|To:||Castle Eden (NZ410382)|
|Distance:||9 miles (14.5 km)|
|Meets:||A690, B1283, B1198, A688, B6291, B1279, B1278, B1280, A19, B1281|
|Route outline (key)|
The A181 is a largely rural A-road in central County Durham.
Durham - Castle Eden
The road 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 notorious Sherburn Road Estate passes on the right before reaching a traffic light junction providing access to the Dragonville and Renny's Lane industrial estates. Immediately after crossing the A1(M) the A181 TOTSOs to the right for a second time, the road ahead being the B1283 for Easington. It descends steeply before climbing again as it passes Sherburn House Hospital - this section recently acquired a 30 mph limit. After passing Sherburn House Hospital, it merges with the B1198 (former A180) from Shincliffe, which has priority here (meaning that northbound traffic must TOTSO three times in 2 miles to stay on the A181!). 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 (opened 2009), which provides links to Sherburn Village and, via the A688, to Bowburn - the latter much used by HGVs heading for A1(M) junction 61. After two miles the Three Horse Shoes pub at Running Waters is reached, which is followed about a mile later by the descent towards Silent Bank, where the road briefly becomes dual carriageway. 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