This article is about the original and current route heading north from Chichester.
For the possible use for the Charing Northern bypass in Kent, see A285 (Charing)
The A285 crosses the South Downs to the north of Chichester.
Petworth - Chichester
Old Railway Bridge near the old Petworth station
The road starts on a mini-roundabout on the A272 on the southern edge of Petworth, thus avoiding the narrow one-way streets of the town centre. The road then proceeds directly south, across the River Rother on the narrow Coultershaw Bridge. After passing through the village of Duncton the road makes a steep, winding climb up the South Downs northern ridge. It then descends through Halnaker to its very own grade-separated junction with the A27 on the Westhampnett bypass.
The A285 does not terminate at the A27 junction, but multiplexes with the A27 for a short distance toward Chichester; then, where the A27 turns south around the Chichester by-pass, it turns north-west up the short stretch of Portfield Way and then down Westhampnett Road into Chichester, terminating at Eastgate, at the junction with the A259 and the Ring Road (A286).
The route of the A285 before the construction of the A27 Westhampnett bypass in the 1990s follows the alignment of the Roman road Stane Street, and still does in part. The current A285 picks up this stretch of Stane Street a little north-east of the village of Halnaker and follows it to Strettington. From there, the old A285 (now an unclassified road but still Stane Street) continued straight ahead to the hamlet of Maudlin, where it joined the old A27 (now the also-unclassified 'Old Arundel Road') at a fork in the old A27, which marked the original end of the A285. Following the building of the A27 Chichester bypass, the road was extended. The old A27/ A285 multiplex then continued following 'Stane Street', through the village of Westhampnett, to the roundabout at the then northern end of the Chichester by-pass. It then entered Chichester down Westhampnett Road to continue as it does today.
Original Author(s): Trevor Dayneswood & Rupert Candy