|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||53.5 miles (86.1 km)|
|Meets:||A396, A377, A3124, B3125, B3217, B3216, A386, A3079, A388, B3254, A39, A3073|
|Route outline (key)|
The A3072 is a long, meandering A-road running from Devon into north Cornwall.
Section 1: Bickleigh – Hatherleigh
The road starts by leaving the A396 just north of the bridge over the River Exe at Bickleigh. It runs roughly South West across hilly mid-Devon, passing no places of any size until it gets to Crediton, where it reaches the A377. The two roads then multiplex westbound for about 5 miles, before the A3072 turns off again at Copplestone. This is a strange junction: A377 traffic follows an elongated one-way system either side of the railway line, with the A3072 turning off at traffic lights to the west of the more southerly railway bridge. However, to stop eastbound A3072 traffic from having to do a full loop, this railway bridge is two-way - but needs to be controlled by the same set of lights as it is very narrow.
Heading west now, we pass through the village of Bow and then to the south of North Tawton along what appears to be a bypass (although the classified route has always gone this way). After passing a left-hand turning for the A3124, with which we then multiplex (the A3072 is dominant), we have to turn right at a TOTSO with the B3215 at Newland Cross. Next right then provides an unclassified shortcut to the northbound A3124, who otherwise have to double back on themselves at the following junction and then suffer the indignity of another TOTSO!
We now pass to the south of Sampford Courtenay, and then cross the B3217 at Exbourne. After a mile we also meet the B3216 at a TOTSO at Jacobstowe, which is actually the best route if you are staying on the A3072 to cross Devon. The road itself now dives south west once more, to reach the A386 at Lamerton Cross. Turning right gives you nearly three miles of multiplex to the B3216 (bet you wish you went that way now) and then another to Hatherleigh, where a roundabout just beyond the start of the town's bypass provides the start of the next section of A3072.
Section 2: Hatherleigh – Bude
From Hatherleigh, we set off westwards once more, between industrial estates and housing development. The road then takes a sharp left-hand bend in Highampton followed by a sweeping right at Beara Cross a mile further on. Passing to the south of Black Torrington and Holemoor, we reach the A3079, which joins from the left. Then about 3 miles further on we find the A388 at Holsworthy. After a short multiplex northwards along Chapel Street and Fore Street, the A3072 heads west again up Victoria Hill.
The next exciting thing to happen is that we cross the River Tamar into Cornwall. Shortly after, we cross the B3254 at a staggered crossroads and then we reach Stratton. After weaving through the outskirts of this small town, we meet the A39 at a crossroads. There is now a short multiplex southwards with the A39, then we turn off to enter Bude, where we meet the A3073 as both roads terminate.
The route from Bickleigh to Crediton was originally the B3214. From Copplestone to North Tawton it was the B3215, and then the B3216 to Jacobstowe. From there, the current route to the A386 used to be unclassified. The B3216 was picked up again in Hatherleigh and took us as far as Stratton, whilst the final section into Bude was numbered B3260.
The A3072 came into being in the mid-1920s by taking over the western part of the B3216, from Hatherleigh to Stratton. It had extended west into Bude by 1932 but appeared to remain unchanged in the 1935 renumberings. The road was not extended further east for a number of years but appears to have reached Bickleigh in one go, by the mid-1970s. It is not known why the road detoured from the B3216 west of Jacobstowe.