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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (1)
From:  Durham (NZ280427)
To:  Castle Eden (NZ410382)
Distance:  9 miles (14.5 km)
Meets:  A690, B1283, B1198, A688, B6291, B1279, B1278, B1280, A19, B1281
Former Number(s):  A690
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A181 Durham - Castle Eden

The A181 is a largely rural A-road in central County Durham.


Durham TOTSOs

Through and coming out of Durham, the A181 takes a fairly unintuitive route via three TOTSOs in 2 miles. It begins in Durham at the A690's Gilesgate roundabout, heading east up a 1 in 9 gradient. This route is the former A690: the current A690 runs to the north of the Gilesgate built-up area along a dual carriageway built in the late 1960s to meet the A1(M). The A181 does a TOTSO to the right on passing the now-demolished Durham Light Infantryman pub - this is also the point at which it leaves the old A690.

About one mile further along the route the Sherburn Road Estate passes on the right before reaching two traffic light junctions in close succession, providing access to the Dragonville and Renny's Lane industrial estates. After these the road crosses the A1(M) and enters into NSL territory, with the taking an immediate TOTSO to the right for a second time, the road ahead being the B1283 for Sherburn and Easington. It descends steeply before climbing again as it passes through the hamlet of Sherburn House, this section now subject to a 30 mph limit. After passing Sherburn House Hospital, it merges with the B1198 (former A180) from Shincliffe, which has priority here, meaning another TOTSO. A railway bridge passes over the A181 immediately after the merge, and there is a sharp left-hander on the approach to the Byers Garth roundabout with an unclassified road to Sherburn and the A688. The roundabout was constructed in 2009 when the A688 was extended to here in order to provide a route to the A1(M) at junction 61, Bowburn, avoiding Durham city centre - this being much used by HGVs heading to/from destinations east.

A688 - Castle Eden

Three Horse Shoes, Shadforth

After two miles the Three Horse Shoes pub at Running Waters is reached, which is followed about a mile later by the very steep Silent Bank, where the road briefly becomes dual carriageway, primarily in order to provide a climbing lane for uphill traffic. Reverting to single carriageway at the summit there are junctions offering access to Shadforth (unclassified), Cassop and Coxhoe (B6291 - now entirely out of zone since the stretch west of Coxhoe was usurped by A688) and Thornley (B1279).

The road is straight here as it runs along a new alignment towards the roundabout where it meets the B1278 for the Trimdons and Sedgefield. The A181 now heads through a cutting and passes a turning for Wheatley Hill just before the JET petrol station. As the A181 picks up its former alignment again it heads in a straight course through woods heading for the north of Wingate, which is accessed from the B1280 via an unusual single-carriageway GSJ. The A181 ends about a mile and a half later at a diamond interchange with the A19, the road continuing on ahead as the B1281 to Castle Eden

Original Author(s): GC NEMan1

Opening Dates

Year Section Notes
1982 Wingate Bypass Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail of 8 March 1982 reported that it had opened a fortnight ago. Opened by schoolboy Robert Kelly. Cost £1.5 million.
1991 Wheatley Hill Bypass The 1.5 mile road was to open on 12 April 1991. Cost £3.1 million.

Related Pictures
View gallery (1)
Three Horse Shoes - Geograph - 408537.jpg
Other nearby roads
A1(M) • A167 • A177 • A180 (Durham - Byers Garth) • A688 • A690 • A691 • A1050 • A1051 • B1198 • B1282 • B1283 • B6291 • B6300 • B6302 • B6532 • E15 • E31 (via Newcastle) • M100 • T1 (Britain)
A100 • A101 • A102 • A103 • A104 • A105 • A106 • A107 • A108 • A109 • A110 • A111 • A112 • A113 • A114 • A115 • A116 • A117 • A118 • A119
A120 • A121 • A122 • A123 • A124 • A125 • A126 • A127 • A128 • A129 • A130 • A131 • A132 • A133 • A134 • A135 • A136 • A137 • A138 • A139
A140 • A141 • A142 • A143 • A144 • A145 • A146 • A147 • A148 • A149 • A150 • A151 • A152 • A153 • A154 • A155 • A156 • A157 • A158 • A159
A160 • A161 • A162 • A163 • A164 • A165 • A166 • A167 • A168 • A169 • A170 • A171 • A172 • A173 • A174 • A175 • A176 • A177 • A178 • A179
A180 • A181 • A182 • A183 • A184 • A185 • A186 • A187 • A188 • A189 • A190 • A191 • A192 • A193 • A194 • A195 • A196 • A197 • A198 • A199
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways: A102(M) East Cross Route • A102(M) Southern Approach • A106(E) • A108(N) • A108(S) • A115 • A118
A132 • A122 • A135 • A138 • A139 • A147 • A154 • A160 • A167(M) • A168(M) • A176 • A180(W) • A180(E) • A194(M) • A194 • A195(M) • A195

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