|Distance:||43.7 miles (70.3 km)|
|Meets:||A19, A168, A61, B1257, A169 B1258, B1261, A171, A64|
|Former Number(s):||A19, B1256, B1262, A171|
|Old route now:||B1261|
|Route outline (key)|
The A170 skirts the southern edge of the North York Moors. It has perhaps the steepest hill on a primary route in England.
Thirsk Bypass - Scarborough
The A170 starts at the A19/A168 TOTSO junction south-east of Thirsk on the town's bypass. It heads into the centre of town along the pre-bypass A19 to reach a roundabout where it cannons off the A61 and heads eastwards, soon crossing a bridge over the A19; there is no junction here which explains the detour through town.
A few miles down the road we pass through the delightfully named village of Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe. Shortly afterwards we enter the North York Moors National Park, which we stay inside for several miles before it borders us to the north. We then meet Sutton Bank, a 1-in-4 climb around some tight bends, up into the Hambleton Hills. It's also a stop on the Cleveland Way.
Beyond there we head across the woods of Scawton Moor to Sproxton where we make a near-90 degree turn northwards and begin a short multiplex with the B1257 which has come across from Malton on its way to Stokesley. We lose the multiplex in the charming market town of Helmsley, where we turn back onto our easterly path at a TOTSO in the centre of the town.
After passing through the villages of Nawton and Beadlam we reach a re-aligned stretch that avoids a steep gradient and a ford at Kirkdale, before heading to Kirkbymoorside, another quaint market town. We would plough through the centre of the town but instead head around it on quite an old bypass.
The next stop is Pickering, the start of the North York Moors Railway and home of the station used as Hogwarts Station in the Harry Potter films. Again our road has been moved away from the very centre of town. Here there is a roundabout with the A169, the Malton-Whitby road.
We skirt along the south side of the North Riding Forest Park, entering and leaving the national park twice, before veering north-east as we approach Scarborough. At East Ayton the B1261 heads off to the right at a roundabout towards the A64 and Filey. We enter the suburbs of Scarborough where we meet the A171 at a mini-roundabout just before we end at traffic lights where the A64 TOTSOs. That road continues ahead into the centre of town.
Originally the A170 only ran between the A169 in Pickering and the A64 in Scarborough, presumably because Sutton Bank was not deemed suitable for Class I status. However, this did not stop the road's being extended west to Thirsk later in the 1920s, taking over what was the B1256.
For many years the A170 began in the centre of Thirsk, at a roundabout with the A61 going west, it heading east and the A19 taking a roughly north-south route. The A19 has bypassed Thirsk since the 1960s on a multiplex with the A168 and so the A170 has taken over the southern leg of the former A19.
Round the same time the A170 was extended to Thirsk it was also diverted away from Scarborough. It took over the B1261 to Seamer, where it used to meet the A64. The old road from East Ayton to Scarborough became the B1262. This state of affairs lasted until the early 1970s when the change was reversed, with the old A170 to Seamer becoming the B1261 again.
Original Author(s): Neil Turner