|From:||New Cross (TQ353766)|
|Distance:||3.6 miles (5.8 km)|
|Meets:||A202, B2227, B2142, A2215, B219, A2216, A215, B223, A204|
|Route outline (key)|
The A2214 is one of the many inner London A-roads that remains almost completely anonymous for its entire route, and for good measure passes through a whole assortment of junctions where the onward route is not at all clear, with a couple of multiplexes to boot. It mainly acts as a cross-country South London route, linking up a few town centres and radial routes, and despite its modesty where its Class I status is concerned it can be heavily congested throughout.
The A2214 starts as Lausanne Road, heading south from the signalised junction with the A202 and B2227. Immediately to the north, the B2227 runs in a perfectly straight line to the A2 - but the A2214 is destined to fall short of meeting a very important road at both ends, and so here it must begin a short distance away on the less famous A202. Travelling south, it forms the boundary between the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark before arriving at a junction with Gellatly Road, the B2142. Two large signs are placed at this junction, clearly signposting the A2214, and they are just about the only ones on the route. Fittingly, they are wrong - big map-type signs that are supposed to be used in advance of a junction have been placed at the junction instead.
We bear half-right into Evelina Road, leaving New Cross and Lewisham behind, which is usually a good thing. We are now in Nunhead, travelling under a fairly impressive arched railway bridge carrying the Catford Loop Line. We pass the small Nunhead Green on our right and the A2214 becomes Nunhead Lane. The trees of the much larger Nunhead Cemetery loom above the rooftops on our left. Nunhead Cemetery claims to be South London's answer to Highgate cemetery and is the second largest Victorian cemetery in London. There are guided tours on the fourth Sunday of the month and the cemetery is open every day.
Shortly there are two crossroads controlled by traffic signals - which, confusingly, are both with streets called Peckham Rye. Between them is the open space of the Rye itself, with the park sprawling away to our left and the smaller common to the right. The second of these roads is the A2215 to the north and B219 to the south, though both are too shy to actually admit it on any road signs. We press on into East Dulwich Road and through a further set of lights, finding ourselves in East Dulwich itself, alongside the small open space of Goose Green.
Before long there's a roundabout squashed in between the Victorian terraces, where we meet the A2216. Both roads are far too modest to make their numbers or destinations known, so motorists are advised to switch on their extra-sensory perception. Assuming the moon is in alignment with Saturn, they should correctly divine that the second left turn is the correct option, following the A2216 Lordship Lane southbound and then taking the (again unsignposted) second right into a nondescript Victorian street called East Dulwich Grove. This road happens to be the next bit of A2214.
East Dulwich Hospital now passes by on our right and we descend the hill into Dulwich Village itself. To the left at the next lights is a village centre with pond, half-timbered pubs and a green that could be anywhere in the Surrey countryside. It's actually between Camberwell and Peckham.
Straight on at the lights leads to Village Way, which curves to pass under the London Bridge to Streatham railway before stopping at a Give Way sign. We turn left here into Half Moon Lane - though motorists travelling in the other direction will need to make an unsignposted right turn to find their way along the road - and it's not long before we arrive at Herne Hill, and the major junction with the A215, B222 and B223 at Herne Hill. The railway between London Victoria and the Kent Coast passes overhead, splitting this junction in two, and for good measure we now enter the London Borough of Lambeth.
Those wishing to continue must go straight ahead-ish under the railway, then turn right at the other side into Dulwich Road, ignoring all other options for A215 and various B-roads and side-roads. This pleasant bit of suburban road passes the splendid Brockwell Park, complete with its original house in the middle which is now used as a café and a newly refurbished lido.
Up ahead there's a bit of a one way system and we are pushed around to the left to join Brixton Water Lane, an one-way street that carries us the last short distance westwards to the A204 Effra Road. Eastbound traffic must follow the parallel Morval Road just to the north, which was once numbered B231 - a B-road whose only purpose was to carry one half of the A2214.
Brixton Water Lane and Effra Road refer to the River Effra, one of the lost London rivers, which rises on the Norwood side of Crystal Palace and flows into the River Thames by Vauxhall Bridge. Our journey ends here, but strangely, Brixton Water Lane continues ahead as an unclassified road that in a few short yards reaches the A23. But why would we want to go there? We never reached the A2 back in New Cross, and we won't reach the A23 now we're in Brixton.