|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||20 miles (32.2 km)|
|Meets:||A226, B261, A2, B260, A20, M20, A25, B245, B2260, A26|
|Former Number(s):||A21, A26|
|Route outline (key)|
The A227 is a north-south road in west Kent. It is perhaps too close to the M25 to still be important - but it does pass through several quaint villages with counter-intuitive pronunciations.
Route: Gravesend – Wrotham
We start from Gravesend, an old Thameside port that has historical associations with Pocahontas, Charles Dickens and General Gordon (of Khartoum). A fire in the 18th Century destroyed the town hence the lack of any really old buildings. We start on a convoluted one-way system numbered A226 which takes southbound traffic north at one point. The Wealdway long distance path from Gravesend to Eastbourne also follows our route until we reach the Tollgate by the A2.
Heading south, we pass the B261 Old Road at a set of traffic lights and pass Woodlands Park on our right, which is home to Gravesend's secret nuclear bunker. The bunker can be visited on Sunday afternoons by appointment. Eventually some fields appear on our right and we go straight over at the next roundabout, under the A2, Watling Street, and straight on at the second roundabout at the Tollgate.
We pass under the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and are finally in the countryside. This used to be a fun road to drive on but the speed limits are low most of the way to Tonbridge. A shame because this quite a wide section as we pass the eastern fringe of Istead Rise. A few bends and we pass over the railway between London and the Kent Coast at Meopham Station.
Meopham, pronounced Meppam, claims to be the longest village in the country and stretches for about 4 miles. It gets prettier as we proceed further and the A227 broadens. The former B2009 to Cobham is on our left and the B260 to Longfield and Dartford is on our right. The A227 narrows all too quickly and we pass the interesting St George's Church on our left with its pretty churchyard. A little further on we pass the village green complete with its cricket pitch and pubs. There is a windmill on our right that can be visited on Sunday afternoons and is home to the local parish council.
We finally leave the houses passing Thriftwood Scout Camp on our left and we pass through the hamlet of South Street and then Culverstone Green, which is considered part of Meopham. When we reach a cross roads we have finished climbing up from Gravesend and we are at the top of the North Downs. The signs point to Vigo Village, a smaller version of Milton Keynes built on a Second World War munitions dump and the Trosley Country Park plus Fairseat. At the Vigo Inn is a sign to Trottiscliffe, pronounced Trosley, and we descend for about a mile to a roundabout with the A20 and the Pilgrims' Way.
The Pilgrims' Way is a Victorian recreation of the ancient route between Winchester and Canterbury. We briefly multiplex with the A20 which is S2+1 at this stage and cross over the M20. At the second roundabout, which provides access to the westbound motorway as part of J2, we take the third turn off for the A227 along the Wrotham By Pass, which was built in circa 1980. However it is worth taking the original route (fourth turn off) for the attractive village of Wrotham, pronounced Root-ham.
Route: Wrotham – Tonbridge
At this stage we are on an island surrounded by motorways and we soon cross the M26 and arrive at rather mundane Borough Green. Just after the bridge the proposed Borough Green by pass will bear off to the right, pass through a sand quarry and then under a recently constructed railway bridge, London to Maidstone and Ashford, to a roundabout with the A25. For the time being we pass over the railway by the station and TOTSO on to Station Road and turn right at the end and multiplex with the A25.
At the already mentioned roundabout we turn right and the A227 takes the old course of the A25 through Ightham, pronounced Item, prior to the construction of the by pass and the old A25 bears off to the right on the west side of this pretty village. Don't forget to look on your left for the sign to Busty Lane! It is nice and quiet down here as we climb up on to the Greensand Ridge and pass through typically Kentish orchards until we come to a sweeping left hand bend. Turn right for Ightham Mote here and follow signs. We start to descend the ridge and follow the A227 around a right hand bend.
We descend Strumble Hill which is straight and offers a decent overtaking opportunity. On our left is the Fairlawn estate, which is owned by a wealthy Arabian prince. The A227 takes us into attractive Shipbourne, pronounced Shibburn, with its very large green plus colonial-looking Chaser Hotel. We pass across the wooded Hoad Common and come to a strange cross roads where the A227 turns right and has priority of way. We descend to the edge of Tonbridge, pronounced Tunbridge, and this area is called Cage Green. The A227 goes straight across 2 roundabouts and we pass through a narrow attractive part. At the set of traffic lights the B245 (former A21 and later A225) comes in on our right. That road was once the A21 (and then A225) and so the A227 ended here but it now continues past Tonbridge Public School, which was set up by the Skinners Livery Company, on our right.
At the second set of traffic lights is where the A227 used to throw in its lot with the A26. However the A26 has been rerouted on the eastern side of Tonbridge and the High Street is now the B2236. The A227 turns left along the curiously named Bordyke and bends sharply to the left. The one-way only B2023 turns off on our right and the A227 terminates at a set of traffic lights with the A26.