To a road now that has been extended by a good seven miles since 1923, the A224. A road that although not primary, does provide a middling M25 diversion route. The extended section is as high as 158m.
This is the A224 in Badgers Mount.
The road starts at traffic controlled junction with the A211 in Foots Cray. The A211 is the old A20. This first section of the A224 is where the Coca Cola Schweppes UK factory is, where Cola Cola did a Delboy trick and used water from a tap. This first section is short as we soon hit the A20 roundabout. This is called Crittals Corner named after the near by Crittals Window factory. The roundabout was upgraded from a graded roundabout to the junction we have now. We also have the first of the retail stores, DFS and B&Q. We go under the A20 and we head towards Orpington. Before the railway (having already passed the original southern end of the A224), we pass the remainder of the retail stores like PC World, Currys, Homebase. Just about the usual retail stores then. This section is another early by-pass. The Orpington By-Pass was part of the inter-war arterial road building projects and this is the Cray Valley section of the road. After we go under the railway line to Swanley, we arrive at the A208 from Eltham, formerly the A223. Most of the junctions on this first suburban section of the road are traffic light controlled. We now on a side of an A group of roads. The A232 to Croydon, the starting section non-primary starts from another set of traffic lights. After this, the houses start to filter out and after before the turn off for the village of Chelsfield, we're in the countryside.
We're now over a 100m above sea level as we pass a Pick Your Own place called Hewitts Farm on the left. There were plans to build a large shopping centre here but thank God they didn't. This is green belt land. At the roundabout for the A21 and M25, we're 143m above sea level. This roundabout was built when the M25 was built in 1986, the A21 not coming until the next roundabout we met in Badgers Mount. This roundabout can also get the trains to Tonbridge. As we enter Badgers Mount, we go over the railway line to Sevenoaks. You can see the air vents for the Polhill railway tunnel on the right and after the next roundabout on the left. That roundabout used to end the A224. It move the end of the A224 to Sevenoaks so now we're in Kent, we continue.
We're now on the old A21 and this bit is wooded and we're going downhill. This section is called Polhill. It has a crawler lane which use to finish at the top of the hill but now extends only two thirds up the hill. This is just come of the leftover when this was A21. Just at the top of Polhill, on the right, is Fort Halstead, which originally was on of the Napoleonic forts built to protect London. It is now in the hands of an agency of the Ministry of Defence and is not friendly to casual visitors. We descend Pohill and see glimpses of the M25. Part of the reason that J5 of the M25 had lights and J2-4 didn't was because of the A21 now A224. We go downhill with brief glimpses of the M25.
We're now at the bottom of Polhill. After a junction for Otford, we arrive at a roundabout. In pre J4 of the M25 (Because the Chevening junction was built a good 8 years before the J4 sections was built) days this was where the old D2 Sevenoaks By-pass used to start. The Pilgrims Way turned off to the left for Otford, the one we just passed. The London Road (was A2028) which leads on to the A224 at Dunton Green forked left. From 1979 until 1986 theM25 use to start from here then TOTSOs left at the roundabout. Straight on is the B2211 for Chevening and Sundridge. In the mid '80s, the A21 was upgraded from D2 to D3M to become the M25 and the A2028 became A224. The junction for Otford is some of the leftovers from those days. At the roundabout, we TOTSO left. Turning right will take you to Knockholt and we cross the M25 on the old A2028 bridge. Now there is very little evidence of the old alignment and very few remains of the old junction.
We now leave the M25 behind. Off the M25 as we head into Sevenoaks. We meet up with the old A2028 before we go over an old hump bridge after the M26. This was for the Dunton Green to Westerham branch (Closed 1961). The bridge acts a pedestrian subway now. That is in Central Dunton Green. We arrive at Riverhead, we have a mini multiplex with the A25 and now enter central Sevenoaks. We pass Sevenoaks station and soon are in town centre. We meet the A225 from Dartford and our road ends. At this junction, there is an old signpost that pre dates the A224 here, A leftover from when the A21 went though Sevenoaks. This was where the A225 ended at Sevenoaks until the Sevenoaks By-Pass was completed in 1966. It was then extended to Tonbridge and was cut back around 1975/6. The cut section is now B245.
Original Author(s): A Beaton and A211 Driver
The A224 from the A21 to the A225 was formerly the A21. Part of this road was also numbered A2028.