|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||19.6 miles (31.5 km)|
|Meets:||A38, A361, A378, A37, A303|
|Old route now:||B3151, A303|
|Route outline (key)|
The A372 is a relatively unimportant cross-country A-road in central Somerset.
Bridgwater - Podimore
The road starts on the A38 close to the centre of Bridgwater, and heads eastwards along St John Street, past shops and residential streets. Almost immediately, we have our first diversion. The road used to go straight on past the railway station, but has at some time been diverted over a bridge. This was probably done well before the road was classified, but the bridge retains an interesting feature - there are large World War 2 pillboxes on both sides of the bridge.
The road heads out of Bridgwater and crosses over the M5. At this point, you realise that the M5 bridge is the highest point around as you are on the Sedgemoor – a large area of wetlands and bogs, little of which is more than 25 feet above see level, and which have been progressively drained since medieval times. A notable feature is the large number of drainage ditches and rivers which help to keep the land drained.
The road next comes to the delightfully named village of Westonzoyland, which derives its name from being the western most settlement on the Isle of Sowy, an area of slightly higher ground. The Westonzoyland Pumping Station museum (home of Somerset's earliest steam-powered pumping station) is here, and just north of the village is where the battle of Sedgemoor took place in 1685.
The road does a zigzag through the village and on leaving the village, the road immediately starts crossing the disused RAF Weston Zoyland airfield. The road crosses straight over the airfield and parallels one of the runways (which can still be seen). This is actually the original route across the Isle of Sowy, but when the airfield was built in WW2, the road was diverted southwards along Place Drove through the hamlet of Thorngrove and Main Road in the village of Middlezoy, before rejoining the original route north of Middlezoy. After the airfield was closed, the road was rerouted on its original course, sometime in the mid-1970s.
After passing the village of Middlezoy (the middle settlement on the Isle of Sowy), we cross the A361 at an acutely angled, staggered crossroads at the village of Othery. The road now skirts around Aller Hill, and we come to the town of Langport.
Through Langport, the A372 turns left, then right and then left again at 3 T-junctions. The original route through town was up (and down) The Hill - but the road was quickly rerouted onto its current course. The A378 starts here and heads towards Taunton. Langport is also the site of another Civil War battle in 1645.
Heading eastwards, we skirt a number of villages, crossing the B3165 with a brief multiplex at Long Sutton, but there is not much else of interest until we meet the A37 and A303 at Podimore where the road ends.
Langport - Bridgwater
In 1935, the MOT were considering re-routing the A372 away from Bridgwater and along the route of the then B3153 south to Ash Cross on the A358, so heading for Taunton. This would have seen Langport to Bridgwater renumbered, although no number is suggested. However, the plan was not carried out and it was after the war when the Langport - Ash Cross road was finally upgraded, to be the A378.
In 1922, the east end of the A372 was on the north edge of Ilchester on the original line of the A37. In 1935, its final section became an extension of the B3151 and the A372 was rerouted along the B3150, which crossed the A37 and carried on through Podimore, which is now a minor road. The A372 used to end at Camel Cross, a junction with the A303 near to West Camel, but with the building of the A303 Ilchester bypass, the A303 has taken over this last section of the A372 and the B3151 is the old A303.