|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||East Cowes (SZ500956)|
|To:||near Wootton Common (SZ522919)|
|Distance:||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Meets:||Ferry, B3321, B3321, A3054|
|Route outline (key)|
The A3021 is a short road at a total length of 3 miles, but one which is very important as the only main road in and out of East Cowes, which distributes traffic from the Red Funnel terminal to the rest of the island.
East Cowes - Wootton Common
The road starts as a one-way system on the eastern side of the Cowes Floating Bridge across the River Medina into Cowes proper, to reach the A3020. The A3021 carries traffic through the small area of shops towards a mini-roundabout and up the hill towards St. James's Church. You can then choose to follow the road up to the left out of East Cowes, or turn right and head back into the town, towards the car ferry terminal entrance and the Floating Bridge.
Following the main line around to the left you are then confronted with a long hill that takes you to the top of the Medina valley and past Osborne House, once the summer home of Queen Victoria. York Avenue (a lot of the streets in East Cowes are named after members of the Royal Family) then changes its name to Whippingham Road as you pass the Daihatsu garage.
We now leave East Cowes and continue on towards Newport and Ryde in a fairly straight line on what was once an NSL S2, but has now been cut to a 40 limit, complete with "Twenty's Plenty" signing for the adjacent primary school. A new housing estate is also currently being built, which includes a new roundabout (and quite a large one by Isle of Wight standards) at this location.
Past the old road to the Folly Inn and "Whippingham Chute", as it's colloquially known, the road finally changes to NSL and dives under a canopy of trees. There is a bit of a slog up and over yet another hill, and dropping down the other side the speed limit is reduced to 50 as the road screeches to a halt at the Racecourse Roundabout, meeting the A3054 (former A3022), which heads east to Ryde and west to Newport.
Originally, the A3021 didn't go to Racecourse Roundabout, but instead headed towards Newport between Alverstone Cross and Binfield Corner. The bit of Whippenham Road between Alverstone Cross and Palmers Brook was upgraded to Class I, becoming a spur of the A3054, some time after WW2. More recently, East Cowes Road was stopped up at Binfield Corner and downgraded, with all traffic rerouted via Racecourse Roundabout. Current OS 1:10k mapping shows the bit of A3021 south of Alverstone Cross as A3054 and signs at Racecourse Roundabout mark it as (A3021), suggesting that the A3021 didn't take over the A3054 spur.
Apart from this, the A3021 is virtually unchanged since classification in 1922 - and given that the road map of the Isle of Wight was more-or-less redrawn in 1924 and again in 1935, that's an achievement.