|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||120 miles (193.1 km)|
|Meets:||M20, A20, A260, A2033, A2034, B2064, B2170, B2063, A263, B2071, B2075, A2070, B2080, A268, B2093, A2101, A21, A2102, B2092, A2036, A269, A2690, B2182, B2098, B2095, A27, B2191, B2104, A2290, B2106, A2021, A2040, A2270, B2103, A26, B2109, A29, B2123, B2118, B2137, A23, A2010, B2122, A2023, B2194, B2193, B2167, A283, B2223, A24, A2032, A280, B2140, B2187, A284, B2233, B2132, B2259, B2144, B2145, A286, B2146, B2148|
|Former Number(s):||A27, A260, A294, B259, B2143|
|Old route now:||A260, A2033, B2011, B2191|
|Route outline (key)|
- 1 Route
- 2 History
- 3 Future Plans
- 4 Links
The A259 makes up in length what the other A25x roads lack. It starts in Folkestone, heads along the coast through Hythe, Romney and over the Sussex border to Rye. Then it goes via Hastings, Eastbourne, Brighton, Worthing, Bognor and Chichester and finally ends at Havant in Hampshire.
From Pevensey to Havant the route is effectively shadowing the A27, only going through more towns and sticking closer to the coast. The A259 forms part of the South Coast Trunk Route. The Brenzett - Pevensey section and the Bognor Regis - Chichester section are still primary routes but the rest is non-trunk and non-primary as the A27 is better suited for being the main south coast road.
Section 1: Folkestone – Brenzett
From M20 junction 13, the A259 skirts the North Downs heading east. It then descends via the suburbs into Folkestone and meets the A2034 at a roundabout near the central station; that road is the obvious route from the M20. After numerous TOTSOs avoiding the town centre, the road eventually descends steeply to Sandgate, which has a single main street lined with antique shops. The A259 surrenders its white lines and narrows here before running along the sea-wall to Seabrook and on into Hythe, where there's a little one-way system. The suburbs continue as the road ventures out into Romney Marsh with MOD land to the left. Soon it is back beside the sea-wall and caravan parks dominate the scene all the way through Dymchurch (which has a busy high street, arcades and a fun fair) to St Mary's Bay. Things become open and straight for a mile and there is a bridge over the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
Then comes New Romney where the A259 forms the High Street. The road begins to act more like a primary route beyond this town, streaking inland to Brenzett across the totally flat grazing land up to meet the trunk A2070 at a roundabout, along with Brenzett school and a service area.
Section 2: Brenzett – Pevensey
From here until Pevensey, the A259 is mainly a trunk road, despite being predominantly single-carriageway with plenty of twists and turns.
Bearing left at the roundabout, our road passes over a level crossing, then heads around Brookland on a single-carriageway bypass. After this, there's a 90-degree bend by the Woolpack pub, then another, even more severe, 90-degree bend at Guldeford Lane Corner where the road crosses Kent Ditch to enter East Sussex. There are then two more level crossings (with the Marshlink line from Ashford to Hastings via Rye) to navigate before the road becomes straight. Rye then appears on the horizon which the road heads straight into, having a junction with the A268 and then into the town centre before humbly passing by the Victorian terraces around the centre. It feels a little claustrophobic as it hugs the bottom of the hill that the town is constructed on. There's then a run out to flat land on the old military road up to the much smaller hilltop town of Winchelsea - England's first new town, laid out in grid formation many centuries ago.
There is a sudden hairpin north of Winchelsea (recall this is still a trunk road), a very steep climb and soon the road is on the 'straight and wide' again until Icklesham village. More corners and more pinch-points follow to Guestling until the sustained climb to Ore which has had its crawler lane all but stamped out. And then comes another fifteen miles of suburbs, and a loss of trunk status through the Hastings urban area. There is just a gap, with no alternative trunk road filling it. The reason for this is that Hastings was formerly a county borough - and there were no trunk roads in county boroughs.
The road descends to the centre of Hastings and runs along the hotel-lined seafront. The A21 currently starts around here, unceremoniously at an uncontrolled T-junction. This is the first major road the A259 has met since Folkestone. The A259 continues along the seafront to St. Leonards. Then it heads inland to Bulverhythe, past the out-of-town complex and straight into Bexhill, regaining trunk status en route. It bypasses the centre with a brief dual carriageway, the first section of dual carriageway that the road has had.
When it finally emerges, having met a number of classified roads, most notably the A269, the road descends in a sweep to Pevensey Level. It is straight and tree-lined until the roundabout where the A27 starts. That road now takes on our trunk and primary status - and also our route.
Section 3: Pevensey – Worthing
The A259 heads south at the roundabout with the A27, heading straight on to Pevensey Bay and the sea. Pevensey Bay has a brief one-way system. The road heads straight for the suburbs into Eastbourne with a brief dual carriageway section. The new A22 starts about a mile north from here, linked by the mile-long [A2290]. There is a one-way system around the centre of Eastbourne which then leads to the old start of the A22, now the A2270. The road continues up the South Downs with woods on one side. The scenery is superb; with picturesque East Dean neatly assembled across one of the hillsides, then a long drop to the single-lane bridge over the meandering Cuckmere River. Then there is a climb into Seaford.
Right through the middle of Seaford, the road climbs again and descends with crawler to the next river valley and Newhaven. Here the A26 is met, which gets a GSJ, though more for reasons of geography that importance. Immediately after this there is a swing bridge over the River Ouse which heads into a one-way system around the centre of Newhaven. It then heads out towards Peacehaven. For about three miles here, the road is named 'South Coast Road', a name which appears on the direction signs in some of the side streets. Between Peacehaven and Rottingdean, the road takes a rollercoaster ride of hills along the clifftops, sticking rigidly to the coast. Entering Brighton the road widens to four-lane single carriageway making a green and graceful entry to the town. A GSJ is just about formed outside the marina; built within the clifftops including a couple of tunnels. Tall flat-blocks dominate the horizon. Soon the road descends, still as an S4, to the seafront, meeting the start of the A23 at a surprisingly small roundabout.
The A259 continues to pass through Brighton as a mixture of S4 and wide S2. Hove is then reached and the sea disappears from view for a while. Shortly after this the road turns inland very slightly to be on the north side of Portslade and Shoreham Harbour. The River Adur outflow appears on the left at the lighthouse and lifeboat station. From here the road travels along the north bank of the Adur, and through Shoreham High Street to meet the A283 at a roundabout. The A259 the crosses the river at Norfolk Bridge. Shoreham Beach can now be accessed via a large roundabout which also serves Shoreham Airport away to the north. The A259 soon finds the coast at its left again and follows it through Lancing and into Worthing.
Section 4: Worthing – Bognor Regis
The road passes through Worthing town centre, heading north for a moment with a dualled section, then heading south at the roundabout that starts the A24 to some traffic lights before heading west again. It then continues through the suburbs to Goring-by-Sea. Here it turns north for quarter of a mile to become a dual carriageway. There is a TOTSO left at a roundabout with the A2032 and former A2700 and then heads west, still as a dual carriageway but with one lane painted out for about half a mile westbound to allow for the driveways of the adjacent houses. After meeting the A280 at a roundabout, the road is once again single-carriageway until the start of the Rustington bypass, one of only two NSL D2 sections on the entire 120-mile route. There are another couple of roundabouts, one meeting the A284, and the road bypasses Littlehampton as an S2, before heading over the River Arun.
Once reaching the east side of Bognor Regis it heads along a new bypass and splits from the B2259 at a roundabout, from here the B2259 takes the old route that the road would of taken through the centre of Felpham and Bognor Regis. After crossing over the railway it joins onto the A29 at a roundabout where it runs in duplex with it for a short distance south where the A259 heads westwards again at another roundabout.
Section 5: Bognor Regis – Havant
The road now has now gained primary route status again as it heads around the north side of North Bersted on a new bypass, it reconnects with the old A259 (now B2259) at a roundabout. After this it gains a second carriageway just outside Chichester at a roundabout with the B2144. It then meets the A27 again at a Bognor Road Roundabout where it loses it primary route status. Continuing straight on the A259 heads into Chichester to meet, and multiplex, with the A286 along the Chichester ring road. It leaves the A286 at a roundabout, and heads along Via Ravenna, gaining a surprising NSL speed limit before heading briefly south over the railway line to meet the A27 again at the Fishbourne Roundabout. From here it follows the old A27 through Broadbridge where it meets the B2146 at a roundabout. It then continues through Nutbourne and Southbourne to Emsworth where there is a roundabout on the B2148. The A259 continues for another mile or so to end at another junction with the A27, this time at a GSJ at the start of the Havant bypass.
Dover – Pevensey
Originally the A259 started in Dover, with the original eastern end of the road now being the B2011, although it was the A20 before it was upgraded. The whole section of the road is largely unimproved, save the odd realignment, notably at Brookland and west of Bexhill. It was formerly trunk from Folkestone to Brenzett, now replaced by the A2070 to Ashford.
Pevensey – Worthing
The road used to run through Pevensey on what is now the B2191 and B2104. At Eastbourne the road formerly ran through the town centre along Terminus Road. Then the road is unimproved to Seaford, where the Buckle Bypass replaces the route along Claremont Road and Marine Parade. The bridge, GSJ and one way system at Newhaven replace the route through the town centre, now pedestrianised. A short section east of Brighton used to run on the B2118 and B2137 before being replaced with new build.
At classification in 1922 the road had Class II status (as the B259) from the junction with Upperton Road (then the A22) in Eastbourne to the junction with Lewes Road in Newhaven (then the A275). This road was deliberately given an out-of-zone number to demonstrate that it was all part of the same route and became part of the A259 in 1924.
The original western end of the A259 was at the original endpoint of the A24 in Worthing, with the B2143 continuing to Chichester and the A27 - but the A259 had been extended to the A29 in Bognor by 1930.
Worthing – Littlehampton
This is the most improved section of the route. From High Street, Worthing, the route used to run down Warwick Street and up Chapel Road to Richmond Road. There is a new railway bridge at Goring; the road previously ran across the level crossing. From the current A280 junction the modern road takes a completely different route until the west of Littlehampton: the original route is now the B2140, B2187 to High Street Littlehampton, then across the old toll bridge and along Ferry Road and Crookthorne Lane, meeting the modern route at Climping. The Rustington and Littlehampton bypasses were built in the 1990s, Roundstone bypass was earlier. The road was also rerouted in Littlehampton before the building of the bypass.
Littlehampton – Havant
There are some realignments and corner-cutting to Felpham, where Felpham way is new build. Felpham Road and Upper Bognor Road form the old route. By 1930 the A259 had its western end in Bognor, with the A294 forming the road to Chichester; this became the A259 in 1935. The route from Chichester Ring Road to the A27 is new build. From Fishbourne Roundabout to Havant the modern road follows the pre-bypass route of the A27.
Folkstone – Pevensey
Plans for upgrades to almost continuous D2 from M20 J11 to the A27 at Pevensey were in the pipeline until the mid 1990s, including a bypass of Hastings and all the other major towns on this section. The only part of any of these grand plans that were built is M20 J11 itself, an important looking junction serving nowhere in particular. Most schemes were cancelled due to environmental concerns, and finally killed off during the New Deal for Roads proposals by the New Labour government in 1998.
The trunk Brenzett - Hastings section of the A259 has been regularly criticised for being completely inadequate for traffic needs. In 2002, it was listed as the second most dangerous road in South East England, and the 58th most dangerous road in the entire country. Ironically, the poor state of the A259 has meant the parallel Marshlink line between Ashford and Hastings survived the Beeching Axe of the 1960s and remains open today. A late 1980s plan proposed moving the railway to the north and rerouting the A259 along the old line as a relief road, but was rejected because it would split Rye in two.
The Bexhill to Hastings link road opened in 2015, forming a de facto bypass of the A259, although the main route for HGVs is still along the seafront.
Pevensey – Havant
Plans have existed in the past for major upgrades at Shoreham and Worthing, though very little saw the light of day. There has also been talk of dualling the Roundstone bypass, as it sits between two sections of dual carriageway and has plenty of room left for this. The most major plans on the route are at Bognor, where a bypass/relief road is to be built from Flansham, across to the A29 and then along to north of North Bersted. Also in the current plans for the Chichester Bypass, both the A259's junctions will be grade separated.
East Sussex County Council