|Distance:||48.1 miles (77.4 km)|
|Meets:||A170, A165, B1416, B1447, A174, B1416, B1460, A169, B1266, B1366, A173, A1043, A174, B1380, A1085, A66|
|Old route now:||A170, B1460|
|Route outline (key)|
The A171 runs up the Yorkshire coast from Scarborough to Teesside. It appears to have altered little over the years.
The road begins at a mini-roundabout on the A170 in the Falsgrave area of Scarborough (although between the late 1920s and early 1970s the A170 ran elsewhere and so the A171 continued on for a few more yards to meet the A64). The road sets out northwards to Burniston where it meets the terminus of the A165 at a mini roundabout. After the next village, Cloughton, we enter the North York Moors and travel up a long hill that has been given a much-welcomed crawler lane.
The subsequent 15 miles or so are across the extremely scenic North York Moors National Park. The road is twisty in parts, but there are only a couple of tight bends that require more than a tap on the brakes. There are also a couple of signed 15% gradients, but these are quite short - indeed, one only appears to be about 40 yards long!
After meeting the southern end of the B1416 (which takes a shorter albeit steeper route to the far side of Whitby) we pass the turning for the spectacular Robin Hood's Bay, then pass through High Hawkser past the B1447, which also goes to the Bay. We then leave the national park for a few miles and descend down into Whitby. The A171 used to travel along the eastern bank of the River Esk before turning left 90 degrees and crossing the river on a single-lane swing bridge (now with a 17 ton weight restriction and light-controlled). It skirted the town centre and left Whitby on what is now the B1460.
Since 1980, however, it crosses the Esk on a concrete girder bridge higher up the valley, from which you get a great view of the harbour, before taking part of the previous alignment - around the first three miles or so - of the A169. After meeting the B1416 again the A171 meets its former routing near Newholm.
Now leaving Whitby, it passes what is now the end of the A169 at a roundabout and carries on westwards through the northern part of the North York Moors, a very busy route carrying holiday traffic from Teeside. We're no longer on the nearest classified road to the coast, however: since Whitby that role has been taken on by the A174. It's rolling terrain until just after Scaling Dam where we start to descend onto flatter ground.
After the steep, winding, D2 descent of Guisborough Bank we join the A173 and multiplex (with the A171 number dominant) along the Guisborough bypass, which becomes dual-carriageway halfway along. At another roundabout we lose primary status to the A1043 and turn sharp right into the suburbs of Middlesbrough.
There's a junction with the A174 with only east-facing sliproads (traffic heading west should have taken the A1043) after which, similar to the A172 which it in fact parallels, the A171 becomes a road then a street and finally terminates at Cargo Fleet at a roundabout on the A66. This is a new alignment: the old road (to the west and still a fairly obvious route) met the then-A175 in North Ormesby before heading into the centre of Middlesbrough where it ended on the A172.
In addition to the changes in the Whitby area described above, there have been changes at the Middlesbrough end. The original route in from Guisborough descended Ormesby Bank as at present, but bore left into Church Lane, passing through Ormesby village itself, and meeting the then A174 at Ormesby High Street. At a later date, a new alignment along Orchard Way and Sunny Field relieved this narrow road, which was renumbered B1221 (this is now severed by the modern A174 Parkway, and unclassified). The continuation beyond the A174 was along Ormesby Road, which then led to North Ormesby, where A171 followed Kings Road, then diverged along Westbourne Grove and West Terrace, with its final section along North Ormesby Road meeting A172. All of these from Ormesby Road onwards, are now unclassified and new builds have made the route impossible to follow in its entirety. In the late 1970's, Ormesby Road was declassified, and the route moved to Cargo Fleet Lane as far as Longlands Road, though the route through North Ormesby remained intact until the construction of the new A66 when the present final section was established.
Other more minor changes include straightenings here and there, and the construction of the abovementioned Guisborough bypass, prior to which the A171 was routed via the market place and was the main route through the town.
Original Author(s): Andy [Coasterjunkie] & Lonewolf