Star.pngStar.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.png


From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (22)
From:  Shrewsbury (SJ488127)
To:  Penybont (SO115640)
Distance:  49.5 miles (79.7 km)
Meets:  A458, A5, A489, A4113, A44
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Powys • Shropshire

Traditional Counties

Montgomeryshire • Radnorshire • Shropshire

Route outline (key)
A488 Shrewsbury - Penybont
Historic signage


The A488 is a cross-country A-road straddling the border between England and Wales. Over a winding course of almost 50 miles, it connects Shrewsbury in Shropshire with Llandrindod Wells in Radnorshire (via the A44 and A483).

Shrewsbury - Penybont

Contemporary maps show the A488 as beginning - unusually - on the B4380, which was formerly the A5 bypass, in the Porthill district of the town. It runs south-west through Radbrook before crossing the modern A5 Shrewsbury southern bypass at the large, oval-shaped Hanwood Roundabout. Crossing over in the 4-zone, the road immediately assumes a rural character which it retains from here through the rest of its itinerary.

With Bishop's Castle (20 miles), Clun (26) and Knighton (33) all signposted from this point, the A488 passes through Hanwood before dancing with the Shrewsbury-to-Machynlleth railway line, which it crosses three times in little over a mile. It then follows the path of a disused railway via Pontesbury and Minsterley. South of here, the ground becomes more undulating upon entering the Hope Valley. Open fields give way to wooded sections and the route follows the path carved out by the river over many centuries. Soon we reach the England–Wales border, though for the moment remaining on the English side, except for a very brief excursion where the road crosses the river, shadowing it for a couple of miles to the south.

Approaching Lydham

Soon we reach the A489, which multiplexes with us for a few hundred yards to Lydham. After that road turns off, we bypass, as we always have done, Bishop's Castle - the biggest place since Shrewsbury. After that, we again follow the contours into a hillier area, finding the path of least resistance through the hills, via Clun (which has narrow roads and sharp corners) to Knighton. Here we cross the border into Wales (properly this time), then reach a T-junction where we TOTSO left to meet the A4113, where we TOTSO right. We then cross the line of Offa's Dyke before heading in a more westerly direction through very hilly ground, then dropping into the Lugg Valley. The B4356 forms the main valley road, and we soon cross the river, and head up a tributary valley to the west.

We continue through hilly countryside, emerging in the Aran Valley, where we meet the A44 primary route at Penybont, a few miles east of the A483 and Llandrindod Wells.

Adam writes:
It is interesting to note that Clun features on a route confirmation sign as the road leaves Shrewsbury - 30 miles away. At Pontesbury, the road splits so that southbound and northbound traffic use a separate narrow street through the village. Beyond Minsterley and smaller Ploxgreen there is a long winding climb through woodland via Hope, the road finally emerges near Gravel's bank with moorland scenery - gorse covered hills. Many miles later, you will find Clun to be a very attractive village with a ruined castle. The road contorts itself through Clun with a hairpin bend before crossing the historic stone bridge over the River Clun which, being only one car-width, has recesses for pedestrians. Then it is a final climb into the wooded hills for the concluding stretch to Knighton.


Originally, the road began on the opposite side of the Severn from Shrewsbury town centre, at the Frankwell gyratory on the A458. Some maps, however, show the start as having been on the Castle Foregate gyratory by the railway station, from which it ran along Smithfield Road to cross Welsh Bridge to reach Frankwell. From Frankwell, the A488 headed south-west out of the town along New Street and Porthill road to reach the B4380 (ex-A5), its present starting point.

Related Pictures
View gallery (22)
Hivron turning.jpgHalston.jpgNew Invention.jpg20120912 155551.jpgIMG 5139.JPG hanwood, shrewsbury, shropshire.jpg
Other nearby roads
A400 • A401 • A402 • A403 • A404 • A405 • A406 • A407 • A408 • A409 • A410 • A411 • A412 • A413 • A414 • A415 • A416 • A417 • A418 • A419
A420 • A421 • A422 • A423 • A424 • A425 • A426 • A427 • A428 • A429 • A430 • A431 • A432 • A433 • A434 • A435 • A436 • A437 • A438 • A439
A440 • A441 • A442 • A443 • A444 • A445 • A446 • A447 • A448 • A449 • A450 • A451 • A452 • A453 • A454 • A455 • A456 • A457 • A458 • A459
A460 • A461 • A462 • A463 • A464 • A465 • A466 • A467 • A468 • A469 • A470 • A471 • A472 • A473 • A474 • A475 • A476 • A477 • A478 • A479(W) • A479(E)
A480 • A481 • A482 • A483 • A484 • A485 • A486 • A487 • A488 • A489 • A490 • A491 • A492 • A493 • A494 • A495 • A496 • A497 • A498 • A499
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways: A403 • A404(M) • A405 • A407 • A423(M) • A430 • A437 • A446(M) • A455 • A464 • A475 • A491

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help