|Length:||32.3 miles (52 km)|
|Meets:||A3100, A283, B2131, A287, A272, B2141, B2178, A285, A259, A27, B2201, B2179, B2198|
|Former Number(s):||A283, B2179|
|Old route now:||B2179|
|Route outline (key)|
The A286 is a north-south road in southeast England.
Section 1: Milford - Chichester
The road begins on the A3100 (former A3) at Milford before crossing the A283 at a roundabout. After leaving town it heads in a vaguely southerly direction to Haslemere, where the road turns right at an unusual roundabout, "unusual" because the roundabout has the town hall on it - and its priorities are such that through traffic on the A286 does not have to give way.
After Haslemere the A287 joins from the right and the road is a bit more straight and wide down the hill into Fernhurst. Next the road winds out of the village and then takes several sweeping bends and a climb through forest. It then straightens out again, heads back down the hill, and provides the only safe place to overtake before entering Easebourne. There are two mini-roundabout junctions with the A272 which multiplexes for a bit for a crossing of the River Rother into Midhurst, then the climb starts again, winding to begin with. The road then passes through the villages of Cocking, Singleton and West Dean, running almost parallel to the now-disused Chichester - Midhurst railway line.
The A286 carries on through Mid Lavant and the northern suburbs of Chichester (passing the Festival Theatre) then reaches the Northgate Gyratory and forms the Chichester ringroad.
Section 2: Chichester Ring Road
The entire ringroad is mapped as the A286, so there is a multiplex with the A259 on its southern section. Heading clockwise from the Northgate gyratory the road first heads as a dual carriageway to a roundabout at Spitalfield Lane, which is signposted for the A285 and A27 to Worthing. It then heads on a single carriageway south to another gyratory where it meets the A285 and A259. Recent remodelling and installation of lights at Eastgate has made this a bit less confusing than it used to be. The road then heads south-west to another gyratory (at Southgate) where the mainline of the A286 heads south across the railway line. The ringroad then heads west again on the purpose built D2, Avenue de Chartres, to a roundabout where the A259 leaves. This then continues north to the Westgate roundabout before reverting to a single-carriageway city street back up to Northgate.
Section 3: Chichester - Birdham
There are actually two level crossings south of Southgate, one unclassified, but both lead you to the same place on the A286. The road then crosses the A27 at the Stockbridge roundabout. After passing through Stockbridge, crossing the Chichester Ship Canal and passing through Birdham the road comes to a roundabout just outside the village where the A286 ends, with the B2179 and B2198 continuing to West and East Wittering respectively.
South of Fernhurst the A286 used to run straight up the hill at Henley. This road is now unclassified and signed as unsuitable for motor vehicles heading up the hill as it is so steep.
Through Midhurst the A286 used to head down Knockhundred Row to South Street and then Chichester Road back to its current route. The new route uses Bepton Road and the imaginatively titled New Road, which runs on part of the old Pulborough - Petersfield railway line, along with the railway junction with the line from Chichester which ran where Holmbush Road is now.
Before the Ring Road was created the A286 used to pass straight through the middle of Chichester, down North Street to the Market Cross, and then straight down South Street and Southgate, past the court house to the existing level crossing, and hence to cross the A27 Chichester by-pass at what was then the Stockbridge traffic lights. Avenue de Chartres is new build as part of the ringroad, with the ringroad being built between 1958 and 1966.
The original southern end of the A286 was in the centre of Chichester, on the then-A27. It was extended along the B2179 to West Wittering in the 1930s but this number was returned to some of the road later - a 1979 map shows the A286 terminating, as now, at Birdham at the junction with the B2198 (with no roundabout at the junction then).
Part of the plans for upgrading the A27 Chichester bypass include a new single-carriageway link road from the Fishbourne roundabout to south of Stockbridge, bypassing the A286 through Stockbridge and its current roundabout with the A27, which may be removed. The assumption could be made that the A286 would then multiplex with the A259 along Via Ravenna to the Fishbourne roundabout.