The very best driving roads in Wales
From Snowdonia to Pembrokeshire, we hunt down Wales's very finest driving roads in a BAC Mono
Posted: 21 Mar 2014
Bridge to Beacons
Prospecting for oil
We're lost. We take the wrong B-road coming out of Chepstow, the 4293 instead of the 4235. I don't realise until the nav whisks us off down a road of such plunging darkness and narrowness that I fear we're going to be funnelled underground. As if you don't feel small enough already driving the Mono. The right road, when we do reach it, is a wonderful introduction to Wales, a swooping empty B that picks up views of fields and bubbles of trees, all looking freshly laundered under scudding skies. Usk-B4598-Abergavenny brings us to the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, which rise, lumpy and bald, ahead of us. We see-saw back and forth, north and south, heading gradually west, ricocheting from mining village to market town.
I'd never really noticed the starkness of this variation before. The stabs of the mining villages are a living memorial to the area's industrial past. Somewhat dilapidated, these southern ribbon settlements are as blasted as the hillsides above and contrast starkly with the rural pastoralism of the northern flanks. Here, sweeping green views and vistas lead down to comfortably huddled agricultural towns. Drive between Blaenavon and Crickhowell, or Merthyr Tydfil and Brecon, or Brynamman and Llangadog, all of which we do, and you'd swear you're criss-crossing the border between worlds that stand on either side of the Industrial Revolution.