|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Clyst St Mary (SX967913)|
|Distance:||7.7 miles (12.4 km)|
|Meets:||A379, M5, A3052, B3179, B3178|
|Former Number(s):||A35, A377|
|Old route now:||B3178|
|Route outline (key)|
The A376 is a primary route linking Exeter to Exmouth. It used to carry on further than this up the B3178 through Budleigh Salterton and inland to Newton Poppleford, making the road a curious U-shape.
Exeter - Exmouth
It starts at junction 30 of the M5 at a roundabout with one of the A379s (there are two branches around Exeter) and Exeter services. It then heads eastwards briefly to Clyst St Mary, where it heads off to the right at a roundabout.
The next section is a bit strange (to Clyst St George). It looks like it was designed by somebody practising how a dual carriageway should look and getting bits of it wrong. There's a gap between northbound and southbound traffic - quite a large one in places - but the carriageways shrink down to one lane, which can be quite narrow in places. Originally the Exmouth to Exeter carriageway was the main road with two way traffic, narrowing down to a single lane to get over bridges and around trees. The Exeter to Exmouth side was a purpose built dual carriageway to relieve the bottleneck and although the original side remained dual, many accidents and fatalities caused the 'old road' part to be downgraded to a single carriageway.
It ends soon enough anyway at the next roundabout at Clyst St George, and heads out towards the Exe estuary, running past Ebford and Exton. It then turns inland a bit through Lympstone, before the final run into Exmouth.
After passing through the urban sprawl, it emerges along the seafront, running parallel to the railway line, and appears to end at a roundabout with the B3178 outside the bus station.
Original Author(s): Ritchie Swann
The original route of the A376, as mentioned above, continued from Exmouth along what is now the B3178 east along the coast through Budleigh Salterton to Newton Poppleford on the A3052, previously A35 (the B3178 link to the north of Budleigh has always had that number). In 1935, the entire section north of Exmouth was renumbered as A377, which gave that road a spur north of Topsham to the A35.
This is still the case on the 1967 OS one-inch map. I suspect that the A377 was shortened when the Motorway arrived and it got diverted down its current route to the A30. Whether the A376 then returned to its original U-shape, or was swapped over with its 1935 route becoming the B3178 I don't know, but eventually this happened.
The roundabout at Clyst St George is a fairly new junction. Before this the B3179 joined in two places. First you could leave the southbound carriageway through Clyst St George itself (Woodbury Road) and secondly further down the road from the modern roundabout closer to the Topsham road. The old course of the A376 (A377) from the Clyst St George pub ran through what is now the bus stop, directly in front of the house on the left though the now initially pedestrianised Chapel Hill having a junction with the original section of Chapel Hill (running north-west) before curving back to meet the current A376 (which can clearly been seen in the tree line).