|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Shepton Mallet (ST629466)|
|Distance:||16.4 miles (26.4 km)|
|Meets:||A4, A3062, A362, A37|
|Former Number(s):||Fosse Way|
|Route outline (key)|
The A367 is a cross-country road in north Somerset, heading from Bath across the Mendips, and less important than it used to be.
Bath - Radstock
The A367 in Bath is a confusing thing. The maps now generally only mark Monmouth Place as being A367 at the northern end, despite this being a one-way street. Its counterpart is the unclassified James Street West. In the past Chapel Row leading to the A4 at Queen Square in Bath was also part of the A367, though you'd never have known because there was no sign, and it is not clear if this is still the case or not. Wherever it starts, we initially head south on Charles Street before curving eastwards on Green Park Road to briefly follow the River Avon.
The one-way system around Avon Street has changed in the last few years and the A367 now cuts a new line across the old coach station (which still survives, at half the size to the north of the road) and so follows Corn Street which previously terminated on Avon Street. Corn Street continues into the city centre, but latterly for southbound traffic only, with north/westbound traffic staying on the old riverside line before turning north up Ambury to Corn Street. As Corn Street turns south down ST James' Parade, the peculiar Somerset Street sits on the right. Due to the one-way system, this short dead end appears to be lined for driving on the right in order to remove conflict of turning traffic, but there are no subsequent give way markings on the street, and the centre line runs from the 'wrong way round' traffic island.
At length we cross the Avon on the Churchill (Southgate) Bridge, and run straight into a strange elongated roundabout also known as Churchill Bridge where the A36 crosses. The main London-Bristol railway line also crosses this roundabout east-west on a bridge designed by Brunel, but since altered to fit the roundabout in. We next climb up Wells Road to Bear Flat, taking a sharp left turn where the B3109 forks right. (The reason for the name "Wells Road" is that the traditional route from Bath to Wells was actually the A367/B3139 rather than the A39. If you think that's confusing, consider that until a few years ago the A367 from Bath was signposted "Exeter"!) This steep ascent was built by the Turnpike Trust in the 1800s to bypass the even steeper Holloway which tackles the hill almost head on.
At Bear Flat we turn sharp right, pass the Bear Inn, from where this suburb takes its name, through some traffic lights and then the road starts climbing the Wellsway, a gentle hill climb which fairly quickly opens up to dual carriageway. Not that that is particularly helpful though, as it's one of those next-to-useless dual carriageways where cars park all along the sides. At the top of the hill, the dual carriageway narrows with the left hand lane filtering off to the B3110. Then there's a roundabout at the junction with the A3062, Frome Road, which doesn't really go to Frome, and a newer one serving the park-and-ride at Odd Down. Then out into the Somerset countryside.
We are now running along the Roman Fosse Way, indeed we have been on and off since we crossed the Avon. At Dunkerton there's a big dip in the road, with the descent and re-ascent each taking a more curvaceous route than the original Roman Road. No sooner are we back on the Fosse, however, than we reach a roundabout for the bypass around Peasedown St John. A left filter lane can actually be slower than using the roundabout, as there is a lengthy two-lane stretch for the merge beyond. Another roundabout half way round the village leads onto a long sweeping bend to pick up the Fosse once more. After a nice long straight, we start the descent into Radstock.
Radstock - Shepton Mallet
Radstock is a town that was built on the profit of the surrounding Coal Mines. For nearly a century it was served by two railway lines, the GWR and Somerset & Dorset, with the A367 having to cross both at level crossings less than 100 yards apart. As the route was a major holiday route south, avoiding Bristol, this could lead to immense queues forming on summer Saturdays, further hampered by the crossroads with the A362 which was staggered across the GWR crossing.
Today there can still be some peak-time queues to get past the A362 junction, which is now met at a pair of mini-roundabouts. This junction which was for so long dominated by the railways is now overlooked by the local co-operative supermarket, around the back of which the A367 now runs to start the long climb out of the town and its narrow valley to regain the Fosse Way once more.
The start of the climb passes Norton Radstock College, but then runs between rows and rows of former miners' cottages before giving way to more modern housing as we reach the higher ground. Here we are closer to Midsomer Norton than Radstock. At the top of the hill, we pass round a strange mini-roundabout which introduces a deliberate kink in the road, and continues out to the B3139 roundabout junction at White Post near Chilcompton.
A little further on, the B3355 joins from the right, heading back across the B3139 and down the hill into Midsomer Norton. Next we pass through Stratton-on-the-Fosse, where there are some traffic calming measures which repeatedly narrow the road to single track, alternately giving priority to northbound and southbound traffic. It's not as annoying as you might think, largely because there is comparatively little traffic at this end of the A367.
Beyond the village, there's another awe-inspiring dip in the road near Nettlebridge, with the road sweeping round bends to temper the steep descent of the original Roman route. Somewhere near the top of the hill we finally lose the Fosse Way for good as it strikes off across fields to pick up the A361 at Charlton. Meanwhile, we continue through the edge of Oakhill to meet the A37 at a wide fork junction a couple of miles north of Shepton Mallet.
The A367 originally started at the top of Milsom Street in Bath, at a triple point with the A4 and A431. (The 3 / 4 zone ran on a line west of the A367, then north of the A36 to Avonmouth). In the 1935 Road numbering revision, it retained this starting point, but also took over the route of the A4016 as a spur. The current general route in Bath dates from post-war rebuilding and the first two routes are now largely unclassified. For many years, this used Ambury as a 'reverse' dual carriageway, where in order to maintain two neighbouring one-way loops, traffic appeared to flow the wrong way either side of the central reservation.
Further south, the A367 has always deviated from the Fosse Way as it heads south to and through Radstock, but the Peasedown St John bypass is much newer, dating from the early 1990s, with the old road still open straight through the village. Indeed, due to the roundabouts on the bypass, it used to be quicker through the village for northbound traffic, but traffic calming is now in place. Traffic Calming can be found on the A367 itself in Stratton on the Fosse, but otherwise the route stays faithful to its 1922 line to the end.