|From:||Market Harborough (SP750883)|
|Length:||21 miles (33.8 km)|
|Meets:||A4304, A6, A6003, A6014, A6086, A43, A605|
|Old route now:||A4071, B4642, A4304, B4428, A4303|
|Route outline (key)|
The A427 has an intriguing history. The current route is entirely out-of-zone, from Market Harborough via Corby to Oundle, although it used to be a much longer and more important route.
Market Harborough - Oundle
We begin at a roundabout east of Market Harborough on the A6. We head in a generally easterly direction, climbing very gently along a straight road towards Dingley through agricultural land. From there, the road begins to undulate more, and gains a few gentle curves into the bargain, though still heading generally eastwards.
The villages of Stoke Albany and Wilbarston are now bypassed by the A427 to the south. There is a grade-separated junction with the B669 at the west end of the bypass, though all the roads involved are single carriageway.
Gradually, the gradients disappear and the road becomes very flat and straight as it passes to the south of Cottingham. I'm not sure whether this road is itself Roman in origin, or whether the alignment is a function of the very flat countryside, but the minor road into Cottingham itself is certainly an old Roman Road, and we join the line of that minor road just before we cross the A6003 on the edge of Corby.
As with many new towns there is very little frontage on the A427 through the town - access is gained from local roads rather than from the principal roads. We meet the A6014 at a roundabout, then run as dual carriageway through the centre of town to a roundabout on the A43 trunk road. Interestingly, the A427 is marked as the dominant partner in the short multiplex according to the OS Landranger (although signage and other maps disagree). I find this odd as at the eastern edge of Weldon, the A427 turns sharp right off the A43 and runs as a non-primary route, doubling back on itself once again in Weldon village centre.
We're back into farm land now, once again very flat, and we run eastwards past a disused airfield on a straight course before weaving our way through the fields past Upper and Lower Benfield. Once again we continue along a fairly straight alignment (with the odd tight bend thrown in for good measure) until we reach Oundle, where we turn northwards before crossing the River Nene and terminating at a roundabout on the A605.
Original Author(s): Simon Davies
The original A427 started on the A45 at Dunsmore Heath, Warwickshire, just outside of Rugby. It followed the line of the present A4071 and then B4642, running through Bilton and into Rugby town centre on the gyratory. It then ran through to Clifton-upon-Dunsmore, and onwards through to Newton. It then crossed the A5 running into the villages of Catthorpe, Swinford and South Kilworth, before meeting the then-A4114 (now A4304), which was the 'straight ahead' road to Coventry from Husbands Bosworth. The road then followed the present line of the A4304 to Market Harborough.
In the 1960s, the section of A4114 between Coventry and North Kilworth was renumbered to A427, with the A427 between North Kilworth and Rugby town centre numbered as B5414, and between Rugby town centre and the A45 renumbered as A4071. The route the A427 took to Coventry is the present route of the A4304, A4303 and B4428, where it met the A428 which took over to reach the city centre.
When the A14 was built, the A427 between Coventry and Market Harborough was renumbered and downgraded in an attempt to discourage traffic from using it. Between North Kilworth and the M1, it became the non-primary A4304, and between the M1 and the A5 it became the primary A4303. After this, the road is now known as the B4428, which still leads to the A428.
The B5414 has also since been downgraded between North Kilworth and Rugby to become an unclassified road, although the bridge it used to go under the M1 was used for many years by the A14 as part of Catthorpe Interchange.
The current situation now means that the present A427 is out of zone by 2 zones, as it falls entirely in the "6" zone. Before the A14, the A427 was one of the main routes between the Midlands and East Anglia.