The A489 from Machynlleth in mid-Wales to Craven Arms in south Shropshire provides a cross-country link between Wales's three principal north-south routes: namely, the A487, the A470, and the A483.
The A489 still starts where it always did, on the A487 in Machynlleth, then runs for six miles east, adjacent to the River Dyfi and the railway line to Shrewsbury as far as Cemmaes Road, from where it loses 17 miles (still along the railway line) to the A470 as far as Caersws. This was as a result of an attempt to create a sense of unity between north and south Wales, when the A470 Cardiff to Brecon road was extended to the north Wales coast.
When we reach Caersws, we cross the River Severn and reach a T-junction where the A470 TOTSOs right and the A489 regains its number by turning left. The six miles from Caersws to Newtown are spent shadowing the south bank of the River Severn and the railway line which is still with us. The land here is very flat, though to the south, steep sloping hills rise to a height of around 1,000 feet, guarding Newtown. As we enter the town, we pass under the railway, then meet the A483 as it descends from the hills. There follows a short multiplex, before the A483 and A489 split again, the former continuing its trek to Wrexham and beyond, while the A489 goes over the railway line, leaving it behind, and begins to climb through the hills towards the village of Kerry.
Once again, we drop into a river valley (River Mule) and we cross the B4368. At Sarn the road passes into a very flat expanse - the valley of the Caebitra River, which we follow across the border into England, then across the line of Offa's Dyke. At Church Stoke we return to Wales and meet the southern end of the A490, before passing Simon's Castle (must visit that one day) on the way to Lydham. We're still in a flat bottomed river valley - the stream being totally out of proportion to the valley floor - until we return to England and approach a short multiplex with the A488 on the way into Lydham. The OS map indicates the presence of numerous Motte and Bailey Castles in this area - presumably to protect the border.
A left turn in Lydham takes us back onto the A489, heading south and east through relatively flat countryside where a patchwork of fields indicate that this is a big farming area. When we reach the Long Mynd, we weave our way through the hills following the line of least resistance alongside the the River Onny, and the fields give way to woodland. Soon we reach the end of our route at a T-junction with the A49 immediately south of the village of Wistanstow and a mile or so north of Craven Arms.
The section from Newtown to Craven Arms is a delightful drive through very attractive pastoral border country, with hills always in view.