|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||31.1 miles (50 km)|
|Meets:||A3054, A3020, A3056, A3054|
|Former Number(s):||B3325, A3020, B3329, A3023|
|Old route now:||B3399, B3329|
|Route outline (key)|
The A3055 is the southern half of the Isle of Wight's 'Ring Road'. Since 2010, it has been cut in two following a collapsed section along the south coast, making access problematic.
Totland - Chale
The road starts at a roundabout in Totland, which is also the end of the B3322 and the A3054. The latter forms the northern half of the 'Ring Road'; it has the same end points as the A3055 but follows a straighter, shorter route.
The A3055 starts by heading eastwards and merges seamlessly into Freshwater. There is a short one-way system in the town centre with eastbound traffic following the main street and westbound traffic the back street. After the two directions rejoin the road passes the local sports centre and eventually manages to leave town. The B3399 (which follows a similar route to ours but further inland) turns off to the left after which we continue on to the south coast and a T-junction at Freshwater Bay. The sea is hidden from us here but it soon becomes visible as we TOTSO left and climb onto the cliffs.
The road now follows the coast for some distance. Sometimes the road appears to run on the clifftop and sometimes it turns inland but the English Channel is always only a short distance away. A clifftop car park is passed at Shippards Chine and the road almost returns to sea level at Brook Bay before turning inland to skirt the village of Brook itself. The road now continues parallel to the coast, with sharp eyes needed to spot the sea, before passing to the south of Brightstone. As the road continues on it now returns to the coast very, very gradually.
Chale - Shanklin
The other end of the B3399 is met by the church in Chale. Returning to the open fields and the clifftop, the road soon bends sharply left, with the road ahead signed as a no through road. Following this will lead to a fence, beyond which is a sheer drop; this is actually the original line of the A3055 which was abandoned due to the cliff collapsing. The present road bears left to reach a roundabout serving Blackgang (which was originally on the road) before following an inland route across the fields. The road shortly reaches Niton where it plugs back into the old road network by the church. As the road joins the village streets it needs a one-way loop, with eastbound traffic having to TOTSO right onto the High Street, then left as it joins the westbound route, which itself uses the third side of the triangle. Prior to the construction of the A3055 into the village the north-south High Street was the main road through the village.
The A3055 continues south through the outskirts of Niton, bearing left just before the edge of the village to rejoin the abandoned route, which now only goes as far as a car park. The road itself continues east along a pleasant wooded section with the sea nowhere to be seen. It isn't long, however, before we reach a "Road Closed" sign - the cliffs collapsed here in the 2010s (although they had been threatening to for a number of years beforehand) and the road is now impassible.
The road reappears on the western edge of St Lawrence and runs between the coast and the main street, remaining semi-urban or urban until it reaches Ventnor. The road zigzags through the town centre (with one street actually called Zig Zag Road) before the narrow streets necessitate a one-way loop. Eastbound traffic continues straight along the High Street whilst westbound traffic follows the other three sides of the rectangle to the south. The road climbs steeply out of town, meeting the B3327 at a switchback loop before running halfway up the cliff above the suburb of Bonchurch. The road then follows a zigzag route inland, avoiding Luccombe Village; it seems as if the road has been diverted once more following a landslip but if this is true it happened before classification.
Shanklin - Ryde
A winding rural section leads to Shanklin. The A3020 is met at traffic lights in the town centre and then the road runs along the High Street; in this case there is no one-way system. As the road leaves town it gets closer to the coast once more, crossing the island's railway line at almost the last possible moment. The road now descends into Lake, where it meets the A3056 at traffic lights and then bears sharply right to climb, passing under the railway line, to the clifftop, although as the road is urban the sea is difficult to spot.
The road continues northwards through the suburbs of Sandown. The B3329 turns off at traffic lights towards the town centre and we run along Broadway to the west. Presently a mini-roundabout is reached at the other end of the B3329 and we turn left. We go under the railway line almost immediately; the bridge is controlled by traffic lights despite being wide enough to be S2 as there is a road to the left immediately afterwards. We bend to the right and follow the railway northwards, soon reaching Brading. We follow New Road before bending sharply right into the High Street.
After reentering open country we go over the railway once again before the B3330 (for the east coast) turns off to the right at traffic lights. Now on the road's last stretch, there is a final rural mile or so before we pass a golf course and reach the outskirts of Ryde. We head into town along Marlborough Road then zigzag into East Hill Road and descend towards the town centre. On reaching the B3326 we bear sharply right to reach the coast once more and bear left onto the Esplanade, which becomes an intermittent dual carriageway at the next roundabout. We pass the hovercraft terminal, after which the outbound A3054 turns off to the left, poorly signed for through traffic. The A3055 continues past Ryde Esplanade station before the inbound A3054 comes in from the left just by the pier. The A3055 is now forced to U-turn and so ends here, with the pier and the station only accessible by eastbound traffic.
The A3055 came into being in the mid-1920s when the western half of the island gained some Class I roads. The original route of the road was a simple upgrade of the B3325 between Totland and Lake, between Shanklin and Sandown; the road ended there on the original line of the A3020. However, this road followed a more inland route via Shorwell (what is now the B3399), meeting its current route in Chale and then running closer to the coast along a road now lost to erosion.
In 1935 the A3055 was extended eastwards along the A3020 to Sandown and then the A3023 to Ryde. After World War II the road gained its current coastal route in the west of the island, with the old route gaining the B3399 number then. In more recent years the road has been rerouted away from Sandown town centre by the simple means of swapping numbers with the B3329 through town. Erosion aside, this gave the A3055 its current route.