|Northumberland Coastal Route|
|From:||Seaton Burn (NZ234745)|
|Distance:||29.8 miles (48 km)|
|Meets:||A1, A19, A1172, A192, A193, A196, A197, A189, A1|
|Former Number(s):||A194, A196, A1078, B1336, B1337, A1|
|Old route now:||B6345, B1330|
|Route outline (key)|
The A1068 is an excellent road if you wish to travel north through Northumberland whilst avoiding the A1. The section from Ellington through to Alnmouth is generally signposted as part of the 'Northumberland Coastal Route', which then turns off at Lesbury to follow the B1339.
Seaton Burn - Alnwick
The road begins to the north of Newcastle upon Tyne at the Holiday Inn roundabout where the A19 ends on the A1. The road heads north, with a brief stretch of dual carriageway to the west of Cramlington, including flared carriageways before the A1172 roundabout. Dual status ends on the edge of Cramlington where there is a multiplex along the A192 over the River Blyth. That road then TOTSOs to continue to Morpeth and we bear right to pass through Bedlington and Guide Post. The River Wansbeck is then crossed before we reach the A197 to the west of Ashington.
There is a short multiplex towards the town centre (road signs are undecided as to which number is dominant) before the A1068 number reappears by turning left and continuing northeastwards. After passing through a wood the A189 is reached at a roundabout, where we gain primary status from that road. To the east as we head on up the A1068 lie Cresswell and Druridge Bay.
Next stop is Widdrington, then Red Row. The original line of the A1068 passes through Red Row and Broomhill - this stretch has some serious right-angled bends in it - so the decision was taken many years ago to by-pass Red Row and Broomhill to the east and meet up again with the original road at Amble.
After leaving Amble via The Wynd, we reach Warkworth, which is a lovely village with an ancient castle. We cross the River Coquet there and run less than half a mile from the coast to Lesbury where we turn inland. We go under the East Coast Main Line then over the A1 Alnwick bypass to a roundabout on the edge of the town centre marking the pre-bypass line of the A1 and our original northern end. Now, however, we turn left and head southwards out of town to end on the A1 at a GSJ.
The A1068 came into existence in 1924 in the first pass of road renumberings since classification a couple of years before. Starting on the A197 in Ashington it took the B1336 to Widdrington and then the B1337 to Alnwick. This route is identical to the current A1068 apart from in Widdrington where the old road now no longer exists, and between Red Row and Amble, as mentioned above. The old B1337/A1068 there is now numbered B6345.
After World War II the A1068 was extended south from Ashington. It started by taking over the A1078 to Guide Post (this was originally the B1333 and was upgraded to Class I status not long after the A1068 came into being). It then took on the A196 to what would become Cramlington New Town, then the A194 to meet the A1 to the north of Seaton Burn. The growth of Cramlington did not alter the line of the A1068 at all but merely gave it a second carriageway. However, the Seaton Burn junction was completely remodelled when the A1 was upgraded and the A1068 now starts to the southeast of its former endpoint.