|Distance:||11.2 miles (18 km)|
|Meets:||A36, M27, A336, A35, B3054, B3053|
|Route outline (key)|
The A326 came into being in the 1970s as a new road replacing the B3053 to serve Fawley Oil Refinery, in conjunction with the old railway branch line being taking out of general service.
In the mid nineties, the A326 was extended north to meet the M27 and A36 near Ower. It follows the Totton Western Bypass on a nice dual section, before reducing to single carriageway as it meets the A336 on a roundabout. A mile or so later, it widens back up to dual as it passes under the A35 at a limited access junction. There is no access from the westbound A35 as this runs on a spur to the east (along the 1970s line of the A326), which meets the A326 just as the dual carriageway runs out.
The A326 continues as single carriageway, though quite wide, although the dominance of tankers along this road can easily hold up traffic. It wanders through woodland past Marchwood until it meets the old road to Hythe at a roundabout. From here it heads alongside the edge of the New Forest where it meets the B3054 to Beaulieu, and collects the old Hythe road shortly afterwards.
The final section of road runs through the villages of Hardley and Holbury, where the view of the oil terminal is cunningly disguised behind large hedges. The actual terminus of the A326 is a bit ambiguous. Maps and signage now seems to claim that the end is at the next roundabout - but as late as the 1990s the road apparently continued ahead into Fawley itself and enter the refinery just after passing the church. Regardless, the road ahead is soon the remaining section of the B3053, which continues all the way to Calshot - good for sailing and kite flying.
Original Author(s): Ritchie Swann