|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||48.7 miles (78.4 km)|
|Meets:||A38, A390, A30, A3072, A386|
|Old route now:||A386, A3064, B3271|
|Route outline (key)|
The A388 runs along the Cornwall-Devon border.
Saltash Bypass - Landcross
Originally the A388 started on the A387 adjacent to the Royal Albert Bridge in Saltash before running along Callington Road and crossing the A387 to meet its current route. In 1935 it was extended over the River Tamar, along the ex-A387 into Plymouth which formed its eastern end for some years. The A388 was originally the dominant number in the multiplex across the Saltash Ferry but by the 1950s the A374 had become dominant; this lasted until the Tamar Bridge was built and the A38 had taken over the crossing here. Later improvements in Plymouth have rerouted the A386 along the eastern end of the A388 and cut our road back to start in Saltash.
The A388 now begins on the A38 Saltash northern bypass at the roundabout at the western end of the dual carriageway section. Immediately north of the roundabout is another, giving access to the Saltash service area. We then run north-west, turning north after a mile to reach Hatt, which is bypassed by the A388. It's a fairly straight run on a good alignment to Callington - the road has been cut through the biggest of the hills - where we reach a roundabout on the A390. That road, which is non-primary, bypasses Callington - but the primary A388 doesn't.
We then run through the middle of Callington and continue north, still on a straight road, though bearing left in the middle of Kelly Bray at the junction with the B3257, with which we multiplex for a couple of miles until that road turns left as we head north again.
After passing over higher ground we descend through a tree-lined road to cross the River Inny Valley before passing through Treburley and continuing north through a small valley through Little Comfort and on to Launceston. There are some remarkably straight sections of road in there, but also some tight bends so be careful.
We cross the A30 at a half diamond (west-facing slips to the A30 only). he reason for this is that there is a spur of the A388 which heads east along a twisty road (ex-A30) to give access to the eastern A30. At the north end of Launceston town centre, after passing the junction with the spur, we turn right at a junction with a second spur of the A388 which heads south back pass the castle towards a full access junction with the A30 south of the town. The right turn at the north end of this spur takes us on the main line of the A388 across the river into the suburb of Newport.
From here, we run north-east through Dutson then across the flat flood plain of the River Tamar (and in to Devon) before climbing again through Tipple Cross and Peter's Finger (you couldn't make these names up!). Again the road is fairly straight as we head north close to but not directly alongside the River Carey. At the more soberly named St Giles on the Heath the road becomes more hilly but still manages to find a reasonably direct route north.
We pass through Chapman's Well (which to me poses the question "Is he?") then continue, still on a straight, gently undulating road until we reach Clawton, which involves dropping down into yet another valley (River Claw, this time), then climbing up the other side again, though this particular climb is hardly arduous. Over the brow of the next hill, we pass through Holsworthy Woods, before dropping down in turn into two small valleys, in the second of which is the town of Holsworthy.
We multiplex with the A3072 for a short distance, turning right off it in the town centre to continue, now in a more north-easterly direction. Initially, we climb a small hill to Arscott, then the next section is flat, before climbing again to Holsworthy Beacon (a village). Now the road gets steeper again, especially when we descend into the Waldon Valley, a river that turns its back on the sea 10 miles west of here, preferring instead to flow east into the River Torridge, which also flows in an unusual direction. The road remains hilly and and is twistier than before, as we drop down into the Torridge valley at Woodford Bridge, the river here flowing south-east rather than north-west as it does elsewhere.
Out of the valley, the road becomes flatter again as we pass Stibb Cross where the B3227 will take you to Great Torrington. We head in a more northerly direction though, remaining on higher flatter ground through Frithelstock Stone where we turn sharp left to continue north. Now we allow the lie of the land to guide us north - never straight, but using the contours to help us - hence there is another sharp left in Monkleigh.