|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||11.8 miles (19 km)|
|Meets:||A308(M), A308, A3095, A332, A329, A30|
|Route outline (key)|
Following a recent boundary change at the Sunningdale end, the entire eleven-mile length of the A330 now lies in Berkshire - most of it is in the Unitary Authority of Bracknell Forest, although both ends are under the care of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead. The logic behind its existence is difficult to fathom. Most traffic in the area runs across it - indeed it yields priority to almost every other classified road (A or B) that it encounters - in fact given the junction layouts it should be subordinate to two of the B roads it multiplexes with. However, the road must have been important at one time as it still follows its 1922 route.
Maidenhead - Sunningdale
In fact, the title to this piece is misleading - the A330 does not go into the centre of either Maidenhead or Sunningdale. It starts on the outskirts of Maidenhead, at Bray, famous for its Vicar, who is celebrated in the famous ballad for his flexible religious convictions which allowed him to remain there throughout the ecclesiastical upheavals of thirty years during the late Stuart period – there were four changes of monarch between 1685 and 1714:
And this is law I will maintain
Until my dying day, sir,
That whatsoever King shall reign,
I'll be Vicar of Bray, sir.
The A330 starts at the roundabout on the A308 that also marks the beginning of the A308(M) - a spur off the M4. If you want to get to Ascot or Sunningdale in a hurry, this is the last you will see of the A330, as AA Autoroute suggest routes further west or east. We purists will see you at the other end, as the A330 sets off in the unpromising direction of south westwards. Where the houses end, we cross over the M4. From the bridge can be seen the old alignment of the M4 diverging to the right as the motorway approaches Junction 8/9. This old alignment leads to what is now junction 9A of the A404(M) and is now severed by the A308(M). The new course of the M4 now runs parallel to the A330 for a few miles, but some distance away. Broad grass verges are noticeable as we pass through Holyport, multiplexing for a mile or so with the B3024 Windsor to Twyford road.
At Hawthorn Hill we turn towards the south east, meeting the A3095 road which leads to Bracknell and takes much of the traffic. After a meandering mile through rather open country for eastern Berkshire, we pick up a multiplex with the B3022 Bracknell to Windsor road, which we follow through the highly spread-out community of Winkfield. A mile further on, now officially in Cranbourne, the B3022 continues straight on for Windsor, whilst we have to turn off right in order to stay on the A330.
A few hundred yards further on, it happens again: the B3034 goes straight on and the A330 again turns right. We are now on another multiplex, the B3034 bearing off to the right towards Bracknell and Wokingham a little further on whilst the A330 now settles down to a southerly course.
However, it is not long before we encounter the A332 Windsor to Bagshot road, which requires us to negotiate a staggered junction with a double roundabout.
We are now at the northern corner of Ascot racecourse, which we follow on our right, until we cross the "straight course" and pass the grandstands to enter Ascot itself, where we meet the A329. There are no signs here to indicate that the A330 continues further, but if you turn right towards Bracknell, a roundabout appears on which signposts for the A330 reappear. Turning left here, and descending steeply past several car parks, normally empty except on race days, we arrive at Ascot railway station and continue parallel with the railway to pass under a low bridge.
Well-heeled suburbia follows through South Ascot, which being near the station is more dormitory and less to do with the racecourse up the hill, and after crossing the B3020 we at last reach journey's end. This is a T-junction on the A30 between Sunningdale and Windlesham, where we will no doubt find anyone who chose to make the journey via Bracknell or Windsor already waiting for us. According to AA Autoroute the meandering course of the A330 is not the most direct route between its two end points (they recommend a route via Fifield, further east). Indeed, on their timings it only takes an extra two minutes, and a lot easier route-finding, to travel using the M4 and A329, although it is twice as far.
Original Author(s): Tim Lidbetter