|From:||South Molton (SS699281)|
|Length:||22 miles (35.4 km)|
|Meets:||A361, B3226, B3358, A39, A3123, B3229, B3230, A361|
|Route outline (key)|
Most of the A399, a medium-length A-road in north Devon, runs along the western section of Exmoor National Park.
South Molton - Ilfracombe
The A399 starts at a roundabout just north of South Molton with the A361 and heads northwards along the Bray Valley. The road has quite a few bends in it as it runs through woodland alongside the river. It crosses the river at Newtown Bridge and continues along the valley to Brayford.
From here, it leaves the woodland and climbs up through heathland, where there's a nice straight run along Bratton Down and then back down the other side past a reservoir towards Blackmoor Gate, where the A39 crosses at a staggered junction. All of this section was once the B3226.
Continuing on, the A399 leaves the heathland and winds its way down to Combe Martin, where it reaches the North Devon Coast. It continues along the coast running alongside several camping and caravan sites into the centre of Ilfracombe, where it meets the terminus of the A361 head on. The exact end of the road, at the junction with the one-way Springfield Road in the middle of Ilfracombe High Street, is unmarked and nondescript.
The original 1922 route of the A399 only ran between the A39 (which used to have priority through the junction) at Blackmoor Gate and the A373 (A361 after 1935) in Ilfracombe. The road's continuation to South Molton was numbered B3226.
By the end of the 1980s, possibly coinciding with the construction of the current A361 North Devon Link Road, the A399 was extended south to South Molton, providing an alternative (albeit far more winding) route to Ilfracombe avoiding the congestion of Barnstaple town centre. Even with Barnstaple now completely bypassed, the A361 still suffers from heavy congestion around Barnstaple and Braunton, and as such the A399 is still signed at both ends as an alternative route between the M5 and Ilfracombe and Woolacombe.