B4560, South Wales, UK
This Great Road, originally written by Ali Cusick, was featured in issue 88 of Total 911.
When on photo shoots, we look for a good location to take a car. Sometimes we hit lucky and an owner lines up something that is perfect. In the crammed south east, however, it’s not always an easy task.
We need space; somewhere with an area to artfully pose vehicles, and ideally a good bit of road nearby to use for action shots. Why are we rambling? Well, one place that gets used frequently for precisely this task is the B4560 in South Wales.
It is fair to say that if you’ve read a car magazine in the last ten years or seen the Top Gear Cool Wall then you’ll have seen a photograph taken either on the B4560, or in the gravel car park alongside it.
All the decent motoring titles will have been here, as have many manufacturers for press kit images, which end up on the Cool Wall. We’ve used it a few times; the 964 RS Touring v Sport shoot was probably the last time we visited.
In this instance, the car park isn’t really the focus of our attention – we’re interested in the road alongside it. Easily reachable from the M50 or M4, a quick trip west of Abergavenny to the Heads of the Valleys throws you right onto it. Personally, we prefer to drive it north to south, so take the B4558 north-west to Llangynidr from Abergavenny instead, and come at it that way.
The first section after Llangynidr leaves narrow hedges quickly behind, and the road rises upwards at a fair old rate. A mile or two in you’ll meet the first interesting feature, the famous hairpin.
LATITUDE: 51.869 -3.2309 LENGTH OF DRIVE: 6.5 miles POINTS OF INTEREST: FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION: The Kings Arms, Abergavenny
Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye
Brecon Jazz Festival
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The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny
LATITUDE: 51.869 -3.2309
LENGTH OF DRIVE: 6.5 miles
POINTS OF INTEREST:
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION:
The Kings Arms, Abergavenny
Site of many an oversteer shot, you’ll probably see stripes of burnt rubber around the apex. It’s the reason we like this approach – the rising altitude makes the hairpin more fun. It’s not exactly the Stelvio Pass, but makes for a good time nonetheless.
We carry on with a long push up the side of the hill, then a few bends punctuate progress as the terrain briefly levels out. It is here you’ll pass the well-used car park on the right-hand side. Definitely pull in and grab a snap of your own car here.
Past the lay-by, there’s a lovely section of bends, culminating in a sweep left around a valley, before the road climbs up again in the distance. From here, the road is perhaps faster, with bends of a more open fashion as it takes a slow descent across open country to Beaufort.
Sight lines are good, but still take care, for the surface isn’t always kind, and definitely has the potential to punish recklessness.
It isn’t going to take all day, but the workout through the bends – in great scenery – is why it’s popular. You’ll not be at daft speeds, but still get chance to enjoy your 911’s characteristics, which is a good thing.
We’d definitely endorse a visit in your own car to enjoy your own journey up and down the mountain. We definitely recommend visiting the car park and grab your own photograph. Be warned, though, that every single time we’ve visited, the experience has been tough.
It’s rural Wales, on the side of a huge hill, and very, very exposed. If it’s anything other than summer, then we guarantee that you’ll never forget just how damn cold it was in that car park!