From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|To:||East Brent (ST348514)|
|Via:||Weston Super Mare|
|Length:||28.7 miles (46.2 km)|
|Meets:||A4, A38, A3029, A369, M5, A371, A3033, A38|
|Old route now:||B3440|
|Route outline (key)|
The A370 is noteworthy as a "long-way-around" route - to travel from one end to the other it would be much more direct to take the A38. In many cases such circuitous routes are caused by extension of a pre-existing number, but in this case it appears that the A370 had essentially the same route in the original numbering scheme of 1922.
Section 1: Bristol - Weston Super Mare
The start of the A370 is also noteworthy, because there are two parallel versions. Near Temple Meads station in Bristol is a junction known as "Bath Bridge Roundabout". This is a roundabout spanning the new cut of the River Avon, a waterway constructed to prevent tidal waters from entering Bristol's Floating Harbour. The two bridges of the roundabout connect the A4 with the start of the A370, and westbound traffic travels along York Road on the southern bank of the river as far as Bedminster Bridge Roundabout, which is a similar junction spanning the river on two bridges, connecting with the former A38. To prevent eastbound A370 traffic from having to cross the river four times, it is sent along Clarence Road, which runs parallel to York Road on the north bank - yet both York Road and Clarence Road are two-way! Confusing at first but logical once you think about it.
We continue along the south bank of the river along Coronation Road, taking us to Ashton Gate, home of Bristol City FC. At the next set of junctions the best advice is to keep one's nerve - it's less complicated than it looks! A370 traffic turns left at a trumpet junction to join traffic from the Cumberland Basin complex on an elevated dual carriageway. Despite the rather elaborate sign at the next junction, all that we need to do now is to stay on the main carriageway (losing primary status in the process), which takes us across the city boundary and onto the Long Ashton bypass.
Once there were plans for a motorway link to the M5 along this route, which may explain its rather over-engineered nature. It's three lanes wide, and once had a central "suicide lane", but now the first half is one lane outbound and two lanes inbound, followed by a short section of dual carriageway and then the reverse arrangement. Although it's almost entirely single carriageway, its two junctions with the B3128 and B3130 are grade-separated.
After this we come down to earth with a more conventional junction with the B3129 at Flax Bourton. We pass through Farleigh and Backwell West Town, where there is access to Nailsea & Backwell railway station - which is not particularly well placed to serve either town (although they did need to put the station near the railway). Passing through Brockley and Cleeve we arrive at Congresbury, where the road has been diverted slightly to leave a tiny section reclassified as a B road, apparently with its own number - B3169. The B3133 crosses here and we bridge the Congresbury Yeo river.
We come through Hewish to arrive at junction 21 of the M5, and pick up primary status again, arriving at a GSJ just off the motorway junction. The A370 used to continue from there through Worle on what is now the B3440 (a duplicated number from Devon!), but a new dual carriageway known as "Somerset Avenue" now keeps traffic out of the built-up area, with roundabouts providing access to local roads, the A371, and the absurd A3033 - a ridiculously short road whose only purpose is to connect the A370 to itself. The new section of road terminates at the sea front, where the A370 abruptly turns left and follows the front, losing primary status once more.
Section 2:Weston Super Mare - East Brent
This last section is what gives the A370 its "long-way-around" quality - it runs through the southern part of Weston-super-Mare and across the River Axe, terminating a few miles further south on the A38 at East Brent, not far from Burnham-on-Sea. It's essentially a different road - should it perhaps have had a different number?
We pick up the A370 where it turns sharp left on Weston-Super-Mare sea front. It has little choice but to do this as to go straight on would take it onto the Grand Pier, which wouldn't be of much use for getting to East Brent.
The first section of road is a short stretch of dual carriageway along the sea front. The central reservation is actually two large greens, separated by two curving links between the southbound and northbound carriageways. You may wonder why there are the remains of links between the two carriageways when the current dualled section is less than 400 yards, but they are simply a continuation of the links that extend all the way along the sea front to the old Hospital. Most of these links were closed up in the 1990s. After the 400 or so yards, the road becomes two-way along Beach Road which is set back from the coast a short way behind the Beach Gardens. However there is another road on the actual sea front - Marine Parade, which is about ¾ of a mile or so long, with traffic heading north only and the rest of the road being for parking. I believe that this road is still closed over night (by gates) to prevent boy racers using it. Up until the mid 1990s, when the gaps were closed, it was two-way too, without gates.
We have now said goodbye to dual carriageway for the rest of our journey. Continuing roughly parallel to the coast for another mile the road has houses, hotels and nursing homes on the left, and although it really feels like it should be 40mph it is still 30mph, so watch out for the Gatso. Now the road turns sharply inland to avoid Uphill village, but the A370 originally would have gone straight through.
Next we pass the A3033 again, proving the sea-front section of the long way around route from Bristol to East Brent is actually a long way around route to get through Weston too, and it becomes increasingly obvious this is a relatively new road. We go straight ahead at the Hospital roundabout, and any lingering doubt this isn't the original route is finally dispelled as we travel through a broad, curving cutting to take us up the hill.
It is rather intriguing that North Somerset Council seem to recognise this 'long way round' issue, and from either end through traffic is generally signposted down the unclassified Winterstoke Road/Broadway route through Oldmixon, to emerge at the hospital roundabout.
We arrive at a cross roads with the original road where we have priority. Our journey continues on a broad single carriageway road skirting the edge of Bleadon Hill, whereas the old route went through the steep and narrow village streets of Bleadon. Finally, shedding the speed limit we continue along the new road, which bypasses another couple of loops with houses on, before the old road rejoins us from the left.
This 'new' road was built in 1929-32 (the exact date can be gauged from the dates carved in the bridges) and passes between Eastertown and Lympsham, where it has gained some development, which is enough justification for Somerset County Council to have imposed a 50mph then a 40mph speed limit at East Brent and Gatsos.
Shortly we pass Edingworth Road on our left, and then Reach East Brent. Here the council have installed traffic lights at the B3140 junction, which for many years used to sit at red in all directions until traffic was waiting. They may still do. The road to the left is part of the original A38 route, which we now join for the last half mile or so to the roundabout, which is the end of our journey. This roundabout is an unusual shape that gives every impression of having originally been a fork, It was, the roundabout being installed since the war.
Turn left at the roundabout and follow the A38 into Bristol and you'll be back at Temple Meads station much quicker than it took you going via the A370.
Original Author(s): Guy Barry & Chris McKenna
Weston - East Brent
As alluded to above, this road was heavily upgraded around 1930. Originally, the main road south from Weston passed along Uphill Road South in Uphill, then straight across at the crossroads to pass down the steep Bleadon Hill. However, that section was upgraded in the Turnpike era, so in the 1920s when the A370 tag was allocated, we turned right at Bleadon Hill, using the two short links by the Railway Bridge to cross a level crossing. The bridge that now stands is in fact the second one built, having replaced the original in c. 2002.
After the bridge, a long 'parking' layby (it is very poorly surfaced) is the old alignment on the left, and then turn left at Huttons Garage to pass the front of Bleadon. After crossing the Axe, The Crescent, Hobbs Boat entrance and Boat Lane all show up the loops of the original road. At Lympsham Crossroads, the old road turned left through Eastertown. We then take the next left down Edingworth Road and Strowlands into East Brent, where we met the A38 on Old Bristol Road. This 'rat run' was closed up at the A38 end in 2005 to improve safety on the surrounding routes.
As you can see, over half of this section of the A370 was new-build in the 1930s.