|From:||Henley on Thames (SU761828)|
|Length:||17.8 miles (28.6 km)|
|Meets:||A4130, A4, A3032, A329, A3095, A30, A331|
|Old route now:||B3411, B3012, A324, B3032, B380, A322|
|Route outline (key)|
As a whole, the A321 was probably a nice drive all the way when the numbers were first given out, but extensive housing and development along most of its route, and the appearance of the M4, A329(M) and A331 have removed most of its importance. Nevertheless, the sections south of Henley, between Wokingham and Sandhurst, and the old road between Frimley Green and Pirbright are still a nice drive.
Henley - Blackwater
The A321 starts at a set of lights with the A4130 at the edge of the Henley Bridge. It then runs along the Thames Valley to Wargrave, and is quite a picturesque drive. It meets the A4 at a roundabout and carries on into the centre of Twyford.
From here it crosses over the railway, where immediately afterwards there's then a TOTSO with the B3018. The original road used a now-removed level crossing on the far side of the station. The A321 takes a sharp right past the station and then continues southwards to run through Hurst, running through flat fields.
Following this, the A321 crosses over the M4, and then, shortly afterwards, the A329(M). There used to be a temporary T-junction here, but it's long been replaced by a simple bridge. Neither motorway can be accessed from here, you have to dog-leg round to either Bracknell or Winnersh to get on.
The A321 then runs straight into the nightmare that is the Wokingham one way system that confuses me to this day. Amongst the maze of routes it takes, it manages to cross / multiplex with the A329 and head under the railway out of the town. There's then a nice fast road through thick forest towards the Wellingtonia Avenue, aka the B3348. The A321, meanwhile, carries on through the forest to emerge at Sandhurst, where it swings under the railway.
The A3095 used to terminate here, but has now been moved further up the road to meet the A321 at College Town. Originally the main road went straight on here towards the Royal Military Academy, but nowadays the A321 TOTSOs with the A3095 to the right and runs past the Meadows Shopping Centre. It terminates soon after at Blackwater with a complex, multi-lane roundabout with the A30 and A331.
The remainder of the A321 has now been downgraded following the completion of the A331, but it used to run on the now-B3411 through Frimley and Frimley Green, running close to Lakeside Country Club (home of darts) and right next to the former site of Matthew Corbett Limited (home of Sooty). It then ran through Mytchett and Ash Vale, crossed the Basingstoke Canal, and terminated on the A323 just east of Ash. However, even that route is fairly new - the A321 was only routed onto this in the mid seventies. The road was previously the A3013 and part of the A3011.
The real original route followed the above to Frimley Green then ran on the current B3012 over the Basingstoke Canal to the south of Deepcut. It continued along a rather fun bit of road with plenty of twists and turns before swinging under the railway at Curzon Bridge. It then ran close to the railway before meeting the A324 at a set of traffic lights - there's still a scrubbed out A321 sign here to this day. However, during the 1920s and 1930s, this part of the A321 wasn't classified as such in certain places where it crossed into MoD private land along Pirbright Common (this can be seen on the 1927-28 MOT Map Sheet 34 and the 1932 Ten Mile Sheet 2).
It then ran through Pirbright, close to Brookwood Cemetery (though out of sight of the village) and then continued on what is now the B3032 (for years after downgrading, A324 had a TOTSO here before a roundabout was installed around 2000) to Fox Corner. It then took over the route of what is now the A322 all the way to Guildford. It met the A323 at Woodbridge Hill, and continued along Woodbridge Road, which at the time was a through route with no other junctions since the A3 since went through the centre of town. It ended on the A31 after crossing the River Wey at a junction with Farnham Road and Park Street, both then part of the A31.
The northern end of the A321 has also been moved. It originally started in Wokingham and was extended north along the B3029 to the edge of Henley on Thames by 1926.