|From:||Isle of Grain (TQ863752)|
|Distance:||33.1 miles (53.3 km)|
|Meets:||B2001, A289, B2108, B2000, B2002, A2017, A2, M2, M20, A20, A26, B2016, B2015, B2160, B2017, A21, A264|
|Former Number(s):||B2001, B2016, B2015|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Isle of Grain - Leybourne
The road starts anonymously at a level crossing on the Isle of Grain. The B2001 takes over from the A228 here (although originally it took over in the more obvious location of the centre of Hoo St Werburgh, a location now bypassed) and goes all the way to Grain village through the former oil refinery and power station and close to the relatively thriving Thamesport which is built on the site of Port Victoria, a Victorian creation for ocean liners to ply their way to Europe. The Hundred of Hoo railway which serves Thamesport uses this level crossing and the A228 parallels the railway across the marshes until a second level crossing. The railway is now freight-only although sometimes there are talks about reopening it to passenger traffic. The A228 climbs up on to the low hills of of the Hundred of Hoo peninsula and we skirt the edge of Lower Stoke. Some time ago the bends here were straightened and there are views over the Medway estuary and Kingsnorth Power Station.
A little further on at Fenn Street we bend to the left and the road from Allhallows comes in our right. We are now on Ratcliffe Highway which leads all the way to Allhallows. There is a sharp bend to our right and we leave the original course of the road and turn left at the roundabout on to the new S2 alignment which was completed to improve this part of the A228's safety record. This leads down a hill and over the Hundred of Hoo railway. After the next roundabout the A228 has been upgraded to dual carriageway (D2) and we pass the edge of Hoo St Werbergh at the next roundabout. The dual carriageway continues through Chattenden, which formally had a large Royal Engineers depot and its own narrow-gauge railway, Chattenden & Upnor Railway. The next roundabout brings us to a brief D2 multiplex with the A289 and the misplaced B2108. This multiplex was built as S2 in the 1970s and was upgraded with the new dual carriageway A289 in association with the Medway Tunnel which is where the A289 heads for at the next roundabout.
The A228 heads down through Frindsbury over the former Thames & Medway Canal, now the North Kent Railway Line to Gravesend and London. There are views towards Rochester Castle and Cathedral. Frindsbury becomes Strood and we pass the short B2002 and go under the railway from London to the Kent Coast and pass the even shorter A2017. We go straight on at the traffic lights with the A2, Watling Street, into Cuxton Road and eventually bear right under the railway and left at the mini roundabout. The A228 follows the railway with further occasional views towards Rochester Castle and Cathedral. We pass a large disused quarry on our right and then come to a roundabout with the remodelled junction 2 of the M2 which was upgraded when the M2 was widened to four lanes. We also pass over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and have sweeping views over the Medway Estuary.
Now primary, the A228 crosses over the London to Kent Coast Railway line for the last time and descends Sundridge Hill which has a crawler lane for northbound traffic and views back to the Medway bridges. We pass through Cuxton, the first cement-making village of many. The once thriving cement industry has dwindled to one or two cement works although it does mean that the white coating of every object has also disappeared. We pass through North Halling and arrive at a roundabout. The old road bears left here through Halling (pronounced Hauling) but the A228 carries straight on to wide S2] through a cutting. The road then rises up and becomes D2 where it meets a brand new roundabout. The roundabout is very large and has a 40 mph limit for its duration due to the size of it. Unfortunately, the roundabout connects to no other roads so is rather pointless for now! The road then continues south as D2 towards Snodland. There is another roundabout just before Snodland where there are some local services (not 24 hrs). At this point the road becomes the Snodland bypass and is WS2. There is a very tight junction with an industrial estate and then the road returns to D2. At the next roundabout, there is a new pelican crossing which provides access to the Leybourne Lakes Country Park. The road also becomes 40 mph at this point.
From the roundabout the road continues to another roundabout where you can turn off for New Hythe (Larkfield). From this roundabout the road widens to 3, then 4 lanes as it reaches the signalised roundabout at M20 Junction 4 (which is currently being widened). From this roundabout, the road continues along the brand new Leybourne Bypass. The old A228 carries straight on at the roundabout and finds its way up to the A20 near West Malling.
Section 2: Leybourne - Pembury
From J4, the road now sweeps round to the right (SW) and continues as D2. It comes to a halt at a new signalised roundabout by Leybourne Grange, before continuing ahead, now at 50 mph. The road along here is still brand new and passes under the A20 (which is now on a new bridge) before a junction at a set of traffic lights forms the end of the bypass; the last section of the original route has been upgraded to D2 to connect the A228 and A20. From here on, the road is a dualling of the existing route. The next junction is also signalised and provides an access to West Malling Railway Station. The road then continues to the first Kings Hill roundabout which is now partially signalised. The next set of roundabouts lead to the new and ever-growing Kings Hill township which is built on the site of West Malling Aerodrome. The aerodrome was a former Battle of Britain fighter station and was a glider station in its later years. After the second roundabout there is some RAF housing and we pass the hamlet of Kent Street and skirt the edge of Mereworth (Merryworth) with its Italianate church. The original Mereworth village was too close to Mereworth Castle for one Lord's liking and he had the village moved and had the current church built for the villagers.
The A228 used to terminate at the junction with the A26 but now it briefly multiplexes with the A26 until a roundabout with the B2016. The A228 bears left at the roundabout on to the former B2016 (Seven Mile Lane) and loses its primary status. This road has been widened to S2+1 with a crawler lane for southbound traffic and runs through a cutting through the Greensand Ridge. The old route had a series of bends by Roydon Hall but this has been straightened. The lonely original parish church for East Peckham is off to our left and is open on Sundays in the Summer months only. A crawler lane for northbound traffic and we descend into the Medway Valley. The A228 suddenly widens to dual carriageway at the approach to a roundabout and the old road can be seen on our right. The B2015 from Wateringbury comes in our left and the A228 takes over most of the former route of this road until Pembury. However the first section is the dual-carriageway Hale Street By-pass which lasts for about mile also by-passes the Hop Farm Country Park at Beltring (formally Whitbreads).
At the next roundabout the B2160 heads off for Paddock Wood and Matfield but the A228 takes an upgraded S2 section which was straightened in the 1980s and by-passes the hamlet of Whetsted. We pass over the Tonbridge and Ashford railway which was the original route of the London to Dover railway. At the roundabout we pass the B2017 running from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood which was B2161. The next section through Colts Hill is quite narrow and there are plans to widen this stretch. At the top of the hill the A228 widens and joins the Pembury Northern By-Pass which was built c. 1987. The original B2015 bears left here for the centre of Pembury but the by-pass ploughs through the extensive woodlands and meets the former A21 at a set of traffic lights. The A228 continues slightly further and ends at a series of roundabouts with the current A21 Pembury By-pass and the A264 (former A263) takes over the mantle to Tunbridge Wells.