|From:||St George, Bristol (ST623736)|
|To:||Lower Weston, Bath (ST731651)|
|Length:||9.2 miles (14.8 km)|
|Meets:||A420, B4046, A4174, A4175, A4|
|Old route now:||A4|
|Route outline (key)|
The A431 could be considered to only be used by local traffic, as the A4 is much the better route, but that is doing it down. It is only rarely signposted in Bristol, and while the signs along the A420 have always mentioned the A429, which is about 15 miles away the other side of Chippenham, they never used to list the A431, which branches off the A420 about a mile east of the city centre. The only clue used to be a number painted in the road.
Route: Bristol – Bath
We leave the A420 at a fork in the road at St George, and carry on over the Bristol city boundary to Hanham. we run along the busy High Street in Hanham, where the B4046 heads north to Kingswood and then we reach a bridge over the Avon Ring Road (A4174), and then there's a roundabout with a short link road (Marsham Way, a spur of the A4174) to that ring road. We pass through Longwell Green and slowly the built up area seems to disperse. At Willsbridge, a roundabout sees the A4175 join for a short multiplex under the Avon Valley Railway to another roundabout where it continues north to Oldland Common. At this junction, the urban sprawl finally stops, although we only rise to a 40 limit as we pass through Bitton Hill.
We now come to the village of Bitton, which seems bigger than it is, and then after a brief rural spell we reach the small hamlet of Swineford. Here we cross into Somerset, and after a brief journey along the right bank of the River Avon we climb steadily to the village of Kelston. A couple of sharp bends and the village is quickly dispatched and we run high along the hillside past Kelston Manor, which is now a rather upmarket office block. Looking down to the right we see all the traffic on the much busier A4 across the Avon. If it's night-time we get a splendid view of the lights of Bath as well.
The road now dips down, around some pointy bends and as we reach Oldfield School on the left, we're into the city of Bath. There is now a long, gentle descent down Newbridge Hill, taking us close to Bath's main hospital, the Royal United, and to a mini-roundabout at Lower Weston, where Locksbrook Cemetery is on the left. It ends as it started, at traffic lights at a fork in the road – this time on the A4.
The A431 used to carry on at this point along Upper Bristol Road, Charlotte Street, Gay Street and George Street, meeting the A4 and A367. This was renumbered as an extension of the A4 in the 1935 Road numbering revision.
On 17 February 2014, the section of the A431 between Brewery Hill in Kelston and Penn Hill Road in Bath was closed after ground movement caused part of the road to subside. Bath and North East Somerset Council reopened the road on 17 November 2014. In August 2014 a local landowner opened a private toll road to circumvent the closure, which closed when the A431 reopened.