|Location Map ( geo)
|33.3 miles (53.6 km)
|A470, B4405, A487
|Route outline (key)
The road begins on the A470 just to the west of Dolgellau, midway between the start of the A494 and the A496. It crosses the Mawddach almost immediately on a bridge built to take A493 traffic out of the centre of Dolgellau (it originally started on the High Street). We head west, hugging the hillside marking the southern flank of the Mawddach estuary, for the same reason as the A496 hugs the northern flank: the estuary area itself is very low-lying and marshy.
Predictably, for roads in this group, we follow a disused railway, past the Penmaenpool Bridge leading across the estuary to the A496. Then we deviate from the railway, running inland and squeezing through gaps between steep wooded hillsides (again fairly typical of this group). We find the floodplain again at Arthog, where the estuary is a broad sandy area. To our right, we pick up the line of a live railway coming across the Barmouth Railway Bridge as we approach Fairbourne. For the next few miles the road, still hugging the hillside and not finding the easy course across flat open land, marks the boundary of the Snowdonia National park.
Soon, the road and railway both reach the coast as the coastal plain disappears and the hills come right up to the sea shore. For the next few miles the road affords good sea views, these sometimes being enhanced by the road beginning to climb the hills to give a more elevated position. Then we divert inland, over gentle hills, eventually descending into the Dysynni valley, which we follow back to the coast at Tywyn. Well, nearly - the railway line forces us to double back on ourselves a few hundred yards from the coast, and we return to hug the hills rather than the back of the dunes to the west.
Once again the hills push us towards the sea, and as we eventually reach the sand dunes, the road bears round to the left (east) and we arrive at Aberdovey, where we turn inland. We continue eastwards, once again sandwiched between hills and river estuary. Here, however, the gap between hill and sand is very narrow, and we have to share it with the railway we've followed since the Barmouth Railway Bridge. Eventually the sand gives way to land, and the railway crosses the low ground and over the Dovey to meet the line from Aberystwyth. We, however, continue to hug the hills on the northern side of the river, eventually finding a path amongst the hills as we reach the A487 just north of Machynlleth.
Original Author(s): Simon Davies
The route of the A493 has remained mostly the same since classification. It originally started in the centre of Dolgellau on what was the A487, and headed west, joining its current alignment about a mile out of town. The bypass section opened on 13 April 1981. In Tywyn, the road did not run down the High Street, but diverted via Pendre station.