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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (13)
From:  Guildford (SU994494)
To:  Pyecombe (TQ281129)
Distance:  36.5 miles (58.7 km)
Meets:  A31, A3100, A322, A248, B2128, B2130, B2133, B2128, A29, A264, A24, B2237, B2195, B2180, B2115, B2110, A272, B2116, A2037, B2117, A23
Old route now:  B2130
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Surrey • West Sussex

Traditional Counties

Surrey • Sussex

Route outline (key)
A281 Guildford - Stane Street
(A29) Stane Street - Bognor Road
A281 Bognor Road - Broadbridge Heath
(A264) Broadbridge Heath - Horsham Bypass
A281 Horsham Bypass - Pyecombe


The A281 is a medium-length A-road in southeast England.

Section 1: Guildford - Horsham

The road starts in Guildford on a gyratory with the A31, A3100 and A322. The A3100 (former A3) forms the edge of the 3-zone here putting the entire 36.5 miles of the A281 in the 2-zone. It meanders south-east via Shalford, Bramley and Rudgwick, and passes a short distance to the west of Cranleigh. The now-being-restored Wey and Arun Canal runs parallel to this section up until Alford, crossing the road near Dunsfold Park.

After passing Rudgwick, the A281 multiplexes with the A29 for about 1 mile where the A29 does a dog-leg away from its alignment with the Roman road Stane Street. Both junctions with the A29 are roundabouts. The A281 then turns south at a roundabout outside Broadbridge Heath to start the Broadbridge Heath bypass. It meets the A264 at another roundabout and heads east once more, multiplexing along that road. There is then a further roundabout where the road becomes dual-carriageway before reaching the Farthings Hill Interchange on the A24. The A264 continues multiplexing, but now with the A24, while the A281 regains its number and heads into Horsham. The road becomes a dual carriageway again as it passes in a semi-circle around Horsham town centre, with a number of roundabouts and traffic lights; the old route through the town is now largely pedestrianised.

Section 2: Horsham - Pyecombe

A281 heading towards Brighton

The A281 heads out of Horsham in a south-easterly direction, passing through Mannings Heath and Lower Beeding before reaching Cowfold. At Cowfold there is a very short multiplex with the primary A272 (in fairness, it's our road that remains straight and the other that has to zigzag) via two adjacent mini-roundabouts. At the southern roundabout there are some enthusiastic signs here for the M23 with junction 11 being only 10 miles away.

The road continues directly south through Henfield before heading south-east at another mini-roundabout where it meets the A2037. The road then takes a 90-degree turn right at the B2117 junction and then another left at a roundabout with the unclassified Saddlescombe Road which eventually leads to the A27. Instead the A281 meets the A23 at a GSJ at Dale Hill.


Near Cranleigh the road used to head south on the now-B2130 and then continue on Stovolds Hill through the site on the disused Dunsfold airfield (now used for the filming of Top Gear, amongst other things), onto Dunsfold Road and then rejoined the modern route at Alford. The road was rerouted with the construction of the airfield during World War II.

At Horsham the road used to run thorough Broadbridge Heath on the Old Guildford Road and through the middle of Horsham town centre on West Street and East Street.

The first Broadbridge Heath Bypass was from Guildford Road to Farthings Hill via Broadbridge Way. It was opened on 12 January 1983 by Cliff Michelmore, TV Presenter (per West Sussex County Times of 14 January 1983). Contractor was local firm CEDAC. The £1.5 million cost was financed by a private development. The southern Broadbridge Way section later became unclassified with a short central section closed following the re-routing of A281 via a multiplex with A264 and A24 using High Wood Hill Interchange. Note that the YouTube video below would appear to have a slightly wrong opening date.


Broadbridge Heath Bypass opening Tuesday January 18th 1983

Some home video along with both the BBC and the ITV local news bulletins from the evening of Tuesday January 18th 1983 when the Broadbridge Heath Bypass was officially opened by TV personality Cliff Mitchellmore. It was the original bypass via Broadbridge Way. Creator of the YouTube video was Matt Parker.

Watch video > >

Related Pictures
View gallery (13)
A281 sign Shalford, Surrey - Coppermine - 21370.JPGA281 - Coppermine - 1007.JPGWind and solar powered road sign, Brighton Road - Geograph - 1038129.jpgJunction of Clarence Road and Brighton Road, Horsham - Geograph - 2028777.jpgRoad junction at the roundabout - Geograph - 3250327.jpg
Other nearby roads
NCN22 • NCN223 • A3 • A25 • A31 • A246 • A248 • A320 • A321 • A322 • A323 • A2004 (Guildford) • A3010 (Guildford) • A3100 • A3100 (Boxgrove - Woodbridge) • B2215 • B2234 • B3000 • Hogs Back • Pilgrims Way • POLO • T6 (Britain)
A200 • A201 • A202 • A203 • A204 • A205 • A206 • A207 • A208 • A209 • A210 • A211 • A212 • A213 • A214 • A215 • A216 • A217 • A218 • A219
A220 • A221 • A222 • A223 • A224 • A225 • A226 • A227 • A228 • A229 • A230 • A231 • A232 • A233 • A234 • A235 • A236 • A237 • A238 • A239
A240 • A241 • A242 • A243 • A244 • A245 • A246 • A247 • A248 • A249 • A250 • A251 • A252 • A253 • A254 • A255 • A256 • A257 • A258 • A259
A260 • A261 • A262 • A263 • A264 • A265 • A266 • A267 • A268 • A269 • A270 • A271 • A272 • A273 • A274 • A275 • A276 • A277 • A278 • A279
A280 • A281 • A282 • A283 • A284 • A285 • A286 • A287 • A288 • A289 • A290 • A291 • A292 • A293 • A294 • A295 • A296 • A297 • A298 • A299
Defunct Itineraries: A239 • A268 • A270 • A273 • A274 • A277 • A278 • A280 • A282 • A285 • A292(W) • A292(E) • A295

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