Road Tripping the A49

I’m sure there are more glamorous roads to take a road trip along and there are definitely more famous ones, but I’m also sure I’m not going to be the first person to trip the A49.


Where? What?

In the UK roads are labelled with the letters M, A and B with a number following the letter. Unless they’re really tiny in which case they may have a name, but they don’t have a label. 

M = Motorway – these are our highways or autobahns. Only vehicles of a certain size are allowed to use them (no mopeds for example and definitely no pedestrians).
A = Main roads – these were the big roads before the motorways and can often connect many towns over a long distance. They can be busy dual carriageways or narrower, slower roads.
B = Minor roads – these are the often narrow roads that wind from village to village or around suburbia.

The A49 starts in the north at Bamber Bridge and travels down the west of England and along the Welsh border ending at Ross-on-Wye. Along the way it passes many towns such as Wigan, Warrington, Hereford, Shrewsbury and Leominster. More interestingly it also passes a lot of castles.

I’ve driven along the A49 several times before and always been intrigued by the number of brown signs I’ve passed. Brown road signs point the way to places of interest. Like castles.

Although I’ve always been intrigued, I’ve never had time to stop. I promised myself each time that one day I would do a road trip and see for myself exactly what the A49 has to offer.

Well, that day is finally here.

I have to be in Cardiff over Easter weekend for a conference and so have decided to make the most of my time off work by taking a week to get there and travelling slowly along the A49 and then seeing a bit of South Wales before arriving in Cardiff on Good Friday.

I don’t have any pictures of A49 yet, so here’s a photo of my van.

I’m not going to traverse all 140 miles (230km) as I’ll be starting slightly further south, but I plan to spend some time in Cheshire and Shropshire as well as having in a day in Hay-on-Wye before heading down to South Wales.

I might go to Ludlow to check out the food scene (it’s famous for it). And whilst I’m there I’ll check out the castle.

Then there’s also Stokesy Castle, Hopton Castle, Cholmondeley Castle, Beeston Castle, Acton Burnell Castle, Bridgnorth Castle, Clun Castle and Witley Court.

They’re all easily accessible from the A49. I won’t get time to go to all of them and if I did I’d end up not appreciating them as they’d all blur into one in my mind. But I’m going to pick a few.

And another picture of my van.

I may also pop into Hereford to have a look at the Mappa Mundi. It’s the largest medieval map known to exist and is housed in Hereford Cathedral. I’ve seen it before, but it was a long time ago. I’m definitely due another peek. Hereford did have a castle, but it was demolished in 1660. The defensive ditch was used for sewage for a while, but that too has now gone.

I’m taking my van and will be sleeping in it along the way. Over the past week I’ve been making curtains. (Or rather my mum has. Thanks Mum!) Yep, I’ve had my van for about five years, had it converted for about four years and slept in it a lot, but I’m only just getting curtains.

That’s real Harris Tweed on the seats you know. All the way from Harris.

I’m getting excited about my trip, but can’t leave till Sunday. This is because first I have something else exciting to do. But that’s a whole other post.

Have you road tripped along a less well-known route before? Share in the comments below.


Author: Anne

Join me in my journey to live a life less boring, one challenge at a time. Author of the forthcoming book 'Walking the Kungsleden: One Woman's Solo Wander Through the Swedish Arctic'.

4 thoughts on “Road Tripping the A49”

  1. I just love driving through lesser known/popular roads. I much prefer them to the motorway because they have a lot to see. This is right up my alley. Esp the van! I want one!
    Maria V recently posted…Empty shopsMy Profile

    1. I love my van too! It makes travelling really cheap and easy when I can park anywhere and don’t have to worry about accommodation. I’ve been all over the UK in it (including Orkney!)

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