From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|From:||Iffley, Oxford (SP529028)|
|To:||Caversham, Reading (SU711747)|
|Length:||22.3 miles (35.9 km)|
|Meets:||A423, A4142, B4015, A415, A329, B4009, A4130, B4009, B471, B4526, A4155|
|Route outline (key)|
The A4074 begins at a set of traffic lights with the A4155 just north of Caversham Bridge. It passes through stereotypical suburbia, climbing uphill away from the Thames Valley. It then enters thick woodland for several miles before emerging the other side onto more exposed ground and meeting up with the A4130 and A329 at Wallingford, which it bypasses. It meets back up with the Thames at Benson, and carries on through Shillingford and Dorchester, where the river runs away to the west. The A4074, meanwhile, carries on in a relatively straight northwest path towards the suburbs of Oxford, before meeting the river yet again at Sandford-on-Thames. Just before this, however, there's a dual carriageway bypass for the village, which lasts for the rest of the road, terminating on the Oxford Ring Road at Iffley.
The section from Caversham to Benson was originally the B479, which terminated on what was then the A415. This latter road was renumbered as an extension of the A423 following the 1935 Road numbering revision. When the A423 through RAF Benson was removed during expansion of the airfield in the Second World War, the A423 multiplexed with the A4130 and B479 as a diversion, though it seems from evidence on maps that this did not immediately become renumbered to A423, resulting in the strange situation of a trunk road suddenly turning into a B road for no reason.
In 1991, following the completion of the M40 and general improvements to the A34 and A404, the A423 was deemed to be no longer suitable as a long distance commercial route, and so was detrunked and renumbered south of Banbury. The section between the Oxford Ring Road and Benson became an northward extension of the A4074.