|From:||Kings Lynn Bypass (TF617181)|
|Distance:||44 miles (70.8 km)|
|Meets:||A47, A149, A1078, A1076, A149, A1065, A1067, A1082, A149|
|Former Number(s):||A10, A149|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Kings Lynn Bypass - Kings Lynn
The first section of the A148 from a grade separated junction with the A47 King's Lynn southern bypass is the very new Nar Ouse Way. This is part of an ongoing major brownfield development to the south of the town. It's a bendy affair with (for the time being) roundabouts leading to nowhere and probably looked nice on a plan but it isn't a very rewarding drive. In fairness the powers that be don't want you getting to King's Lynn this way, traffic being posted along the A47 to the Hardwick Roundabout and in on the A149.
The A149 is met for the first time at the end of Nar Ouse Way on Southgates Roundabout. From here traffic heading for the town centre has to go through the South Gates arch. It's quite narrow and fortunately traffic coming out of town gets to go to the side of the structure. According to the inscription it was completed in 1520. It's a good job the 16th century builders had the foresight to make the arch tall enough for high sided HGVs and double decker buses.... Beyond here is London Road which is the main road into town from the south. Where space permits it is 4 lanes wide (just) which can be quite interesting during rush hour.
A bit further in, on the left just after a set of traffic lights, the interesting building complete with battlements is the town library, and behind this is the Greyfriars Tower, featured on (and restored as a result of) Griff Rhys Jones's Restoration programme. Past the imposing Police Station building and we get to the one-way system - straight ahead into Railway Road for northbound traffic, with southbound traffic joining in from the right off Blackfriars Road at some traffic signals by the swimming pool.
At the other end of the one-way system the way out to Cromer is straight on towards the Edward Benefer Way, which was built in the 1970s as a bypass for the King's Lynn suburbs. However the old route was not renumbered and the bypass was given the number A1078. To keep to the A148 involves going back round the one-way system and taking the next left at a set of traffic lights. This will take us through Gaywood (past my old school) and to a left turn at the junction with the A1076. Just before here on the left is the Gaywood Clock which used to be in the middle of the junction, but when the junction was widened and signalised the clock tower was dismantled stone by stone and re erected in its current position. No mean feat, that.
Section 2: King's Lynn - Fakenham
Continuing north through the suburbs we get to some more traffic lights at the other end of the A1078. A right turn here and we're back on track towards Cromer. Indeed, this is the original western end of the A148 - that which has gone before us was the A149 and A10. We head up Knight's Hill to a roundabout with the A149 eastern bypass. There's a good view of the surrounding countryside from here and it's apparent that Norfolk isn't always as flat as it's made out to be. This marks the end of the first section and from here on the A148 is a primary route, serving as the main holiday route to the North Norfolk coast from the North and Midlands, and is generally of a good standard. (It wasn't always so and there are various laybys and abandoned bits of road along much of its length indicating the numerous on-line improvements there have been over the years). It can get a bit busy with caravans in summer but there are plenty of overtaking opportunities.
A few miles on and just past the B1440 Sandringham turn and we're into the village of Hillington. A large stone wall (made of Carrstone - see A149 entry) is on the left with a turreted gateway into Hillington Hall. This wall heads away from the carriageway edge just past the B1153 junction on the right along the old route before the road was realigned in the 1980s up as far as the next junction (also with the B1153, making this the A148's only multiplex).
The next notable feature has to be the hill at Harpley which used to be an S3 ‘suicide lane’ section, but is now an S2+1 featuring Norfolk's only climbing lane. A bit further on the road narrows a little and makes its way through West and East Rudham, complete with 30mph limit. A bypass has been talked about for ages but probably will never happen. As it is the road through the villages is reasonable to drive along, but probably not much fun for the residents.
An undulating section takes us past the old American air base at Sculthorpe after the B1454 turn, then just past the B1355 from Burnham Market we arrive at the Fakenham bypass, which starts with a left turn at a roundabout with the A1065, where traffic from London and the South join the merry band of holidaymakers heading for the coast. Straight ahead is the old road into Fakenham and just away from the roundabout on the bypass is a left turn for the B1105 to Wells-Next-The-Sea. So there are six routes meeting at or near the roundabout, which occasionally can result in a bit of congestion in the summer months. Towards the end of the bypass the next roundabout with the A1067 to Norwich was a later addition, replacing a T junction with a right turn lane.
Section 3: Fakenham - Cromer
We go past the delightfully named Little Snoring and a slight turn to the left at Thursford where the B1354 heads more or less straight on. A slight hill follows and from the top on a good day it is possible to get the first glimpse of the North Sea in the distance. Further on is what is really the only substandard part of the A148 as it gets all narrow and twisty, particularly through Letheringsett. A planned bypass has been put on (indefinite?) hold, a major stumbling block being the potential environmental impact on the Glaven valley. After the village the road curves to the right and goes up a hill towards Holt. A left turn used to take the A148 through the town but now we head straight on and onto the Holt bypass by means of a left turn at a roundabout with the B1149 (straight ahead to Norwich) and the B1110. Had the Letheringsett bypass been built it would probably have joined in from the right at this roundabout, taking in the top end of the B1110 and removing the TOTSO here.
After the bypass High Kelling, Bodham and Aylmerton pass without too much incident whilst the A1082 dives off down the hill to the left to Sheringham. Just afterwards the B1436 bears off to the right (which links up with the A140 to Norwich). Cromer is now within our grasp. The descent into Cromer affords a fine view of the town, with the lofty church tower ahead and the North Sea providing an impressive backdrop. A shame then that at the very end of the A148, where it joins up once more with the A149, you have no option but to turn left onto the town's wretched one-way system. Better to turn left at the mini roundabout 200 m or so before here into Beach Road to get to the sea front for a more satisfactory end to the journey.
Section 4: Cromer - Mundesley
Originally, and now, the A148 ends in Cromer. However, it was extended along what was the B1159 in 1935. It continued through Overstrand to end on the B1145 in the centre of Mundesley. This section regained its original number in the 1960s and is now unclassified.
Original Author(s): Siddaw 05