|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||23.4 miles (37.7 km)|
|Meets:||A37, A303, A371, A361|
|Route outline (key)|
Yeovil - Nunney
The A359 starts at a roundabout on the A37 just north of the A30 through route in Yeovil. The sign-posting is not terribly clear and only mentions the nearest villages. The road heads northwards and uphill out of town and then on through the villages of Mudford, Marston Magna and Queen Camel. The road has a large number of speed restrictions and zig-zags through Marston Magna and Queen Camel which, all in all, makes it very slow going.
The road now comes to a large roundabout with the A303. Unless you are intending to go on the A303, this roundabout should be avoided. At this point, going westwards, the dual carriageway Sparkford bypass feeds into a single carriageway section, so it is very difficult to get onto the roundabout. To make matters worse, you have to almost go all the way around the roundabout because the two exits for the A359 are on the south-easterly side of the roundabout. Instead, just before the roundabout signs, there is the original route of the road off the to right and this is the way you should go. You have a short stretch of unclassified road and then you are back onto the A359. Alternatively, you could use the A303 to bypass Sparkford, but that kind of misses the point!
The A359 passes through Sparkford and then under the A303. Just past the A303 bridge, there is a eastwards only junction with the A303 and so if you want to go east on from the A359 to the A303, it is actually easier to go through Sparkford, join the road here and avoid the roundabout at the end of the Sparkford bypass. Just past this junction is the Haynes Motor Museum which has a large collection of motor vehicles and is very interesting, if you are into such things.
North from Sparkford, the A359 is a much better road than the first section, with few speed restrictions and no villages. After a few miles, the B3152 turns off to the left into Castle Cary, and then you come to the staggered crossroads with the A371, which has priority, and then a few miles after that, the town of Bruton. Bruton (town on the River Brue) is at the bottom of a steep-sided valley and has some very narrow streets.
In the centre of town the A359 becomes a one-way system because the roads are so narrow. In many places, there is not enough room to pass stopped buses or unloading lorries, so it can be a little frustrating. Frome-bound traffic uses the two-way Cole Road up to the junction with Shute Lane, where it becomes one-way along the narrow High Street. There are many beautiful old buildings along this road, some very old and re-faced in the 17th and 18th Centuries.
At the end of the High Street, we have to give way to the two-way Patwell Street, which curves down the hill. On the left, the B3081 from Evercreech joins. Straight ahead is the Frome Road, but let's just complete our tour of Bruton and turn right. Despite having to give way Frome-bound, I believe that the road is immediately one-way down the hill to the T-junction with Silver Street. Here, the A359 turns to the right, after crossing the Brue Bridge, while the B3081 joins from the left, giving way. A359 traffic therefore also gets priority on the left turn into the B3081.
Silver Street, and Plox beyond are all one-way along the southern side of the river, back to the start of the town. Along the way, we pass the Kings School and Sexeys School, with Bruton School further back at Pitcombe. Kings and Bruton are both private.
On leaving Bruton, the next few miles are reasonably good, with only the village of Wanstrow to slow you down. Finally, you come to the roundabout with the A361 at Nunney and the end of the A359.
The 1922 Road Lists say that the A359 went to Frome, which is only a few miles north-west of Nunney. However, the 1923 MOT map shows it finishing in the same place as it does now, so "Frome" must have been shorthand for "Nunney". Traffic for Frome is directed onto the A361.
So, the A359 from Yeovil to Frome (ish). The stretch from Yeovil to the A303 at Sparkford is best avoided, but the rest is okay. It would make an okay 'B' road, but it is not really suitable as an 'A' road.
Original Author(s): Jim Cobb