|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Green Street Green (TQ454633)|
|Distance:||9 miles (14.5 km)|
|Meets:||A207, A220, A2, A222, A2018, A211, A20, A224, A208, A232, A21|
|Former Number(s):||A20, A21|
|Route outline (key)|
The A223 is a suburban road near the modern Kent-London Border. The road is mainly suburban but can get busy. We'll begin.
Section 1: Crayford - Sidcup
The A223 starts in Crayford at the Junction with the A207 (London Road) and heads southwest along Bourne Road. The junction is just west of the naff one-way system at Crayford. Just before we start on the road, an industrial estate is near and it used to have the David Evans Silk Museum; that has since moved to Macclesfield. After a few houses, on our left, you see a nice park here. Hall Place is in it and contains a museum and picturesque gardens. There are also extensive nurseries. There are also the usual parky things. At Hall Place, you arrive at the Black Prince Interchange where the A220 ends. We have to TOTSO as if we go straight ahead, we end up on the A2. The junction itself is a dumbbell hybrid with partial cloverleaf features. The A223 at the junction is D2 but at the next roundabout, it is S2 again.
You now enter the 'Village' of Bexley with gives the London Borough of Bexley its name. This village is always busy. There were plans to by-pass the village but were scrapped. The by-pass would have left the Black Prince Interchange, crossed the river Cray and the Dartford Loop line to meet the A2018 on a roundabout. It would have then met the A223 at the current roundabout where the D2 section starts. The plans were first heard in the late 1960s and again in the 1990s. It is needed BADLY. Back on the current road, we meet the A222 at a mini-roundabout and turn left. Here are two old finger signs fixed to the building on the left which says Crayford in one direction and The Crays in the other. We now go under the Dartford loop line. Some of the viaduct arches here have been converted into retail businesses. We cross the River Cray by the Old Mill Restaurant as we head to the A2018, formerly primary but now a plain A Road. It was formerly the B2210. The junction is at a roundabout.
A little before North Cray, a roundabout signals the start of the D2 section of the A223, with speed cameras of course. Built in the late 1960s, the lay-bys and service roads are remains of the old road. Soon, we hit the old A20 at the Ruxley roundabout. The A20 towards Swanley is now B2173 whilst the road to Sidcup is now the A211. At Christmas, that bit of the A211 is always lit up. We turn half-right onto the easternmost section of the Sidcup bypass as originally built, which was the A20 until Ruxley was bypassed as well. This section of road is back to S2 though quite wide since this was the A20. We pass a BP Garage and a 24-hour Tesco before hitting the roundabout for the current route of the A20. Before the roundabout, A20 traffic for the M25, Maidstone and the Channel turn before the roundabout and the northern section of our road ends at the roundabout proper.
Declassified section: Ruxley - Orpington
The route above left the original line of the A223 at the Ruxley roundabout. The old road, which was declassified in the 1970s, headed south along Sandy Lane. This became Main Road in St Paul's Cray before continuing onto High Street in St Mary Cray, a very short section of which is now the B258. The A223 then zigzagged into Lower Road to cross the A224 and reach Orpington High Street. This road was downgraded around 1996 except for the one-way loop providing access to the A208; many maps claim that this loop is still numbered A223 even though it connects to no other part of it.
Originally the A224 ended on the A223 in St Paul's Cray. It was extended further south along a new road built in the 1920s, thus providing two A-roads running parallel only a few hundred yards away from each other. It is no surprise, therefore, that the A223 was downgraded and traffic diverted onto the newer road, which still has the air of a modern distributor.
Section 2: Orpington - Green Street Green
The A223 restarts its journey by the war memorial in Orpington which is in the middle of a roundabout, through traffic presumably having to multiplex along the A224 and A232 to get here. We're now on the way to the A21. This road is Sevenoaks road, indicating that this was the original route before the Orpington by-pass was built well before World War Two.
We soon go through an impressive tunnel under the railway from London to the Kent Coast and Hastings (that makes a change - a lot of the railways in Kent were built on the cheap). Anyway we soon arrive at a roundabout for Orpington Hospital and we head straight on across it. We meet the B2158 at the next roundabout. This was the (very) old A21: Farnborough was by-passed in the 1920s. For the last bit, we're on the High Street of Green Street Green. We arrive at the A21 at the Rose and Crown. Your options are right for the A21 to London and Bromley, straight on for Kentish countryside (although here we in Greater London) or right for Pratt's Bottom (awful name), Knockholt and that road to Hell the M25.
Original Author(s): A Beaton and A221 Driver