The A466: A Splendid Winding Drive

 

Location:

The A466 is one of the roads that feature highly in my past and to my Welsh ancestry. It starts at the A49 a few miles south of Hereford then progresses down to Monmouth where it crosses the dual carriageway which is the combined might of the A40 (Ross, M50, Brecon) and the A449 (Newport, M4, Worcester). Then winds around the edge of the Forest of Dean and crosses and recrosses the River Wye. Passes through Tintern (where the ruined Abbey is) and then meets the A48 in Chepstow. A nice big new bit of the A466 then continues down to the M48 (old M4) at jcn 2 (right next to the Severn Bridge).

Importance (Past and Present):

Not an immensely important road, in fact the what with the A40 at the top, and the M4 at the bottom with the A449 connecting the two, the A466 is a best a local route. It is of course an important tourist route, judging by the coaches full of blue rinsed trouser suits you see careering around the bends.

Interesting Points:

a) Tintern Abbey in Tintern is really an amazing sight. This is where the tourists are going.

b) The ruined church on the hill over looking Tintern.

c) The parts of the road cut into rock with over hanging trees. Gorgeous.

d) Tintern Station. Ancient disused railway that is now a footpath. The station buildings are all renovated.

e) The "Diversion that became the actual road" outside of Tintern. See below.

Most interesting thing:

A few miles south of Tintern, the road runs very close to the cliff edge, with the River Wye far down below. At one point in the 70s, a bit of it fell over the side. A convenient lay by on the other side of the road was pressed into temporary service. A car's width of new road was built where the original road was, but was never finished, and then the usual piles of gravel appeared. Meanwhile, the Diversion signs stayed, but the layby was gradually disintegrating. Every time we went down there, the signs were older and more covered in green stuff, and the layby was more crumbly. Then one day, the signs were gone. When we got to the layby, we found it had been resurfaced and had now become the actual road. In 1991, I went there in my Mini Clubman Estate to look at it again. The little bit of "new road" that was built was where I parked. I wandered about and looked at the gravel, and over the side at the bits that had gone. We came to the conclusion (or heard) that the contractor had gone bust, but I am not sure if this is true. Anyone know?

Renumbering and other changes:

Not been renumbered or altered, apart from the new bit. A466 originally ended at Chepstow, but as the M4 passed about a mile to the south, it was common sense to extend it down to meet it.

Suggested Links and Destinations from the A466:

What choice! One side is the Forest of Dean, which is lovely. The other side you have Devauden and Trelleck and the hills. Then there's Tintern. Chepstow is nice as well. Monmouth has loads of history and then there's the original Severn Bridge to the extreme south linking to the M5 and West Wales.

Personally...

Our holidays tended to start in Tintern, where we would stay overnight opposite the Abbey in our little motorcaravan. This went on all through the 70s, up until I was about 11 or so. I loved the sound of the crows first thing in the morning when we woke up and would think "Today we go to the beach". Our destination was for many years Burry Port in South Wales. Our relatives mostly live in Newport, so we would go there sometimes just for weekends. Tintern has some great places to go walking, and we used to climb the hill to the ruined church on the hill. My great grandmother was born in cottage near the river's edge (now long knocked down sadly) and used to walk over the hill to Chepstow to school.

 

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