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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (13)
From:  Wincanton (ST696276)
To:  Durweston (ST863086)
Distance:  19.5 miles (31.4 km)
Meets:  A371, B3145, A30, A3030, B3092, A350
Former Number(s):  A355
Old route now:  A371, B3081
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Dorset • Somerset

Traditional Counties

Dorset • Somerset

Route outline (key)
A357 Cannard's Grave - Wincanton
A357 Wincanton (W) - Durweston


The A357 from Wincanton to Durweston (near Blandford Forum) must rate as one of the least improved A roads in the country, but then most roads in these parts of Somerset and Dorset are fairly poor. It has several single-lane sections, only one of which (a river bridge) has been sorted out, and passes through a number of towns and villages, with narrow, winding street.

Wincanton - Durweston


The A357 starts to the west of Wincanton, at a junction with the A371. The 1922 listing shows the road starting near Shepton Mallet, but the A371 was extended from Shepton Mallet to Wincanton to take over the A357. There does not appear to be any particular reason why this change took place as the A371 makes a right-angle turn in Shepton to achieve this classification. The A371 then takes another right-angle turn at its junction with the A357 to run for another mile before joining up to the A303, although this is a more recent change.

The A357 immediately passes under the A303 and runs for around 3.5 miles before coming to Templecombe. Passing under a low railway bridge, we go through the narrow High Street. Shortly after leaving Templecombe, we have a section of single-lane road with traffic lights to control the flow. Coming into Henstridge and the crossroads with the A30, we have a second section of traffic-light-controlled single-lane road, which makes progress through the junction terribly slow at times.

Through Henstridge and then Stalbridge (both narrow in places), we come to a TOTSO T-junction. The A357 takes the right (westwards) turning, whilst the left is a minor road. On the ground, it looks like the road used to go straight on; this is now a private drive and has never been a classified road. We then have a long 270-degree turn and come to Lydlinch Common and the junction with the A3030 to Sherborne.

The A3030 and the rest of the A357 towards Blandford used to be the A355, but that number is now used for the Amersham to Windsor road. How it got over there is anyone's guess.

Shortly after the A3030 junction, we have a short section of dual carriageway, although each carriageway is single lane. This is where a narrow river bridge has had a second bridge added to avoid the narrow section. The newer, Blandford bound bridge is a steel girder affair, reminiscent of an army Bailey bridge.

Next we come to the traffic-light-controlled junction with the B3092 road to Sturminster Newton. Traffic lights are only there because of the narrow bridge over the River Stour for the B3092, which is immediately north of the junction.

This is the route I have always taken to get to the Blandford Steam Fair, and to make the journey even more enjoyable, my brother always calls it Sturton Newminster, or some other twisted name, while we laugh as we look out for the blind people at the summit a little way further along. Sad isn't it?

We then pass through the very pretty town of Shillingstone, which is a long strip development along the A352. Shortly after that, we pass through the village of Durweston, over the river Stour and to the junction with the A350 around 1.5 miles north of Blandford Forum. Just as at Sturminster Newton, the bridge is narrow, so the whole junction is traffic-light-controlled.

It is interesting to note that for its entire route (including the original route to Shepton), the A357 parallels the famous Somerset and Dorset railway and is never more than a mile away from it. Closed in the 1960s, this railway was similar to the road in that is was narrow in places, passed through numerous small towns and villages, was twisty and hilly, and in dire need of improvement.

Original Author(s): Jim Cobb


The original line of the A357 through Wincanton

While sharing some of the same route, the current A357 is very different to that identified in the 1922 Road Lists. The original route give the A357 number started at Cannard's Grave to the south of Shepton Mallet. It then passed through Bruton before detouring to the east to pass through Wincanton. After heading west again the original route meets the current route. At the southern end the road terminated at Lydlinch, between Stalbridge and Sturminster Newton.

However, all of this was to change in 1935 when, like so many other roads around the country, it was the subject of renumbering. As a result, the road changed from being a true Somerset lad with his toe in Dorset, to being a Dorset man keeping a watchful eye on Somerset! Almost all of the Somerset section was consumed by an extended A371, leaving the road to start on the A303 a couple of miles west of Wincanton (the A303 had taken over a section of the A357 in 1933 anyway), head south through Templecombe and across the border to Dorset. At the other end, over half of the former A355 was renumbered as the A357, taking this route all the way to the A350 at Durweston, just a couple of miles west of Blandford Forum.

Related Pictures
View gallery (13)
B3149-1959.jpgEnd of A357 - Coppermine - 20737.jpgDurweston Bridge - Geograph - 371889.jpgDurweston- old finger post - Geograph - 1318585.jpgShillingstone- road sign and sheep near Lamb House Farm - Geograph - 1752201.jpg
Other nearby roads
Shepton Mallet
A37 • A361 • A367 • A371 • B3081 • B3136 • Fosse Way
Blandford Forum
A300 • A301 • A302 • A303 • A304 • A305 • A306 • A307 • A308 • A309 • A310 • A311 • A312 • A313 • A314 • A315 • A316 • A317 • A318 • A319
A320 • A321 • A322 • A323 • A324 • A325 • A326 • A327 • A328 • A329 • A330 • A331 • A332 • A333 • A334 • A335 • A336 • A337 • A338 • A339
A340 • A341 • A342 • A343 • A344 • A345 • A346 • A347 • A348 • A349 • A350 • A351 • A352 • A353 • A354 • A355 • A356 • A357 • A358 • A359
A360 • A361 • A362 • A363 • A364 • A365 • A366 • A367 • A368 • A369 • A370 • A371 • A372 • A373 • A374 • A375 • A376 • A377 • A378 • A379
A380 • A381 • A382 • A383 • A384 • A385 • A386 • A387 • A388 • A389 • A390 • A391 • A392 • A393 • A394 • A395 • A396 • A397 • A398 • A399
St Peters Way  Motorways: A308(M) • A329(M)  Earlier Itineraries: A303 • A326 • A331 • A333 • A341 • A346 • A355 • A364 • A369 • A374 • A378 • A392 • A397

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