The Best Roads to Drive in Wales, Part One

OK, we admit we’re biased. But honestly, for anyone who loves driving and/or road trips, Wales is an amazing country. Incredible vistas, beautiful National Parks, satisfyingly twisty A and B roads. And, if you pick the time and place right, hardly any traffic.

With the sun starting to put in brief guest appearances, now’s the time to wash the winter grime off the car, pump up the tyres and start enjoying our glorious country. And being generous souls, we thought we’d give you our take on some of the best Welsh roads to explore.

Of course, best means different things to different folks. We’ll keep it simple and focus on:

  • routes that are fun to drive  OR
  • routes that take in great scenery OR
  • both

With that in mind, off we go.

The Denbigh Moors circuit

Where do motoring journalists go when they want to test the latest high-powered dream-mobile? For those in the UK, one of the favourite options is a terrific little circuit on and around the Denbigh Moors. Taking in the A5, A543 and B4501, this roughly triangular route is a fantastic choice for putting a car through its paces. It’s a lovely 20-miler that tests your driving chops with a combination of straights, climbs, sweeping curves and wiggly bends. Visibility is generally good, and the backdrop is varied and beautiful. The remoteness means traffic is often minimal. A word of warning though: as in many parts of Wales, aimlessly wandering sheep can be a hazard. Be nice to them. They can’t help being thick.

Black Mountain Pass

If you think the Black Mountain Pass, aka the A4069, sounds like something out of The Lord of the Rings, wait until you see it. The sweeping views of one of the UK’s most popular national parks could be straight out of Middle Earth (and actually, the LOTR connection may be more than just coincidence). But in a land of gobsmacking scenery, we’ve actually included this road for its driving pleasure.

Loved by petrolheads and bikers, the road has some wonderful and challenging hairpins, notably the Tro Gwew (cuckoo’s turn). The route has gained in popularity after the Clarkson-era Top Gear made use of it, but it’s still far from busy.

Start at the northern end for driving pleasure, then turn round and do the opposite for the views — especially across the Tywi Valley.

The Abergwesyn Mountain Road

One thing Wales excels at is wild landscapes, and there’s no better example than the one traversed by the Abergwesyn Mountain Road. Running from Llanwrtyd Wells to Tregaron, this lonely route passes through pine forests and bleakly romantic moorlands. Be warned, you’ll need your wits about you as you’ll be negotiating mostly single-track road with steep gradients (up to 1 in 4), and a successions of hairpin bends alarmingly referred to as the Devil’s Staircase.

This is by no means a quick road, but that’s not the point of driving it. Do it for the sheer pleasure of being part of an exceptional landscape. The dam and reservoir at Llyn Brianne are  imposing and and a beautiful nature reserve at Gwenffrwd-Dinas just beyond.

We’ll be back later this month with three more great driving routes. And remember that if your car needs an MOT, service or a repair before you set out, we’re here to help — we offer a main dealer level of service at independent garage prices. We’re specialists in Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT, but we tackle all the other marques too. Why not contact us today?