From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|From:||Langford, Taunton (ST204263)|
|To:||Stibb Cross (SS428149)|
|Length:||57 miles (91.7 km)|
|Meets:||A358, B3187, B3188, B3190, A396, A361, B3137, B3226, A377, B3217, B3232, A386, A388|
|Former Number(s):||A361, A396|
|Route outline (key)|
The B3227 is the number used for the original route of the A361 from Taunton into Devon. This number was applied to the old road when the North Devon Link Road was numbered A361. However, it was originally a link from the A361 to Stibb Cross. This section remains numbered B3227.
Section 1: Langford (Taunton) - Bampton
We start at Cross Keys Roundabout at the junction with the A358 as it heads north to Williton, and after passing a large and old trading estate on the left, we are soon in Norton Fitzwarren proper. As the road meanders through the village, it is hard to believe that in the 1960's and 70's, this was one of the major tourist routes to North Devon, carrying thousand of holidaymakers every summer weekend. Today, it is still busy, but only with local traffic.
After passing modern housing estates, we leave the urban area of Somerset's county town behind, and cross the disused link between the West Somerset Railway and the main network. However, the WSR have big (long term) plans for a new station and link at Norton Fitzwarren. There used to be a third line from the junction, one which we shall meet again in due course. For now, the road is wide and fast, with sweeping bends, as befits the former A361, and bypasses the villages of Cotford St Luke (a 'new village'), Heathfield and Oake, but passes through Preston Bower. A double bend at the western end of the village, and then a short run down to the roundabout at Milverton. Here, the B3187 (and its spur) takes the old turnpike route through the village, while the A361 was given a shiny new bypass along the old railway line - that third line.
This road is of a very high standard, wide and fast, as we pass Milverton and hardly deteriorates as we reach the western end of the B3187. Long straights and sweeping bends continue now all the way to Wiveliscombe. A roundabout at the village entrance serves a housing estate and factory, and then the B3188 joins from the north. We pass the unusual church on the left, and then the High Street turns off to the right at traffic lights. Fortunately, a mini-bypass allows us to miss the pleasant centre of this old market town, and it used to be a forty to the end of the town, where the road once more becomes a series of short straights and sweeping bends.
Not for long, however, as we soon reach a sharp hairpin around a shallow hollow. It is surprising that a bridge / embankment was never built to remove this nasty kink. Returning to form once more, a road to the right shows the pre-turnpike route, which runs parallel along the far side of a narrow field. Even so, we don't avoid another sharp bend as we contour round another hollow - the turnpikes needed a level road more than a straight one, as it was the hills that tired the horses. The bends just shook up the passengers!
We now find ourselves heading south through a steep sided wooded combe alongside the River Tone (the river that gives Taunton its name), and into the village of Waterrow. The road then swings back to the west once more, climbing slightly to cross the county boundary into Devon. Petton and Shillingford are quickly dispatched, before we reach Bampton. Here we meet the B3190 and then the B3227 splits, leaving town to the west and to the south. Both reach the A396 in the steep valley of the River Exe. The road to the south, however, is a spur, which hearkens back to the time when the A386 went straight through Bampton. It is unknown why this road became B3227 and not B3190
Section 2: Bampton - Stibb Cross
The mainline of the B3227 crosses the A396 and continues to follow the course of the old A361 west as it passes to the south of Exmoor. A few miles to the east of South Molton, it joins the A361's modern route, and the two routes briefly multiplex, before the B3227 diverges into the old market town of South Molton. It is here that the B3226 picks up the A361's old route, and the B3227 finds its original starting point. It continues heading west, briefly multiplexing with the A377 near Umberleigh, and then with the A386 in Great Torrington (although in both these cases the B3227 has been rerouted to form short bypasses). At great length, 57 miles to be exact, we reach the A388 at Stibb Cross, and the end of this stunning cross-country road.