|Distance:||26.9 miles (43.3 km)|
|Meets:||A36, A303, A3028, B3085, A342, B3087, B3052, A4|
|Former Number(s):||A338, B3087|
|Old route now:||A338, A346, A419, A4259, B4006, A4311|
|Route outline (key)|
Salisbury – Marlborough
The route starts off at a roundabout with the A36 Salisbury Ring Road and heads north to the prehistoric hill fort of Old Sarum at the edge of town. From here, it's a nice fast run across the plain, along the side of the Avon Valley. The road runs close to Boscombe Down Airfield, which is one of the most important RAF airfields in the country, and one place that's likely to land you in big trouble if you get out and start taking photos of the scenery!
Having passed around Boscombe Down, there's a descent to Amesbury, the nearest town to Stonehenge. The famous megaliths lie a few miles to the west of here. Meanwhile, the A345 passes through the town and at the other side crosses over the A303 at a large roundabout at Countess. This is the first at-grade junction that the A303 meets travelling westbound from the M3 - nearly 30 miles away. If / when the tunnel under Stonehenge takes place, there are plans to remove the existing visitor "facilities" and move them here.
From here, the A345 runs past more MOD activity at Larkhill and runs back onto the down, following the Avon Valley again, though there are numerous more buildings and villages along this section. It snakes its way along the valley through Netheravon to Upavon, where it meets the A342 on its own journey over the plain, and crosses the Avon to the north of the village. Then there's a straight run into Pewsey.
Beyond Pewsey, there's a view of Oare Hill to the north, which the A345 heads up to and climbs over. Then it runs along the hill and descends sharply just before entering Marlborough, where it meets the A4 at the bottom of the hill and terminates.
The history of the A345 is somewhat involved, especially as the road does not follow its original route at all.
In 1935 the road was rerouted south of Marlborough. The old road became the A346 and a short section of A338. Meanwhile the A345 took over the B3087 to Pewsey and then the original line of the A338 into Salisbury.
Construction of the A419 Swindon bypass in the 1950s extended the A345 along that road's old route through Swindon itself. It met the A361 in the town centre where the Magic Roundabout is now, after which there was a brief multiplex, before the A345 continued to its terminus back on the A419 near Broad Blunsdon.
The road north of Marlborough has since been downgraded. It's now an extension of the A346 as far as the M4 and then the A417 from there to that road's original route. The section through Swindon is hard to follow - but starts as the A4259 and ends as the A4311.