|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Five Oaks (TQ097284)|
|Distance:||27.9 miles (44.9 km)|
|Meets:||A21, A228, B2249, B2023, A26, B2110, B2188, B2026, A22, B2037, B2028, A2220, M23, A2011, A23, B2114, A24, A281, A29|
|Former Number(s):||A263, B2110, A278, A281, A282|
|Old route now:||B2110, A2220, B2195, A281|
|Route outline (key)|
The A264 is a road that has seen its importance grow, to the extent that it now suffers from being the more minor road in a multiplex three times. It also gets to be part of three grade separated junctions in which it is the main route through none of them.
Section 1: Pembury – Crawley
The A264 begins its journey west from Pembury in west Kent, at a junction with the A21 – the road continuing in the other direction is the A228. This first section was the original A263, absorbed into the A264 in the second half of the 20th century. Pembury itself is perhaps lesser known than its larger neighbour Tunbridge Wells, and this seems to be the nature of the A264. It runs from 'just outside' Tunbridge Wells to 'just outside' Horsham. It first travels into Tunbridge Wells where it leads traffic into the very heart of the shopping area. As it emerges from the town, it heads due west towards the Kent border with Sussex. There's a TOTSO with the B2110 (this is because originally the A264 carried straight on towards Forest Row) just beyond Langton Green, and the road finally crosses into Sussex by crossing the River Medway at Ashurst Station. After climbing back uphill away from the Medway valley, and still running parallel to the Sussex border with Kent and then Surrey, it reaches the town of East Grinstead.
At this point, users are sent around the one-way system (including Beeching Way – which was once the route of the railway line back to Tunbridge Wells). Here it becomes part of a multiplex with the more important A22. The road re-emerges as a primary route about 1 mile north-west of the town centre, near Felbridge, shortly after the road has crossed yet another border into Surrey. Here, at the Felbridge traffic lights, the A22 continues north, as the A264 heads west towards Copthorne. As the A264 veers slightly southwards around Copthorne village, it once again crosses the border back into Sussex before meeting the M23 at Junction 10.
Section 2: Crawley – Five Oaks
From here, the route is now a multiplex with the M23 from Junction 10 to Junction 11. This must be one of the few examples of a primary route having a signed multiplex with a motorway. At Junction 11, the A264 re-appears as the Crawley South-Western bypass. At the foot of the relatively steep hill, the road re-joins its former route (now the A2220) at the Bewbush Manor Roundabout. Drivers must turn left to stay on the A264 and head towards Horsham. Dual carriageway now carries the road south-west past Faygate and along the Horsham Northern Bypass. Again, here it becomes part of a multiplex with the A24 for its two-mile stretch along the western edge of Horsham. The route from Crawley to Horsham has been heavily upgraded as both are major commuter towns.
The A264 then leaves the A24 at the High Wood Hill Interchange, loses its primary status and turns west. It multiplexes with the A281 (with the A264 number dominant) as it bypasses Broadbridge Heath on the new Broadbridge Heath Relief road (not to be confused with Broadbridge Heath Bypass, which is the old route from Farthings Hill Interchange). At the western end of the bypass the A281 heads north while the A264 heads south-west towards the tiny village of Five Oaks. Here the A264 meets the A29 (part of the Roman road Stane Street), a couple of miles north of Billingshurst.
The A264 has a varied and convoluted history. Originally it ran from the centre of Tunbridge Wells and then along the route of the B2110 to the A22 at Forest Row. The road reached Five Oaks in 1935, taking over the A278 to Horsham and then the A281 and A282 from there on.
Pembury – Crawley
The original route was through the middle of Crawley on what is now the A2220, but the road was rerouted with the building of the Copthorne Link (to M23 J10) along what is now the A2011 and then multiplexing with the A23. The road was rerouted again with the building of the Crawley South-western Bypass, using the M23 between J10 and J11.
Crawley – Five Oaks
The road has been straightened and dualled from here to Horsham, with a small bypass of Faygate. It would have originally followed the now-B2195 into Horsham, before a longer multiplex with the A281, and would have met the A24 in the centre of Horsham. It now runs on a northern bypass of Horsham and down the A24. The Broadbridge Heath bypass is new, but the rest is as it was when it was extended this far west.