|From:||M40 J10, Cherwell Valley (SP545278)|
|Distance:||66 miles (106.2 km)|
|Meets:||M40, B430, A421, B4031, A422, B4525, A413, A5, M1, A5123, A45, A4500, A5076, A14, A6013, A4300, A6003, A6900, A6116, A6086, A427, A47, A1, A1175|
|Old route now:||A34, A41, B430, A5123|
|Route outline (key)|
The A43 is a cross-country route in the south Midlands. It has always been primary in its entirety, though a bit near its original starting point of Oxford is now missing.
Section 1: Cherwell Valley - Northampton
With the opening of the M40 in the early nineties, the A43 became a popular way for traffic from the south coast cutting across to the M1. This section has recently been dualled due to its increased use as a major north-south arterial route. We start off by heading north from the rather confusing M40 junction 10, with a total of three roundabouts and Cherwell Valley services. The A43 crosses the B4100 (ex A41) about half a mile north. It then winds its way up along the new dual carriageway towards Brackley, which it bypasses.
The section from Brackley to Towcester was the most recent to get bypassed. It winds itself through rural Northamptonshire in and out of woodlands. The most noticeable feature on this stretch is the dumbbell junction with the A413 towards Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix. Whilst the dualling of this road may have improved things, it is advisable to avoid this area when there is a Grand Prix on, and the Highways Agency have closed the road to through traffic in the past.
Beyond Silverstone, the A43 heads towards Towcester, which it bypasses to the north, meeting the A5 at a roundabout. It then heads towards the M1 at Northampton services. Originally, there was no access to the M1 here so traffic had to double back on itself to the A508. Nowadays, access is allowed by going around the service area, which now effectively sits in the middle of the junction! Apparently, the junction with the M1 was built due to traffic taking shortcuts through the services.
By rights the A43 should continue beyond the motorway to reach the Northampton bypass about a mile further on. In practice, however, the road ahead is the A5123. Just as the A45 was diverted away from the western side of the bypass in the 2000s, so the A43 was as well.
Section 2: Northampton - Stamford
The A43 used to go straight through the middle of Northampton city centre but the section to the north was renumbered A5123 in the 1970s with the remainder taking on that number in the 2000s. The road's current route now multiplexes along the A45 (presumably getting to that road via the M1) round the south side of Northampton along a bypass which here shares many of the characteristics of an urban motorway.
Our road diverges from the A45 at Weston Favell, continuing as dual carriageway for another two miles (the curiously named Lumbertubs Way). First, we dive under the old A45 (now the A4500) just before another curiosity: a long footbridge in a tube crossing to the Tesco superstore on the right. The speed cameras along here are unusual, too: mounted in each-way facing pairs in the central reservation on fancy Victorian-looking poles with decorative elements looking a bit like the Batman logo!
Two roundabouts later, at Round Spinney, we cross the northern outer ring road, the A5076, and rejoin the "traditional" route of the A43. Passing Moulton we are now in open country. Although a lot more obvious on the map than on the ground (we are not talking Alpine elevations here!) our route now for the next 10 miles or so is along a ridge: there are no villages on the watershed itself, all the settlements being lower down on the streams flowing towards the upper River Nene (left) and the Ise (right).
At the Broughton bypass the A43 cuts through the ridge, swings from north to north-east, and we find ourselves heading directly towards the very prominent steeple of Kettering church. We shall not pass through the town, however, as our course is intercepted by one of my least favourite roads — the A14 - which we now have to join for a mile or so northwards before the new A43, in its Kettering northern bypass role, strikes off in an almost dead-straight north-easterly direction (dipping under the London—Leicester railway) to cross the A6003 Corby road a mile and a half later.
The A43 takes a new course from here turning Northbound along what used to be the A6003, until it reaches a new roundabout and turns North East along a new section of about 4 miles (the Corby Link Road), bypassing Geddington. The A43 skirts the eastern fringes of Corby but we see little of it.
Another mile and a quarter on an easterly heading brings us back to the old route (which, through the town, has been the A6013/A6003/A4300). Immediately after the roundabout, at which we turn left, there is a fine vista to the right of a stately pile. Northamptonshire seems to abound in such houses (think Althorp): this one is Boughton House. With Boughton on the north side of Kettering and Broughton to the south (and another Boughton just outside Northampton), I wonder if anyone ever gets confused?We now do pass through a village: Geddington, with its fine old stone buildings and its fiercely enforced speed limit, before rejoining the new route at Stanion at a roundabout with the A6116 and the A4300, which is the new number for the bypassed section of the A43.
At Stanion the A4300 from Geddington comes in on the right, and the A6116 from Thrapston at the opposite side; the road left from the roundabout leads to the "Euro Hub" road/rail distribution centre (chiefly used in the import/export of road vehicles, as evidenced by the huge parking lots we soon pass. Here we also pass the Corby Hilton, which always sounds a strange juxtaposition of terms (sorry, Corby!). (Excellent fish-and-chips in Corby, by the way: it's the Scottish heritage.)
After crossing the A427 Market Harborough—Oundle road we are in the country again. The whole of this northern end of Northamptonshire is known as Rockingham Forest. Today it is more a patchwork of wooded areas but the 9 miles to the junction with the A47 at Duddington are more sinuous than the road further south and the road does have a "forest" feel. The only settlement on the route itself (Bulwick) has been bypassed.
From Duddington (also bypassed) we follow the right bank of the Welland, keeping to high ground through the villages of Collyweston and Easton on the Hill before the final descent into Stamford.
A mile before Stamford we arrive at the A1, where the GSJ only has north-facing slip roads. According to the modern signage, the A43 now ends here. Historically, it ran on along what is now signed as the A1175 into Stamford, crossing the line of the Roman Ermine Street before reaching the old Great North Road at a stop sign.
Original Author(s): Berk
The A43 originally started on the A423 in Kidlington, to the north of Oxford. It then headed northeastwards towards Bicester, before branching off at the picturesquely named Weston On The Green towards Brackley. The A43 was extended as part of construction of the A34 Oxford western bypass in the 1950s and so started on that road at the Peartree Roundabout half a mile north of the A40 northern bypass. This section is now an upgraded A34 to Weston, and the uninspiringly titled B430 up to Cherwell Valley services (where it meets the M40), and is a good way to "cut the corner" from the A34 to the M40 for those in the know!
The right fork at Weston On The Green was originally the southern end of the A421. After being upgraded the road from here as far as the A41 in Bicester was renumbered as a spur of the A43 in the 1940s and remained so until the 1960s when it became the A421 again. As part of the M40 construction and associated work this road is now numbered A34 or A41, although the section in Bicester itself is now unclassified.
The Duddington Bypass was built around 1975, comprising a northern bypass (A47), and bridge over the River Welland, as well as a new roundabout, and eastern bypass for the A43. The Corby Link Road opened in 2014, heading north along part of the A6003 route, before branching off bypassing Geddington and Weekley - the former now accessed by an extension of the A4300, and the latter by the A6183).
- The A43 Trunk Road (M1 Junction 15A to A16 Stamford) (Detrunking) Order 2001 - This piece of legislation removes trunk status between Northampton and Stamford following the 1998 review A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England