The A268 is a main rural A-road from Rye to Flimwell, passing equally through Kent and East Sussex.
The A268 in Rye
The road begins in the historic Ancient Town of Rye, in East Sussex, leaving the twisting A259 at the Kettle o' Fish mini-roundabout on the western side of town. After negotiating the town's one-way gyratory system and narrow roads, the road becomes one-way past Rye's Landgate, down to a T-junction, where the main route of Southbound A268 traffic run. This spur turns right at the T-Junction to rejoin the A259 at Skinners mini-roundabout to the east of the town centre. This path as described here is the former route of the A259.
Formerly signed 'Hawkhurst', which is now usurped by Tenterden (via the B2082), the A268 is basically the route for Tonbridge and London from the south of Kent. Bridging the Marshlink Line (one of only two remaining unelectrified railway lines in the provincial Southeast), the road climbs steeply through trees to Playden. Waving goodbye to the B2082, the road ups and downs west for Peasmarsh. The road begins to wind and there are no further straights of any significance until beyond the A28. Exiting Peasmarsh over a small blind summit, the road passes the unusual phenomenon of a large supermarket located out in the countryside. Entering Four Oaks (Signed as Beckley), the B2088 splits off at a mini-roundabout around a blind corner.
Twisting and turning up and down again, the road reaches the A28. The road TOTSOs right and it multiplexs for around a mile, descending to the Rother Valley. The A28 crosses both the Kent & East Sussex Railway via Northiam Level Crossing, and the River Rother via the single-file, traffic-light controlled Newenden bridge into Kent. The road passes the hamlet of Newenden itself, and climbs again to where the A28 exits right, this time at its own TOTSO junction. By now, the A268 has found its feet and heads wide and straight for Sandhurst. Passing the tedious long 30mph section, the road heads out of Sandhurst and passes lanes all signed with 6'-6 width limits. Passing over a slight blindness at a crossroads outside Hawkhurst, the road continues further into the village.
Hawkhurst is the archetypal Wealden small town, having an abundance of weatherboarded buildings. At the centre is a crossroads with traffic lights, allowing the primary A229 to pass through. The A229 at this junction peculiarly looks like the minor road, being sandwiched between the buildings and sloping downhill on either side of the staggered crossroads. It is now only a matter of time and 2 straight miles before we reach the A21 at the major Flimwell Crossroads. It looks as though the A268 continues, but alas, straight ahead is the B2087 and Flimwell/Union Street.
The Northiam area in 1956 showing the longer route of the A268
On classification in 1922 the A268 number was allocated to a short link road further west in Sussex. What is now the A268 was the A259 through Rye, then the B2082 to Playden and the B2088 to Four Oaks. There was then an unclassified section (that was soon upgraded to become part of the B2087) as far as the A28. On the far side of the multiplex the B2087 continued as far as Flimwell.
The original A268 was presumably downgraded in (or before) the 1935 renumberings as the current A268 came into existence in that year. With the possible exception of Rye town centre, it followed its current route except for in the Beckley area, as it followed the full length of the B2088 to join the A28 to the south of Northiam. The road also ran beyond the A21 as far as Ticehurst and the A266.
The section of road from Flimwell to Ticehurst did not last long as part of the A268; it was downgraded in the 1940s to its original number, the B2087, at the same time as the road between Four Oaks and north Northiam was renumbered B2088. This section of road swapped numbers with the A268 in the 1960s, confusingly giving the road through Beckley its original number back.