|Location Map ( geo)|
|Give Way Junction|
|Junctions related to the B3190|
|Junctions related to the B3224|
Ralegh's Cross (note spelling, Ralegh, not Raleigh) is an evocative name, although its origin is long forgotten. The junction sits in front of the historic Coaching Inn, the Raleigh's Cross Inn, high on the northern slopes of the Brendon Hills to the east of Exmoor. Originally, it was simply located on the north south route of the B3190, but when the B3224 was extended through here, it formed a brief multiplex westwards to the next (un-named) junction at the Beulah Chapel, where the two routes diverge once more.
The main junction, and the unnamed one to the west are both simple fork junctions, although at least the junction at Ralegh's Cross itself is a triangle, making it easier to turn. At the chapel, traffic turning from the northbound B3190 onto the westbound B3224 has a tight double-back to negotiate, which whilst easy enough in a car is somewhat trickier for larger vehicles.
In the past, the top of the Brendon Hills was explored for mining Iron. The Ralegh's Cross Inn was an important site for much of the mining period, starting from the 1850s, and was a popular haunt of the miners too! At the junction to the west, the Beulah Chapel stands in the fork and was built for the mining community, with the Incline of the West Somerset Mineral Railway climbing steeply up the hillside behind. This was powered by a steam driven winch at the top which hauled the trains up the hill. Unbelievably, passenger trains were carried in this manner too, although the mining company did not charge for that part of the journey to evade liability in the event of an accident!
The remaining abutments of the railway overbridge are still in place on the B3224 just to the west of Beulah Chapel. There is parking in a gateway there and you can walk through and get onto the incline, now grass covered and quite slippery when wet.
The B3224 is a recent numbering (1980s) of what was long an unclassed but good quality road across the heights of The Brendons and Exmoor. It had always formed the best route from Taunton to Ilfracombe, although when unclassed it was only very locally signposted. It was known in Taunton as "The Pilgrim's Road", apparently because long ago it was a route away from the coast settlements that pilgrims to Canterbury would use.
|Bridgwater, Williton, Watchet|
|Bampton, Wheddon Cross, Exford (B3224)|