|Location Map ( geo)|
|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|
|Route outline (key)|
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
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.