Best drives

Gospel Pass, Wales: Wales’s highest road

Why go there?

This narrow lane snaking over the Black Mountains between Monmouthshire and Powys is the highest stretch of road in Wales and one of your best chances to enjoy snow in southern Britain throughout winter. Yet it’s only three hours from London.

Linking the towns of Abergavenny and Hay-on-Wye, this 18-mile lane snakes its way past historic Llanthony Abbey all the way up to the 1,801ft-high (549m) Gospel Pass – folklore has it that St Paul came this way taking the bible to Wales. The pass is flanked by the peaks of Waun Fach (811m) to the west and Hay Bluff (677m) to the east, which is also the English border.

What to do

Enjoy the stunning views north over the Wye Valley or south over the once-glacial Vale of Ewyas. Or take a toboggan – the terrain up here is perfect for a fence-free long run.

If the pass is closed due to heavy snow, park up in the sheltered Vale of Ewyas to the south and take winter walks crunching uphill through the snowy lanes and footpaths instead.

The route

Where to stay and eat

Llanthony Prioriy Hotel (01873 890487) – this unique quirky little hotel, built into 12th-century roofless ruins of Llanthony Priory , is surrounded by the towering Black Mountains and looks as pretty as a Christmas card in the snow. Enjoy hearty stews before climbing a spiral staircase to your room.

How to get there

From Abergavenny, turn off the A465 at Llanvihangel Crucorney and follow signs for the romantic ruins of Llanthony Priory. From Hay-on-Wye, head south following signs to the Gospel Pass. The road up to the Pass is steep and seldom-cleared: snow chains are a must in winter.