|From:||Beare Green (TQ176428)|
|To:||Bognor Regis (SU934000)|
|Distance:||35.1 miles (56.5 km)|
|Meets:||A24, B2126, A281, A264, A272, B2133, A283, B2138, A284, B2139, B2132, A27, B2233, A259, B2166|
|Old route now:||B2166|
|Route outline (key)|
The runt of the A2x roads, as if the 1922 Committee were trying to find something vaguely important to assign to the number. Two thousand years ago, however, what was to become largely the A29 was an important Roman road (Stane Street) from Londinium (London) to Noviomagus (Chichester).
Section 1: Beare Green - Billingshurst
We start at a roundabout on the A24 at Beare Green about 5 miles south of Dorking. The signs point – even from here – to Bognor, which is no longer a primary destination. Perhaps this is why the road is mapped as non-primary for its entire length, although there are quite a few green signs suggesting parts were formerly primary. The road trundles in a narrow kind of way through Ockley where we pick up the Roman line for a mile or so before veering to the left to approach the A24 again. At this point we are joined on the left by an unclassified road from Kingsfold which was also numbered A29 forty years ago: London-bound traffic evidently used to be encouraged to cut across to the A24 here to avoid Ockley, as you could almost say that this first section of the A29 is redundant as a through route. Be that as it may, we are now going south-west until we multiplex for a short distance with the A281 via a dogleg and a couple of smallish roundabouts. The number of the multiplex is undecided: it is signed as A29 in this direction but as the A281 going the other way. Turning left at the second of these roundabouts just south of Rowhook and we are on Stane Street proper again, which we follow for the next 13 miles. Between here and Billingshurst the carriageway is naturally straight, and raised up in characteristic Roman fashion on an agger. At Five Oaks the road from Horsham, these days the A264 (also no longer primary), sidles in from the east, and then it's on to Billingshurst, which the A29 now bypasses to the west, at one point passing beneath a rather striking footbridge. This is on the old line of the A272 here, with the new A29 in a cutting. The new line of the A272 is crossed just before this at a roundabout; and we have the odd phenomenon of the primary A272 passing through the village whilst the secondary A29 is given a bypass.
Section 2: Billingshurst - Fontwell
Back on the Roman Road after Billingshurst it is once again very straight from here to Pulborough, where, having swept over the Arun Vally railway line, there is a double mini-roundabout junction with the A283. Again as with the A281 junctions it is the A29 that makes a right then left, with the more minor road getting to pass straight through. The road crosses the River Arun immediately south of here on a hump-backed bridge. Now the road sweeps back over the railway while Stane Street runs slightly to the west leaving the A29 altogether at Watersfield. The A29 takes a tight left at the B2138 before heading directly south along the edge of Bury. There is then a sweeping S2+1 section up Bury Hill, one of the steepest climbs in West Sussex. The South Downs Way is then crossed and there are stunning views across the Arun valley here. A roundabout is reached at Whiteways Lodge with the feeling of a TOTSO for the A284 leads straight ahead to Arundel and the right turn is the B2139 through Amberley to Storrington. The A29 is the third exit which runs along Fairmile Bottom and then bypasses the village of Slindon, reaching the A27 at Fontwell.
Section 3: Fontwell - Bognor Regis
Here there is short a mulitplex along the dual-carriageway - and primary - A27, turning south at another roundabout. From here to Bognor the A29 seems even less important than it has done so far, at least in its construction. It passes through Eastergate and Westergate, where it multiplexes with the B2233, which again has the straight route while the A29 takes a right-left. There is only one roundabout here, however, and so the A29 has priority at the fork at the end of the multiplex.. There is then a level-crossing with the South Coastway line. Just south of Shripney the road becomes a D2 and reaches a further roundabout. This section will likely form part of the Bognor Regis Relief Road, with the eastern section joining just north of here and the western section leaving at this roundabout. Continuing as D2 to the next roundabout, the road is now in Bognor and terminates, back as a single-carriageway now, on the A259.
A large part of the route follows the Roman Road of Stane Street.
Aside from the Billingshurst Bypass, opened in September 1999, a short section that has been straightened at Coldwaltham, and a bypass of Fontwell with the A27, the A29 runs almost exactly on its original 1922 route.
The original southern end of the A29 was in its current position, at Upper Bognor on what was originally the B2143, but soon to become an extended A259. By 1926, it had been extended along to the seafront and the B2166, though this has subsequently been downgraded again with the rerouting of that road.