|Length:||34.7 miles (55.8 km)|
|Meets:||A34, A4, A343, A340, A33, A3010, A30, M3, A31|
|Route outline (key)|
The A339 is a cross-country A-road in Berkshire and Hampshire.
Section 1: Newbury - Basingstoke
The A339 has been moved around Newbury several times since its original designation in 1922. This road recently gained a 6-mile extension at its start following the completion in 1998 of the A34 Newbury bypass and the decision to re-number the old A34 through the town as the A339. Ironically, the old A34 had previously cut nearly 3 miles from the route, following its diversion off Greenham Common in the 1940s. The A339 now starts by forking off from the A34 just one mile south of M4 J13 at Chieveley and heads south into Newbury passing straight over a roundabout for the newly constructed global headquarters of Vodafone on the left.
Entering Newbury, one encounters the Robin Hood roundabout which is a gyratory system for the junction with the A4 (east to Thatcham, Reading and west to Hungerford) and the B4009 (north-east to Hermitage). It is an hourglass-shaped signal-controlled roundabout, with the unusual feature that the exit for the northbound A339 comes from the inside of the roundabout and then flies over to head off north to the M4.
Continuing south through Newbury, you will cross the River Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal, then pass straight over King's Road roundabout, then cross the main rail line from Paddington to Devon and Cornwall, then pass straight over Queen's Road roundabout (where you can turn left to get to Newbury Racecourse and where the original 1926 start of the road lies under new roundabout tarmac) and then pass straight over Pinchington Lane roundabout. Up until here the road has been D2, but now becomes single carriageway with one lane southbound downhill and two lanes northbound uphill.
This then brings us to the Swan roundabout which was the starting point for the A339 following the opening of Greenham Common base. The old A34 continues off the south as the B4640 (numbered out-of-zone, something that the A34 seems to bring about) while the A339 bears south-east as one-lane single carriageway for the next 12 miles. There have been three new roundabouts constructed here (c. 2001) each about 200 yards apart, two of which give access to New Greenham Park. This is a newly developed commercial estate on land which was the Greenham Common Air Base, once the location of Britain's nuclear missiles. The A339 directly passes outside the main gate where the Greenham peace women used to camp and protest at the height of the CND movement in the 1980s.
Until the building of the Airbase on Greenham Common, the A339 was routed through Stroud Green, and cut straight across the common, rejoining the current route at this point. This track can still be seen on OS maps and aerial photographs of the Common.
We then cross the River Enborne and leave Berkshire to enter Hampshire. The road becomes more twisty through the village of Headley and takes a sharp corner by the Star Inn before entering Kingsclere. The A339 used to pass directly through the village although a one-lane dual carriageway bypass was constructed in the 1970s which now takes traffic around the northern side and features a staggered junction with the B3051 with a wide central reservation for cars waiting to turn. Upon leaving Kingsclere behind, the A339 resumes its meander through some pleasant rolling hills and offers an overtaking chance with a second southbound lane on a 1/2 mile uphill stretch. Northbound is single file all the way from Basingstoke to Newbury.
The driver then approaches Basingstoke and after the first roundabout the A339 becomes D2. The second roundabout appears awkwardly positioned and does not offer good views of traffic on its approach. This is the start of the Basingstoke Ring Road. This is where the A340 Western Ringway heads off to the right. The A339 continues eastwards and becomes the Northern Ringway multiplexing with the A340 until its exit to the left at the first GSJ towards Aldermaston. The A339 continues around the corner of Basingstoke with further GSJs for the A33 towards Reading and the A3010, a spur road heading into Basingstoke town centre. The junctions with the A340 and A33 were initially built with an elevated roundabout and space for the as yet unbuilt flyovers. However, the decision was later taken to finish off the GSJs which were completed in the early 1990s.
Traffic then reaches the Black Dam roundabout which is a signal controlled roundabout with the A30 (east to Camberley, west for the Southern Ringway and to Winchester). Straight on will take you onto the spur for the M3 at J6. The A339 itself is the junior partner in a multiplex with the A30 along the Southern Ringway for about one mile, and then re-appears turning off southwards towards Alton.
Distance of A339 from Newbury (A34 Chieveley) to Basingstoke (A30 Black Dam) = 20 miles.
Original Author(s): Martin-A34
Section 2: Basingstoke - Alton
The A339 heads south from the ringway, initially as D2, then switching to single carriageway at the next roundabout. A couple of hundred yards later we cross under the M3, where a minor road goes off to the left at the start of another short section of dual carriageway. The next right is the B3042 towards New Alresford.
Once free of the urban sprawl of Basingstoke, the road is really a very nice drive through rolling countryside. We continue heading south. We skirt to the west of Hackwood House and Park, the farmland interspersed by significant areas of woodland. The road is quite hilly in character, though at Herriard, everything levels out as we pass Herriard Park and Herriard House.
We then descend gradually, following the contours around Lasham Hill and airfield, as we meet to route of the old Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway, and use its cuttings to avoid crossing the airfield, the route taken by the road prior to 1940. We then follow the valley south-eastwards, the valley sides becoming quite steep and wooded on the approach to Alton. We stay well outside the town centre, skirting the south-western flank of the town to arrive at our terminus - a partial cloverleaf on the A31.
Original Author(s): Simon Davies