|Location Map ( geo)
|16.7 miles (26.9 km)
|A46, B4014, A4135, A429
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
Dunkirk - Cirencester
The A433 starts at the hamlet of Dunkirk on the A46, about 6 miles north of the M4 at J16. Whilst the A46 northwards from here is non-primary, the A433 starts at a T-junction and heads north-east towards Tetbury and Cirencester. The A433 skirts around the top of the Badminton estate, passing Worcester Lodge, before dropping into the village of Didmarton. A few miles after Didmarton, the road comes to the village of Westonbirt, famous for its boarding school and the National Arboretum, well worth a visit in the autumn.
After Westonbirt, you pass Highgrove House, the private residence of the Price of Wales since 1980. When purchased, it led to speculation about marriage and a year later, he did marry Lady Diana Spencer. It is easy to spot when he is in residence as the armed police are more noticeable.
Tetbury is the only town on the route and dates from the founding of a monastery there in 681 under the supervision of Abbess Tetta. The town's fortunes were based on the wool trade, but it was bypassed by the Industrial Revolution due to lack of a decent water supply. This has left Tetbury as a sleepy Cotswold town with wonderful architecture.
The A433 runs a Z-shaped course through the town, turning first left at a crossroads at one end of the main street (where the B4014 from Malmesbury joins in) and then right at a further crossroads the other end, with the B4014 carrying straight on towards Nailsworth and Stroud and the A4135 from the A38 and Dursley also joining from the right. This suggests the B4014 is the main north/south through route and the A4135/A433 (eastwards) the main east/west route. The (primary) A433 from the south looks like an interloper, but is now signed as the main route through the town. However, the A433 has always had this route through town - and was originally the only east-west Class I route in Tetbury.
Leaving Tetbury, the road passes the ubiquitous Tesco superstore, although this one is a little more upmarket than many, probably due to the relative affluence of the area. Heading out of Tetbury, the road parallels the course of the ex-Great Western Tetbury branch-line from Kemble on the Swindon to Gloucester railway. This was was built in 1889 and closed in 1964, but the embankment the railway ran along is easily seen from the road.
Roughly halfway between Tetbury and Cirencester, at Jackaments Bottom, the A433 joins the course of the Fosse Way, which was the original A429 trunk road from Bath to Cirencester and the road becomes dead-straight. After a mile, the road goes under the afore-mentioned Swindon to Gloucester railway, through a narrow bridge, the size of which suggests that this road was not as an important a road when the railway was built as it is now.
Shortly after the railway, the A429 joins from the right at a T-junction and the road carries on into Cirencester with that number.
The A433 is today part of the main route from Bath to Cirencester, but it parallels, and then joins, the course of the Fosse Way, the Roman route from Bath to Cirencester (or Aquae Sulis to Corinium). Where the A433 joins the Fosse Way is also where the A429 originally took over. When the runway at Kemble airfield was extended, that road was rerouted through the village of Kemble, to join the A433 2.5 miles further north.
Whilst the 1922 listing for the A433 matches the extent of the road today (extension along the Fosse Way notwithstanding), at some point, the A433 was extended, presumably in 1935. Old road atlases show the current B4425, which starts on the A429 east of Cirencester and finishes on the A40 west of Burford, as being the A433. Interestingly, the 1932 OS map shows this road as the B4425, so it was renumbered as the A433 and then given its original number back in the mid-1980s.