is fair to say that the town centre has changed beyond all recognition over the last 30 years. Many of the terraces have been cleared. The enclosed footbridge that linked two parts of the Co-op department store has gone, and instead there is a large Asda and shopping centre. The A484 used to meander round a one-way system here; it now passes to the north of the town centre instead, with the A4214 looping around it to the south. Upon leaving the town centre, the B4309 heads north towards Carmarthen, a road we shall meet again at its other end.
The A484 then passes close to the Loughor Estuary, through Pwll, towards Burry Port. Still running in close proximity to the railway line, this is where the route begins heading north rather than west for the first time. At Pembrey, we pass the entrance to Pembrey Country Park, a large expanse of coastal woodland with a huge beach (Cefn Sidan Sands) beyond. This tranquil park hides a secret: this whole area was once closed to the public. The remaining concrete bunkers give away that this site was once a Royal Ordnance Factory, making munitions throughout the Second World War and into the 1950s. Also in the area is the Welsh Motor Sports Centre; this was once Pembrey Airfield, another wartime military base. The A484 then passes to the east of the Kidwelly via a bypass, but it did once head right through the historic town centre, complete with its Norman Castle. The feel of the route is now very rural, and it remains so as it heads north past the village of Llandyfaelog. Shortly before reaching the next village, Cwmffrwd, the B4309 heads back south, in a more direct route to Llanelli. From here, it is only a short distance until we meet the A40 and A48 dual-carriageways at the edge of Carmarthen.
Section 2: Carmarthen - Cardigan
Once a notorious bottleneck, Carmarthen is now bypassed by the A48 and the A40. The A484 used to disappear here underneath a multiplex with the A40, but these days (following only a short multiplex along the bypass), it now runs right through the centre of the town. It would be quicker to follow the route by continuing along the bypass to the A485 and doubling back, but to follow the A484 precisely you need to cross over Carmarthen Bridge and bear right up Castle Hill. The route runs along Spilman Street and curves it way around St Peter's Church, before heading out of town along Priory Street, a thoroughfare lines with several religious buildings. At a roundabout near the hospital, the B4243 - a very short road - provides a link to the A485, which itself connects to the A40 before heading north to Lampeter and onwards towards Aberystwyth.
The A484 follows the course of the Afon Gwili and - being no stranger to running in close company with railways - the Gwili line. In years gone by, you could travel along this stretch of the A484 on a Sunday and not see another vehicle for miles. The route passes through Bronwydd Arms (the southern terminus of the Gwili Valley Steam Railway) and Llwyfan Cerrig, twisting and turning through wooded areas with both the river and the railway. We are well into rural West Wales now, where farming is still the dominant industry. We pass through the small village of Cynwyl Elfed, where an old Welsh chapel typical of these parts can be seen in front of you as you approach the village from the south.
The B4333 departs from the left, offering a 'short cut' to Newcastle Emlyn over the mountain through Hermon, but this shorter route offers little advantage over the A484 in time. Sticking with the A484, we encounter the A486 in the open countryside between Rhos and Saron, and this road leads off towards Llandysul and the A487 coast road. After Saron, our route descends into the Teifi Valley. After passing through the hamlet of Llangeler, the road turns westwards, before passing to the south of Henllan. Here the B4334 runs north through the village, bound for Llangrannog on the coast; Henllan is also where the Afon Teifi passes over some rapids, which are worth a stop if you have time. The road continues west to Newcastle Emlyn, a small market town on the banks of the Teifi.
Newcastle Emlyn is where the A484 meets the A475, which arrives from Lampeter to the east. The A484 skirts around the southern reaches of the town before pressing on to Cenarth. This village lies some four miles west of Newcastle Emlyn, and there are a number of campsites and holiday villages here, together with an odd souvenir shop, but the highlight is the narrow bridge that takes the A484 across to the north bank of the Teifi next to Cenarth Falls. It is said that salmon can be seen leaping up river at the right time of year, and the local river transport is the coracle – first used in Roman times, but these days employed more for the benefit of visitors.
We continue west past the village of Llechryd, where another narrow bridge - this time complete with pedestrian refuges - crosses the Teifi. Our road stays on the north bank of the river for the final few miles of its itinerary. Shortly before arriving at Cardigan, the B4570 departs from the right, heading back towards Newcastle Emlyn. Our road survives for a few more yards, passing the Parc Teifi business park to the right, before ending at a roundabout adjacent to the Cardigan bypass's Priory Bridge, on the mighty A487.
In the 1922 Road Lists the number was allocated to the section of the present A484 between Bronydd Arms (just north of Carmarthen) and Cardigan. In 1935, the road was extended towards Swansea via LLanelli, along what was previously the western end of the A48.
The Swansea extension used to start by heading west towards Llanelli via Loughor Bridge from the roundabout where the old A483 met the A48 on its way out of Swansea (where the original A475 crossed over the A48). Then, over a period of around 15 years during the 1980s and 1990s, the Swansea to Llanelli Road was bypassed. The final "missing link" section of the Llanelli - Swansea Link Road from Trostre Roundabout to Berwick Roundabout (Morfa Berwig) was opened on 11 June 1993 by Paul Downing of Heol Goffa School. Cost £13 million. The original alignment of the A484 is now the A4240.
In Camrarthen, the A484 used to disappear under a multiplex with the A40 through the town, as far as the roundabout near Glangwili Hospital. Upon construction of the new bypass, which passes to the south of the town between Abergwili and Pensarn, the A484 number was allocated to most of the original alignment of the A40 through the town's centre, up Castle Hill and past St Peter's Church.