Another one of those rural A-roads in west Wales with barely a hint of urbanisation, the A486 runs from Saron in Carmarthenshire to New Quay in Ceredigion.
The route starts on a particularly rural stretch of the rural part of the A484, just to the south of Saron, and immediately gets even more rural (you get the picture). We're talking a mix of grazing land, woodland, river valleys, very small villages (a handful of houses, a chapel and a pub). A mile or so up the road, we reach Pentre-cwrt, then we pick up the Teifi Valley, which we follow to the "great city" of Llandysul which from October 2009 has been bypassed as part of improvements to make the A486 part of a Carmarthen / A48 / A40 to A487 link. Here we leave the Teifi and climb on a short stretch of S2+1 towards Horeb where we cross the A475, another very rural road.
The road now runs across the top of some hills, with small steep-sided valleys away to the left and right – generally too far away to see into. The Horeb to Synod Inn section has seen many improvement works in the past few years. Barely a village goes by without a proud Welsh Government / Ceredigion County Council sign proclaiming an improved section of road. The width and road surface pay testament to these improvements and it is easily possible to hold a good average speed.
At Ffostrasol, our road bears right as we meet the B4571 from Newcastle Emlyn. At Capel Cynon, the road becomes steeper, as we climb to a summit of 297 m (974 feet). During this ascent another welcome section of S2+1 appears for a short time. We then drop down gradually, to meet the A487 and B4338 at Synod Inn, around six miles south-west of Aberaeron. Originally the road ended here but after World War II it was extended along what had been the B4338. The final leg of the A486 therefore takes us through Cross Inn to New Quay, where the road runs along the one-way (in the other direction) Church Street and ends on the seashore by the harbour. Once a boat-building town, today New Quay is principally dependent upon tourism.