A1 (Isle of Man)
|Location Map ( geo)
|10.7 miles (17.2 km)
|A8, A44, A43, A33, A45, A2, A5, A6, A22, A26, A23, A3, A40, A27
|Route outline (key)
Beginning at a roundabout, on the A8, at the Sea Terminal in Douglas, the A1 heads west through the edge of the town centre as Lord Street. After passing the bus interchange on the left between car parks, the route becomes more built up with several shops and business along the road. The route crosses Duke Street, the main pedestrianised shopping street in Douglas, and almost immediately the shops are replaced with houses. Continuing west, there are multiple junctions with side streets, including the A44 and a number of B roads, and the tall three, four or even five storey buildings are a mixture of businesses and residential blocks, as is often found around the fringe of a town centre. Further west, flats predominate, some in modern blocks, others conversions of older buildings.
In front of the railway station, with its grand brick archway over the entrance, the A1 meets the A33 and A43 at a signalised crossroads, and the road ahead becomes Peel Road. The buildings become a mixture of modern flats and Douglas's typical brightly painted Victorian terraces. After the signalised junction with the A45 Crescent Road, Peel Road opens out and becomes both less urban in character and wider, with a middle hatched area between the two lanes at the narrowest points and 3 or even 4 lanes elsewhere. Soon trees line the roadside, hiding houses above and the industrial estate to the left. The industrial estate then comes to the roadside, filling the strip of land between the road and River, with several fast food outlets and other similar premises.
At Quarterbridge the road crosses the River glass, with a roundabout on either side of the bridge. The A2 comes in from the north east, while the A5 heads west on the far side of the bridge. The A2 is the route of the TT Circuit, and that now turns north west with the A1 to cross the island.
TT Circuit section
After crossing the bridge, the road quickly narrows back down to S2, and it feels as though it has left Douglas behind and is heading out into the countryside. A long tree lines stretch between stone walls and fields follows, with the TT Access Road running alongside. This is the old railway line to Peel, normally a footpath, but used by traffic during races. Before long, however, this myth is dispelled and the road widens out for the next junction. This is a roundabout, painted as a mini, but with a tree growing out of the middle! It sees the A6 come in ahead, and the two routes turn west for a short multiplex across Braddon Bridge, and past the old Braddan Kirk to the next roundabout. Here they split again, the A6 turning left while the A1 continues ahead.
The Snugborough Trading Estate lies down to the right, beyond which the A1 passes through the settlement of Union Mills, once a separate village but now effectively the edge of the Douglas urban area. The B32 to Braaid comes in from the left, and after crossing the Union Mills Bridge over the River Dhoo, the A22 turns right to Strang. A short straight then climbs Ballahutchin Hill, before dipping a little into Glen Vine, where there is a signalised T junction with the A26 to Braaid and St Marks. Glen Vine is slowly growing along the A1 towards the next village, Crosby, which is also expanding, and surely soon the two will begin to merge into a single settlement. At Crosby the A23 comes in from the right, while the B35 turns left, but the A1 continues to head north west.
Beyond Crosby, the route becomes windier, more undulating, and more rural, finally feeling as though it is out in the countryside. Fields are crossed, and then, at Greeba, the A1 enters woodland, with Greeba Castle hidden in the trees to the right. Here too, the route crosses the watershed and instead of roughly following the valley of the River Dhoo system, it follows the valley of the River Neb system. A couple of short straights lead on to St Johns, where the A1 meets the A3 at a signalised crossroads on the edge of the village. Here, the TT Circuit turns right onto the A3, while the A1 continues ahead.
St Johns - Peel
After the crossroads with the A3, the A1 continues westwards through St Johns. Some fine old buildings stand along the roadside of this historic old settlement, and then the spire of St Johns Church comes into view over the trees. In front of the church is a large green park, with a strange tiered mound at the end of an avenue of flagpoles. This is Tynwald Hill - site of the Isle of Man's ancient parliament, and still used for an annual ceremony and other events. It is perhaps a little underwhelming, especially when you consider that it is reputed to be the home of the oldest continually serving parliament in the world. Just past the Tynwald, at the western edge of the village is a crossroads with the A40 heading south unsigned.
The A1 then sweeps around some bends, dipping a little to cross the River Neb, and then follows a series of long straights. After a couple of miles cutting through the rolling countryside, it enters Peel. The new high school stands at the edge of the town, and after passing a small modern housing estate, the road is lined with older properties in short terraces and pairs. Douglas Road becomes Tynwald Road, and then the A1 reaches a crossroads with Albany Road and Queens Drive, which form a sort of ring road for the cathedral town. The road soon narrows, and at the next side turning it becomes one way into the town, with parked cars only leaving one traffic lane. Double Yellows then run on both sides through the junction with Atholl Street. The short section from here to West View along Douglas Street is a very narrow two way road, after which it becomes one way heading out of the town.
As Douglas Street winds into the town centre, it is lined with shops and businesses, with the main shopping street, Michael Street, leading off to the right. The A1 finally ends where Douglas Street meets the A27, Patrick Street and Market Street, in the market place, although the last half mile is not really worthy of the A1 designation. Most through traffic is directed around the 'ring road' noted above.
Isle of Man TT Course