A39/Bideford - Bude
|Location Map ( geo)|
Cornwall • Devon
Cornwall • Devon
|Route outline (key)|
I had the great joy of living on the A39 just south of Bude for 7 years, so I was a regular traverser of the route above.
Bideford was By-passed in the late eighties, until then the A39 ran straight through the centre of the town and crossed the Torridge river on a brick built multiple arch bridge. The Old Route passed through Meddon street from the river and snaked up to the Abbotsham crossroads via the Clovelly road. The by-pass now deviates from this course and links Abbotsham to Eastliegh with a Very good single Carriageway road (with an overtaking lane in three sections). it also has a long span bridge over the Torridge with exceptional views of the town below.
From Abbotsham, the road reverts to its former course before bypassing the hamlet of Ford about 1 mile south (again with a realignment of the single carriageway). The road returns again to its former origin passing through Fairy cross, Horns cross and Bucks cross, with the road becoming more undulating and less direct with each mile that passes. After Bucks, there are a couple of sharper bends and about 2 miles further you approach the Clovelly roundabout. You also pass a small theme park on the left called 'the Milky way' - which is apt as it is small, low budget and the last thing kids would chose.
After the Clovelly roundabout, the road continues south west with a series of very sharp left and right turns - with the road becoming very narrow at points (one lane passing only in several short sections). There are two roads on the right at intervals for Hartland village and Hartland point - both roads become congested in summer. The road again turns more southerly after Baxworthy corner and improves marginally in width, but maintains regular sharp bends for another 5 miles as it passes the Cornish border just north of Wooley. The road throughout this entire section (from Barnstaple) is countryside lined - which does not alter until another three miles down the road when the A39 enters the small town of Kilkhampton.
Kilkhampton itself is about 1/2 a mile long, with a few houses on estates but mainly it just lines the road route. It has some shops / take-aways and a garage (although Fuel is no longer available)There are also a couple of nice local pubs.
Leaving the town, the road heads south west with a junction on the left (B3254) to Bridgerule via Red Post. The A39 Turns hard Right into the Neet Valley (a wooded area with a large domestic refuse site on the right). There is a much older course for the original road which traverses Ivyleaf (a straight line on a map), but it is not clear when this was abandoned in favour of the longer woodland route. The two roads converge again at Willow valley just north of Stratton.
After a couple more narrow bends the road emerges as a wider straight alignment to the west of Stratton - which was by-passed some time in the middle part of the last century (Some quote 1963 some 1968 - even the local argue about its date of completion). The modern route incarnation is cut into the hill just north west of the town and emerges at the old Poundfield crossroads. Here it has a right hand turn onto the A3073 road to Bude (which is now grown to encompass this junction). The A39 travels south at this point and does not enter the town centre.