|From:||Stanton St Quintin (ST916795)|
|Via:||Cirencester, Moreton in Marsh, Warwick|
|Distance:||73.7 miles (118.6 km)|
|Meets:||M4, A350, B4122, B4014, B4042, B4040, A433, A419, A435, A417, B4425, A40, A436, A424, A436, B4068, A424, A44, B4035, A3400, B4455, A422, B4086, M40, A46, A4189, A425, A445, B4115, A452, A45, B4107, B4113, A4053, B4544|
|Old route now:||A350, A433|
|Route outline (key)|
The A429 runs from the M4 north of Chippenham as a primary route to Warwick, via Malmesbury, Cirencester, Stow-on-the-Wold, and Moreton in Marsh. In Warwick, the A429 follows the old course of the A46 as a non-primary route through Warwick and onto Kenilworth and Coventry, although there is a gap between the A46 Warwick bypass and Kenilworth.
Section 1: Stanton St Quintin - Cirencester
The A429 used to start in the centre of Chippenham, but that route is now the B4158 and A350. Today the A429 starts at junction 17 of the M4. Heading north, we come to rather quaintly named village of Lower Stanton St. Quintin, which owes its existence to the World War 2 Hullavington Airfield (today is home of the Army's 621 squadron Volunteer Gliding School).
Carrying on north, we come to Malmesbury, where the road used go through the narrow streets, but it is now bypassed. The original route is the B4014 and B4040, which also mark the ends of the bypass. Interestingly, the B4014 just runs from the bypass, where it takes over from the B4042, and runs into the town centre – less than 400 hundred yards. Why they didn't just extend the B4042 is anyone's guess.
We next pass Kemble Airfield, where the A429 was redirected to pass through Kemble when the runway was extended in 1943 (the old road reached the A433 at Jackaments Bottom just to the north). After passing over Kemble railway tunnel (built so the local landowner would not see the trains), we quickly pass through Kemble and come to a "T" junction on the Fosse Way Roman Road. The left-hand road is the A433 (which here is the original route of the A429) which heads down through Tetbury and joins the A46 north of the M4. The right-hand turn continues the current route of the A429.
On the outskirts of Cirencester (the Roman town of Corinium), the A419 comes in on the left from Stroud at a roundabout. The A429 used to go through the centre of Cirencester whilst the A419 passed straight across and skirted the edge of the town heading towards Swindon. Today both roads multiplex (with the A419 having priority) along one side of the ‘V’ shaped Cirencester inner bypass. Note that this is the only section of dual carriageway along the whole route of the A429.
At the bottom of the Cirencester bypass, the A419 heads south whilst the A429 takes a sharp left along the other side of the "V". At the next roundabout, the A429 takes the right turning with the straight on being the A435 (previously the A417). Immediately after the roundabout the A417 comes in on the right. We next come to the junction with the A417 Cirencester outer bypass – note that the two sections of the A417 cross over each other but do not meet.
Immediately after the A417 junction, the A429 turns left with the straight on route being the B4425. Whilst most TOTSOs are due to road designations changing, this one always seems to have been like this. Looking at the map, the straight on route is the Roman Road Akeman Street whilst Fosse Way is the A429. As we came in on the Fosse Way, it looks like this is a Roman TOTSO!
Section 2: Cirencester - Warwick
The next 17 miles to Stow on the Wold are largely across the top of the Cotswold hills, with the occasional drop down into a river valley. At Fossebridge, the gradients are quite steep, showing that the Roman legionnaire could cope better than many modern day vehicles. At Northleach, we cross the A40 at a roundabout, and at Bourton-on-the-Water, the A436 comes in on the left. If you want a typically picturesque Cotswold village, take a right here into Bourton on the Water, but be prepared for a lot of tourists doing the same. Approaching Stow on the Wold, the A424 road from Swindon (with the A361) comes in from the right, although these days, the A417/A429 is quicker between Swindon and Stow. There are now three roads multiplexing here - and the A429 is dominant.
Stow on the Wold is set on a rounded hill, 800 feet above sea level. It has been settled for 2700 years and is the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Four different routes cross here, which today equate to the A429, A424, A436 and B4450/B4077. The town centre is off to the right and is also worth a visit.
A few miles north of Stow on the Wold, is Moreton in Marsh, which is a much newer settlement, dating from the Saxon era, so it is only 1000 years old. The A429 passes through the middle of the town and briefly multiplexes with, and has priority over, the A44 as that road does a dogleg through the town.
Carrying on northwards, we pass the village of Stretton-on-Fosse – literally town on the street called Fosse, even through it is a village not a town and it is off one side of the Fosse, not on it!
Next we come to the junction with the A3400, which used to be the A34 (inspired renumbering!) before the M40 opened and bypassed this section of the A34. The A429 from here used to be very busy as it took traffic from the A34 heading towards Coventry and Warwick, but these days is much quieter.
Just after the village of Halford, we come to a roundabout where the A429 takes the left turn and leaves the Fosse Way, which carries straight on as the B4455. This road used to be a good alternative to the A429 as it was straight and fast, but as it crossed several other roads which had priority, the number of accidents along the route was excessive and there have a number of junction alterations. Since then the M40 has opened and taken a lot traffic out of the area, but the altered junctions still remain.
We next pass the village of Ettington on a bypass crossing the A422 in the process. Next is the village of Wellesbourne, which also has a bypass, although one with too many roundabouts. After that is the village of Barford which also has a bypass opened March 2007.
We finally come to junction 15 of the M40 – the infamous Longbridge interchange. This is a large, traffic-light controlled, roundabout junction with the A46, A429 and M40 all coming together. With these busy roads coming together, the junction was hopelessly under-specified and during rush hour often had traffic queues on all roads, usually backing up onto the M40 mainline. To reduce the chaos, a bypass was built for A46 traffic which opened in 2009, although there are still no free-flow links if you want to change your road number and so the roundabout remains large and signal-controlled.
Section 3: Warwick - Coventry
The A429 originally ended here on the A46, but since the A46 became the Warwick bypass, the A429 was extended along the route of the old A46 through Warwick. Past Warwick Castle, the A429 crosses the A425 and picks up the A445 for a short multiplex. Warwick town centre has a confusing one-way system and so St Nicholas Church Street appears on maps to be marked as a spur of the A429 but is in reality the only way to pass westbound through town. The A429 leaves the A445 and heads north out of the town to join the A46 dual carriageway.
The next section to Kenilworth is now unclassified, as it parallels the A46 (although in fairness so does the rest of the A429). The A429 appears again at the north of the town, leaving the A452. It passes Warwick University (which is mostly in the city of Coventry) and we now enter the suburbs of Coventry. Passing through Stivichall (pronounced Sty-chal), we cross over the A45 at a traffic-light-controlled junction, pass War Memorial park, cross over the railway and end up on a large roundabout on the A4053 Coventry ring road. The A46 originally carried on into Coventry, but it was cut back to the ring road before the A429 took over the road.
So there you have it. Originally running from Chippenham to Warwick and now running from the M4 to Coventry. A useful, if rather slow, cross-country route.