|Distance:||22.5 miles (36.2 km)|
|Meets:||A487, A4971, A498, B4411, B4354, A499, B4415, B4545, B4412, B4417|
|Former Number(s):||A487, B4412, B4416|
|Old route now:||A487|
|Route outline (key)|
The A497 is a medium-length Class I road in northwest Wales.
Minffordd – Nefyn
Since the completion of the A487 Porthmadog bypass in 2011, the A497 has begun at Minffordd, at the roundabout whih marks the east end of the bypass. It passes over the causeway known as The Cob and the Britannia Bridge, which is basically one long level crossing, and then runs along the southern part of the town's High Street. We take a left at the roundabout, heading west (ish) out of town, leaving the built up area within a few hundred yards. Although the sea is fairly close to the south, we pass to the north of the steep-sided but not particularly high hill, Moel-y-Gest, passing a turning on the right for the A498 as we follow a railway line.
Soon the hill and forest give way to flat marshy land to the south of Pentrefelin. The railway and road find a different route over the next few miles but both end up in the seaside town of Criccieth, the gateway to the Lleyn Peninsula (Penrhyn Llŷn). (If Wales is shaped like an old lady sitting in a chair, where Anglesey is her head, then Lleyn represents her outstretched arm.) The A497 remains north of the railway, away from the coast, but if you take a short detour, you reach another of Wales's many castles.
We continue due west, around half a mile from the sea, past the fork in the road where the B4354 heads north-west, and on past the Haven (formerly Butlins) site a few miles before Pwllheli (which must be one of the most mispronounced Welsh names I have ever heard). Pwllheli has a huge harbour and marina which dominates the town. On the way in, we meet the A499 coming in from the north, and multiplex with it through the town centre (the A497 number is dominant). We leave the A499 at a roundabout west of the town, and we head north west whilst the A499 continues south-west.
The scenery round here is very different from Snowdonia, just a few miles to the east. Here the ground is relatively flat, and low-lying (a spot height of 17 m is recorded two miles north west of Pwllheli), with just a few undulations. The land is subdivided into fields, rather than the wild open spaces found in the mountains. As the land is so flat and low lying, it is hardly surprising that this section of the A497 is nearly straight - it is only the steep hill of Garn Boduan that causes the road to deviate at all before reaching a roundabout where the B4412 continues straight on towards Morfa Nefyn, and we turn right for the last mile to our terminus on the north coast of Lleyn, at Nefyn on the B4417, which if you take it north-east for six miles, brings you back to the A499. Like the A490, the A497 ends on a B-road, but here it is more understandable: we've reached the coast.
The A497 is described in the 1922 Road Lists as Penrhyndeudraeth - Portmadoc - Pwllheli, starting on the original line of the A487 (now A4085) and ending in Pwllheli town centre just west of the A499 junction.
In 1935 the road was extended west via a couple of former B-roads to Nefyn. Then in the 1960s the A487 was rerouted around - rather than over - the hills and thus took over the section of A497 east of Porthmadog. Most - but not all - of this was given its original number on completion of the A487 Porthmadog bypass in 2011.