|From:||Bower Hinton (ST457170)|
|Length:||21.8 miles (35.1 km)|
|Meets:||A303, A30, A3066, A37|
|Former Number(s):||B3165, A37|
|Route outline (key)|
The A356 is a cross-country A-road in the West Country.
Bower Hinton - Grimstone
The road begins on the A303 between Yeovil and Ilminster at a grade-separated diamond-style interchange, with the B3165 heading north through Martock. The A356 passes under the A303, before heading south along flat land, bypassing the villages of Norton Sub Hamdon and Chiselborough, both of which are situated on the hills to our left. We then pass between two hills, separating the villages of Merriott and West Chinnock before climbing up to meet the A30 at Crewkerne. All of this first stretch was originally the B3165, which now multiplexes with the A356.
In Crewkerne, we meet the A30 at a mini roundabout at the Market Square, with a one-way northbound link passing to the far side of the Market House. We turn right, with all three roads now multiplexing down Market Street. The A365 departs to the left, down South Street, while the B3165 continues ahead down Hermitage Street, and the A30 turns right into the one-way South Street. Market Street is only two-way as far as the A356, forcing traffic from the B3165 to travel round the town centre one-way system, despite being able to see traffic emerging from the A356 and turning right just a few yards away!
South Street leads south east, out of the town and so to Misterton, on the far side of which we cross the A3066, then across the county boundary into Dorset and through South Perrott, climbing up to Winyard's Gap. We then run southeastwards along the crest of a long ridge - the road is now straight and visibility is generally very good. We pass Rampisham Transmission Station, home of at least 25 transmission towers in a perimeter of some 3 miles. Then we enter a valley and descend to Tollerford and Maiden Newton in the valley of the River Frome, which we follow to Grimstone and our terminus on the A37.
Original Author(s): Simon Davies
The original A356 to Crewkerne was a somewhat different route, starting further west on the A358 (later A303, now bypassed) at Lopen Head - now a roundabout serving unclassified roads. It ran down Hollow Lane, did a dogleg across the Fosse Way and so through the village of Lopen. It then passed Merriott to the west, along Broadway, before reaching the B3165 at Broadshard.
The original east end of the A356 was at Maiden Newton where it met the A37. When that road was rerouted away from the village the A356 was extended to meet it at Grimstone.