|To:||Elan Village (SN932652)|
|Distance:||30.5 miles (49.1 km)|
|Meets:||A470, B4569, A470, A44, unclassified|
|Route outline (key)|
The B4518 is a long B-road in central Wales, shadowing the route of the A470 for the majority of its length and indeed following a shorter course than that road does. The B4518 was originally unclassified then came into existence south of Rhayader in the early 1930s. It was extended to its present route in 1935.
The road starts on the A470 in the centre of Llanbrynmair and heads south. Whilst still in the village a sign warns that the road will become unsuitable for coaches and HGVs, explaining why our road has Class II status and is not the A470. Open country is soon reached and we head south along the valley of the Afon Twymyn. We soon cross the river after which the valley becomes too narrow for us to fit in the bottom so we climb out, still heading south
In the village of Llan the road narrows. The central line briefly comes back as we reenter open country but it's not there for long. We continue to climb to the south with the river valley to our left. After a couple of miles we descend back into the valley at Pennant then cross the river and climb back out on the far side, now leaving the river behind. We contour to the south and cross a saddle, with the wooded Bryn yr Oerfa visible to the left. The road now descends into the valley of the River Clywedog, with the central line coming back as we level out.
We soon enter Staylittle. Originally the B4518 left the village to the east and then over the hills to the south. However, when the Clywedog Reservoir was constructed in the 1960s a new road was built along its northern bank and the B4518 rerouted along it. Our road still climbs steeply out of the valley, however, and the reservoir is invisible for most of the new road. After meeting the old road we descend steeply before running alongside the lake for a short distance.
The river now detours to the south whilst the road takes a straighter but steeper route, with the two meeting up again on the outskirts of Llanidloes. We enter town along Van Road and then reach a T-junction. The road to the left is the B4569 whilst our road TOTSOs right. After crossing the River Severn a roundabout is reached where the A492 was once met. That road was later renumbered A470 and then rerouted onto the bypass, with our road taking over its old route. As such there's a short spur to the left along Victoria Avenue, meeting the A470 at a roundabout, but the mainline of the B4518 turns right.
We head south along Long Bridge Street, the town's main street, with the road splitting to pass either side of the half-timbered Old Market Hall. After leaving the town centre we reach the other end of the former A470/B4518 multiplex, with a spur of our road continuing ahead along the pre-bypass A470 into open country to end at a T-junction on the present route of that road. However, the mainline of the B4518 TOTSOs left.
We climb along Bryn-Du Road, crossing a bridge over the bypass before entering open country. The road continues to climb steeply for some time before a summit is reached near a quarry and we descend into the valley of the Afon Dulas, a tributary of the Severn. The central line is lost on the descent. In Tylwch we cross the long-gone Mid-Wales Railway (the old station was to the right of the bridge and is just recognisable) and the narrow river before bearing left and climbing out of the valley; the central line returns almost immediately. After going over a hill we cross the Dulas again before continuing south via Nantgwyn into Pant-y-dwr, where the old railway line is crossed again. There used to be a sharp zigzag but when the line was closed the bridge was removed and now the road remains straight although the course of the railway is not obvious.
On the far side of the village the line is crossed once more; again the road was straightened when the bridge was removed. We then follow a relatively flat route into St Harmon, where we cross the Afon Marteg and the railway line, at what was a level crossing; again the line is not obvious. Road and old railway now diverge as we continue south and skirt the western edge of Moel Hywel before running along the top of a ridge to descend into Rhayader. We enter town along St Harmon Road and reach the A470 at a T-junction opposite the cattle market.
As the B4518 is no longer mentioned on signs it could be assumed that the road ends here but that is not the case. If we turn left we soon have to give way to the market place, with the clock tower on our left and the A44 beyond it. The B4518 turns right to regain its number by heading west along West Street. Church Street, the next turn to the right, is a spur of the B4518 and the signposted route to the northward A470. Meanwhile we cross the River Wye and then the old railway line a final time; this has been turned into a footpath to the left.
Our road continues along a straight route to the southwest, quickly meeting the valley of the River Elan, which it follows upstream, although the river is barely visible. We continue into Elan Village, built for workmen constructing the Elan Valley Reservoirs upstream. At a road junction the B4518 ends, with the other two roads unclassified. Turn left for the visitor centre and a winding road back to the A470; continue ahead to reach the reservoirs.