Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

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B1018 A120 M11
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Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

Post by B1018 A120 M11 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 09:47

While out cycling recently, not far from where I live, I noticed this on a detailed 1:25,000 map of my area:

https://tinyurl.com/ShelfordM11OS

Just below the orange arrow in the middle of the screen above, you can see what looks like some sort of old access to or from the M11 to near Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire. It looks as though it comes arrow-straight off the motorway formation and down to the road that links Little Shelford, Newton and Harston, emerging onto that road next to a bridge under the M11. There's no junction there, nor has there ever been one in the 20 years that I can recall the area well.

I thought perhaps it was just a field access that happened to look as though it might once have led on to or off from the main motorway carriageway... but when I got there, this is what I saw.

https://tinyurl.com/M11Shelford

It's totally overgrown now, and blocked by a fence, but clearly there was once some kind of paved route there, edged with kerbing where it comes out onto the country road. It obviously hasn't been used, or indeed usable, for many many years. But the OS map suggests that it once led in paved form much further than the tiny overgrown stub that's left in 2019.

Could it have been a temporary terminus for contractors while the road was being built? Or a works entrance/exit to and from the motorway in its earliest years, swiftly abandoned? I recall reading that this stretch of M11 opened in very early 1980, so I guess if it was out of use from the very early to mid-80s, it would have had enough time to become totally impassable with vegetation and tree growth and look like it does now.

I'll probably never know... but does anyone here know or recall what use this might have served?
Calling at Wickham Bishops, Langford & Ulting, Maldon West, Barons Lane Halt, Cold Norton, Stow St Mary, and Woodham Ferrers...

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Mark Hewitt
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Re: Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

Post by Mark Hewitt » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:50

If you look at the 1945 imagery you can see it was a field boundary, so it might be nothing more than that? https://imgur.com/a/6Dqmirf
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B1018 A120 M11
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Re: Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

Post by B1018 A120 M11 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:20

Weeeeeelllll... as I said, I wondered that too, or if it was a field access path... but the OS map clearly shows a track that once led all the way to the very edge of the motorway formation, if not actually on or off it. As I said, you can't use it today as it's totally overgrown... but clearly there was *something* there once...?

And also, it would be odd to have a field access there... when there's actually one giving access to those fields already, just to the west of the mystery paved access I'm talking about...
Calling at Wickham Bishops, Langford & Ulting, Maldon West, Barons Lane Halt, Cold Norton, Stow St Mary, and Woodham Ferrers...

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Chris5156
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Re: Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

Post by Chris5156 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:08

I would rule out a temporary terminus straight away because the M11 never terminated there. I think we also have to pour cold water on it being used during construction of the M11; while the motorway was being built temporary access points might have involved altering kerbing where they interfaced with existing roads, but that would have been put back to its original state when the work finished.

You can see what was there before the M11 existed on SABRE Maps using the OS 6 inch layer. The M11 runs up a field boundary before curving off to the north east; the triangular area of woodland between this track and the motorway exists because the motorway curves away from the field boundary and the narrow wedge of farmland would have been severed from the rest of the field. It looks, from the modern 1:50000, like that wedge has actually been built up, so possibly it was used to dispose of earth excavated from elsewhere and not required for embankments before being landscaped.

The line of your track was a field boundary, right back to the 19th century and possibly before. When the motorway was built it ran along the north-south boundary but severed access between fields on either side. My guess is that the track was provided to maintain access to fields further south from Shelford Road. You must remember that a map doesn't tell you who owns or farms any given field or how they are connected for day to day use; it may be that some of the fields further south used to be connected to the ones to the east, and were severed from them by the motorway. The highway authority would have had to provide equivalent access. Since that time evidently the track has become disused, perhaps because ownership or the use of the fields has changed, making it redundant. But just because it's not used now doesn't mean it was never used to reach those fields.

What's clear from Streetview and from the 1:50000 is that the track doesn't, and never has, joined the M11. Old-maps.co.uk has 1:50000 coverage from ca.1984 which clearly shows that, even then, the track was outside the boundary of the M11.
littleshelford.jpg

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Johnathan404
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Re: Temporary Terminus? Works Exit? What is it?

Post by Johnathan404 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:20

I have large scale maps dated 1974 and 1982, and would agree with Chris's deduction.

The field containing the labels 45 / Well Head on your StreetMap was split in two by the M11. The east half was accessed by a track from Little Shelford but the west half needed a new access, which was provided by the track in question.
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