From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Length:||43.2 miles (69.5 km)|
|Meets:||A589, A6, M6, A687, A65, A684, A685|
|Former Number(s):||A589, B6258|
|Brough • Heysham • Kirkby Lonsdale • Lancaster •|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1:Heysham Port - Lancaster
Today from a left to right viewpoint on a map the A683 starts at the Isle of Man and Belfast ferry terminal at Heysham next to the nuclear power station as a primary route, known as Rothesay Road. Once it starts off the A589 at a roundabout, we join a 50mph road opened in July 1994 - Phase I of the Lancaster-Heysham Bypass. This route will eventually link up with the M6 bypassing the notorious city centre one way system in central Lancaster.
Continuing east, the A683 rises to cross a railway line, passing a huge substation on the right before meeting a new roundabout dating to 2010, beyond here the road experienced a miracle of highways planning. In 2012, the original 1994 speed limit (50mph) was raised to national speed limit! However, the speed limit is signed as an explicit 60mph, which causes some interesting signage anomalies where side roads had the national speed limit from before the link road opening. Still, we must be grateful for the fact the limit is higher than when it opened as most of Lancashire's road network has seen some serious speed limit cuts.
Pressing on, the 60 limit continues as far as the start of a D2 section at White Lund, where the road drops back to 40 to pass through industrial estates. A huge roundabout brings the A589 back to us, and ends Phase I of the Heysham-Lancaster Bypass. The future extension will see this junction turned into signals, but for now we must turn right, and find a bus lane opening up on the left (this has grown since 2010, it used to start further down). Another roundabout, and then a climb up a hill takes us into the dreaded city centre one way system. Expect delays, they can be as long as 20-30 minutes on a bad day.
Traffic slowly trundles through to meet the A6 and heads over the Skerton Bridge, before the A683 branches off onto Caton Road and escapes the city proper. The petrol station on the left is often a source of cheap fuel, and thus queues...
Section 2:Lancaster - Sedbergh
Over the bridge the A683 turns left and heads towards J34 of the M6. For more information on J34 see the Bad Junctions section of the CBRD site. After the motorway we bypass Halton and go through the villages of Caton, Brookhouse, Claughton, Farleton and Hornby. Between Farleton and Hornby the B6480 branches off to the right to joni the A65 at Clapham on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. After Farleton comes Melling and Wrayton.
At Wrayton we come to a T-junction where in a southerly direction the A683 TOTSOs, the road to the east being the short A687 which takes over the primary route from Lancaster to join the A65 near Ingleton. The A683 now for a short while goes in a westerly direction than turns to head north through Tunstall, Nether and Over Burrow becoming Burrow Road for the this sections final stretch before meeting the A65 on the Lancashire/Cumbria (Westmorland) boundary.
This junction is just outside the small market town of Kirkby Lonsdale near the famous Devil's Bridge (a well known meeting place of motorcyclists on a Sunday). The A683 and A65 multiplex for a very short while till we meet a junction at the eastern end of the "new" bridge over the Lune which was built to replace Devil's Bridge (now a footbridge). The A683 now heads north again through the village of Casterton with its private school and into the Westmorland section of Lonsdale (Lonsdale is of course Lunesdale, but the name Lunesdale is usually only used for that part of the valley north of Tebay along the A685), the next village actually on the road is Middleton a few miles north here and the A683 and we come to a fork the road to the left is the B6256 which acts as a shortcut to/from the A684 avoiding Sedbergh.
The A684 and A683 meet just outside Sedbergh on Station Road, which is the original eastern terminus of the A683. Sedbergh is part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which was for some reason moved into Cumbria, although I think North Yorkshire County Council do run one of the local schools. The two roads multiplex through the little town famous for its public school whose past pupils include the former England RU captain Will Carling (A684 taking priority).
Section 3:Sedbergh - Kirkby Stephen
On the eastern edge of the town along Long Lane the A683 (former B6258) forks to the left and starts its climb along the side of the Howgill Fells going up Crosshaw Brow along side the River Rawthay through the hamlet of Cautley, past Harter Fell and into the valleys at the head of the River Lune. The road for a while near the hamlet of Bowber Head is known as Edgdale Lane.
A few miles on from this we skirt the edge of Wether Hill and Ash Fell which mark the watershed between the Lune and Eden and meet the A685 near Kirkby Stephen railway station. Had the Kirkby Stephen bypass been built (see A685 entry) then this would probably be a roundabout and not a T-junction.
At first the A683 only went from the A6 in Lancaster to the A684 just outside Sedbergh making it a road from Lancashire to Yorkshire but in a north/south direction as opposed to east/west which is more usual. However about 1970 the A683 took over the route of the B6258 from Sedbergh to the A685 near Kirkby Stephen Railway Station. Later still in the 1990s a bypass of southern Morecambe and Heysham was built from the boundary of Lancaster and Morecambe to Heysham harbour this road plus the stretch of the A589 from Lancaster to Morecambe was given the number A683 making the A683 an out of zone road and making it have a short multiplex with the A6 over the Skerton Bridge in Lancaster. This was probably done so that the road from Heysham Port to the M6 had a single number.
Original Author(s): Carl Ryding