|From:||Caversham, Reading (SU711747)|
|To:||Iffley, Oxford (SP529028)|
|Length:||22.3 miles (35.9 km)|
|Meets:||A4155, B4526, B471, B4009, A4130, B4009, A329, A415, B4015, A4142, A423|
|Former Number(s):||B479, A423|
|Route outline (key)|
The A4074 begins at a signalized junction with the A4155 just north of Caversham Bridge to the north of Reading town centre. It heads northwest through typical suburbia, climbing uphill away from the Thames Valley. It then enters thick woodland for several miles before emerging on the other side onto more exposed ground. Presently the road reaches a roundabout on the A4130 Wallingford southern bypass and multiplexes with that road (and the A329 which is hiding) along the eastern bypass. The A4130 leaves at the next roundabout and we meet up with the Thames again at Benson.
The A329 leaves at a roundabout in Shillingford, and we bypass Dorchester, where the river runs away to the west. The A4074, meanwhile, carries on in a relatively straight northwest path towards the suburbs of Oxford. The road becomes dual-carriageway to bypass Sandford-on-Thames, where we approach the river once more, then remains D2 for the rest of the route. We terminate on the Oxford Ring Road (A423 to the left; A4142 to the right) at Iffley.
The section from Caversham to Chazey Heath was originally the B479, with that road then continuing on to Streatley but it had been rerouted by 1932 along a formerly unclassified road to Benson, near Wallingford, terminating on the then-A415. The latter road took over the route to Shillingford, after which the A42 continued on to Oxford.
The section north of Benson was renumbered as an extension of the A423 following the 1935 Road numbering revision. When the A423 through RAF Benson was removed during expansion of the airfield in the Second World War, the A423 multiplexed with the A4130 and B479 as a diversion, though it seems from evidence on maps that this did not immediately become renumbered A423, resulting in the strange situation of a trunk road suddenly turning into a B road for no reason.
The A4074 came into existence in the 1960s, taking on the B479 from Caversham to Crowmarsh Gifford (the remainder had already become the A423. Then in 1991, following the completion of the M40 and general improvements to the A34 and A404, the A423 was deemed to be no longer suitable as a long distance commercial route, and so was detrunked and renumbered south of Banbury. The section between the Oxford Ring Road and Crowmarsh Gifford became an northward extension of the A4074.