|To:||Hurst Green (TQ732279)|
|Distance:||28.9 miles (46.5 km)|
|Meets:||A2, A230, B2097, M2, M20, B2012, A20, B2010, A274, B2163, B2079, A262, B2086, B2085, A268, B2244, A21|
|Former Number(s):||A230, A265|
|Old route now:||B2097, B2244, A21|
|Route outline (key)|
A long standing route of importance, the A229 runs through the middle of Kent, and changes from a very important motorway link to a winding rural road.
Section 1: Rochester – Maidstone
The first section of the road starts at a roundabout on the A2 in Rochester, just up the hill from the High Street. It then runs along City Way, meeting various bits of 1930s Medway Town suburbia. The A230 joins in from the left at Horsted, and after the next roundabout, the road widens out to dual-carriageway, though still very much urban at this point. There's then a flyover with the B2097 from central Rochester. Dover-bound traffic for the M2 is directed off here and along the former A2045 to reach the motorway at J2. London-bound traffic stays on the A229 till the next junction and along a spur of the A229 to reach the motorway. Here is where the road splits off its original alignment and starts to turn into a major primary route.
The 40 mph limit then finally gives way to NSL for the descent down Blue Bell Hill. At the bottom of the hill is the M20 which is met at the unusual hybrid dumbbell which is J6. Here the road becomes an urban dual carriageway again as it hugs the east bank of the River Medway into Maidstone, until meeting the A20 (and just missing the eastern end of the A26) from the west over the Medway bridge, where the dual carriageway ends. From here, the road is mostly single-carriageway and less dominated by bypasses.
Section 2: Maidstone – Hurst Green
The A229 is the dominant road through the one-way system in Maidstone, running around the south of the town centre, to end up on Loose Road heading south once more, as it passes through numerous garages, supermarkets and housing estates. The A274 forks off to the left towards Headcorn, while we head through Loose proper. The B2163 is met at a set of traffic lights, and we finally taste the Kent countryside heading towards Staplehurst.
Once there, the A229 heads over the railway bridge past the station and runs on a reasonably straight route through the middle of town. Out the other side, it's back into countryside, where the picturesque A262 is met en route from Biddenden to Goudhurst. Past this, there's a TOTSO to bypass Cranbrook (the original route through the town is straight on), as the road winds around plenty of semi-rural houses. Finally, there's a climb up the hill right into the centre of Hawkhurst, where the A268 crosses at a very busy set of lights, causing frequent jams.
Just beyond Hawkhurst, the A229 now swings abruptly to the right to follow the former route of the A265, meeting the A21 at Hurst Green for a quicker run down to Hastings. The old route, meanwhile, remains a nice fast drive to Cripp's Corner and Sedlescombe, before meeting up with the A21 again.
The A229 fomerly ran from Hawkhurst via Sedlescombe to Baldslow on the northern side of Hastings, ending on the A28. The A21 took over the latter part of this route in the 1950s, while the remainder was downgraded in the mid-1990s to the B2244 when the southern end of the A229 was moved to Hurst Green (still ending on the A21) having taken over some of the A265.
The original northern end of the A229 was a junction with Maidstone Road and Rochester High Street here. On 1st April, 1933, the A229 was rerouted onto City Way, taking over the southern section of the A230, with the former route becoming the B2097.