|From:||Spetchley, Worcester (SO904539)|
|Distance:||84.5 miles (136 km)|
|Meets:||A44, A4538, A441, A46, A429, A423, M40, A43, A5, A509, A428|
|Former Number(s):||A435, A41|
|Old route now:||A44, A46|
|Route outline (key)|
Section 1: Spetchley - Stratford-upon-Avon
The road begins at a roundabout on the A44 and A4538 to the east of Worcester. Heading eastwards, the terrain is gently undulating and the land is predominantly agricultural with occasional villages thrown in for good measure - just another single-carriageway road through the English countryside. For some of the way we run alongside a small river, past villages with names such as Upton Snodsbury and North Piddle.
Just before we reach Inkberrow we turn left to join the alignment of a minor road, once through the village we turn east again to continue our journey. The next significant junction is in the middle of nowhere and is a staggered crossroads. The right turn is the B4088 to Evesham, but we must turn left then right to remain on the A422. The left turn becomes the A441 towards Birmingham.
A couple of miles later we meet the old A435 at Arrow, where we turn left to reach a roundabout on the A46 outside Alcester. We turn right to cross the river, and for the next 8 miles, multiplex with the A46 along an old Roman Road to Stratford upon Avon.
At the edge of Stratford, the A46 turns left at a roundabout onto the bypass whereas we make our way through the town centre where we meet the A3400 (no prizes for that road's pre-1990s number) and a multiplex. The A3400 forms the northern boundary of the central area, and crosses the Avon just after we pass the A439, after which the A422 regains its number.
Section 2: Stratford-upon-Avon - Brackley
We leave the town by progressing south-eastwards through more farmland, the road still relatively straight and flat (but no longer primary) until we climb gently up towards the village of Ettington where we cross the A429 bypass at a roundabout to the west of the village. Just to the east of Ettington we cross the Fosse Way, and continue across flat farmland until we climb steeply towards Upton House (National Trust) sited on the flat top of Edge Hill.
From there, we remain on higher flat ground, cleft with valleys in the distance, until we reach Wroxton, when we descend into Banbury and a junction with the B4100 (another road whose former number is obvious) where we turn right to stay on the A422 - a reflection of the time when the A41 was the dominant route through town. Like most towns, we no longer plough right through the centre (so we miss Banbury Cross), instead turning left at a roundabout to find a route through industrial and commercial areas to the M40 (junction 11), the final section being a multiplex with the A361 (with the A422 number dominant), which gets everywhere!
The initial section east of the M40 is primary and dual carriageway, but the dual carriageway only lasts as far as the next roundabout, where we bear right to bypass Middleton Cheney. We pass Farthinghoe before we reach Brackley, which we now bypass to the south, the south-eastern sector of which is a dual carriageway multiplex with the A43.
Section 3: Brackley - Bromham
We turn right off the Brackley bypass at a roundabout and continue east once again, still following a reasonably even straight course, until we arrive in Buckingham. We pass a turning left for the A413, then at the next roundabout the A413 turns right as we continue on towards Milton Keynes. Yet again, the alignment is very straight, suggesting Roman origins, until we deviate to bypass Old Stratford, where we meet the A5 at a large roundabout.
We turn right onto the A5, here a modern grade-separated dual carriageway rather than the old Roman Watling Street. At the first grade separated junction, we turn off and run on a typical Milton Keynes dual carriageway (numbered H3), complete with lots of roundabouts, until we cross the M1, and then bypass Newport Pagnell to the south. After the roundabout with the A509 (which links to M1 J14), we multiplex with the A509 to the next roundabout, still around Newport Pagnell, where the dual carriageway ends at a roundabout that looks as if it might one day be grade-separated. Here, we turn right, and run through open countryside, where most of the villages are now bypassed, until we reach a roundabout at the edge of Bromham on the A428 where our road finally ends.
Despite its length, the A422 is not cobbled together from previously existing roads but has always had its current route, much of which is unchanged since 1922.
The western end of the road, however, has moved. The A442 originally started on the A44 in the Red Hill area of Worcester. When that road was diverted onto its current route in 2004 to avoid Pershore, it took over the original western end of the A422 (although the section west of County Hall had already been declassified), cutting the road back to start at Spetchley.
Further east, the road from Alcester to Stratford-upon-Avon was originally the A422 and only became the A46 in the 1980s.
The only major change to the route of the A422 is in Milton Keynes. The road used to cross the A5 via a multiplex between Old Stratford and Stony Stratford. It then headed east along a road not part of the Milton Keynes numbered network. It crossed the railway line in Wolverton before running through Great Linford to Newport Pagnell, where it crossed the A50. The road rejoins its current route after climbing Chicheley Hill. The current route dates to the expansion of the new town in the 1970s.