|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Cwmparc, Treorchy (SS957961)|
|To:||Llwynypia, Tonypandy (SS994936)|
|Via:||Ton Pentre, Gelli|
|Distance:||3.3 miles (5.3 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The B4223 is a Class II road on the right bank of the Rhondda Fawr valley below Treorchy and above Tonypandy. Most of the route was built as new (apparently opening with this number) at the end of the 1920s in conjunction with the section of the Glamorgan Inter-Valley Road Scheme between Abergwynfi / Nant-y-Moel and Hirwaun (A4107/A4061) - a project intended to relieve severe unemployment in the South Wales coalfield in the interwar period.
The "new" sections connect the A4061 by Cwmparc – at the foot of the road leading down from the summit at Bwlch y Clawdd – to the A4058 further down the valley, adjacent to Llwynypia railway station, with a mid section which zigzags through the pre-existing streets of the late 19th-century mining communities of Ton Pentre and Gelli.
The B4223 is signposted as such only very intermittently and is not easy to follow as a through route for those without local knowledge. At its western end (Pen-Twyn Road), where the southbound A4061 TOTSOs to the right to begin its climb to the Bwlch, the signposts read "Tonypandy B4223, Pontypridd (A4058)" – but there are no more directional indications after this. On entering Ton Pentre the 1920s new-build becomes Maindy Road, which ends at an unsigned T-junction on Church Road. Left will take you across the river to the A4058 by a short spur (under 200 m); to continue to Tonypandy via the "main line" of the B4223; however, you must go right.
Church Street becomes Gelli Road, and on reaching the terraced streets of Gelli itself the route divides and goes around a rectangle, two sides of which are one-way only. There is only one directional sign here (for westbound traffic, and sited after a critical turn!); eastbound drivers just have to know to turn right into Farm Road and then left again to pick up Alexandra Road / Bronllwyn Road – although staying on Gelli Road will (if you ignore a couple of inducements to turn left) eventually bring you back to the B4223 east of Gelli via an unclassified, and relatively recent, industrial estate road.
The classified route leaves Gelli at the point where Bronllwyn Road becomes Nant-y-Gwyddon Road, next to a motor servicing centre called, significantly, New Road Garage – this stretch to Llwynpia, clinging to the slope beneath Llwynypia Mountain to the south and west, still being remembered as "new". The terminus is at a light-controlled junction with the A4058 (former A4119). The layout of the junctions at both ends of the B4223 suggests that the route was probably originally conceived of as a bypass for the "old" road along the left bank of the river coming down from Treorchy, but the fact that it passes through narrow streets in the built-up areas of Ton Pentre and Gelli means that such use is discouraged today.