|Distance:||25.2 miles (40.6 km)|
|Meets:||A50, M1, A447, A512, A42, A514, A444, A5121, A50|
|Route outline (key)|
The A511 has existed in its present form since the 1990s when it was given to part of the former A50 trunk road from junction 22 of the M1, via Ashby-de-la-Zouch, to Burton. This was a result of the A50 taking a new upgraded dual-carriageway route from junction 24 of the M1 to the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border near Uttoxeter. The modern A511 is therefore a remnant of a once significant route which ran from the A5 (Watling Street) at Hockliffe, via Northampton, Leicester and Stoke on Trent, to the River Mersey at Warrington.
Markfield - Coalville
The road begins at M1 J22. Immediately on leaving the motorway roundabout we find a service area slip road on the left. This is handy for a trip to the 'bath room' but hold out for a café until later. A half-mile-long stretch of D2 brings you to a tight (and far too small) roundabout with the A road going straight on. Another short stretch of D2 brings you to a roundabout where our road 'forks off' to the right. The road drops back to S2 status shortly after the roundabout, and passes Bardon quarry on the right. A new roundabout appears where the road turns right and over an unmanned, gateless railway crossing. This links the quarry to the Leicester to Burton line, being used occasionally with a 'full escort'!
Coalville is two miles further on but bypassed to the north by a dull S2 road. You can go straight on where it begins at the odd little excuse for a roundabout and visit the town, its handsome municipal clock tower, and the Snibston Discovery Park (i.e. old colliery). Once past the town - whichever way you go - another roundabout acts as a junction with the A447 up from Hinkley. This used to be a crossroads with the A447 which continued north to near Breedon on the Hill. Over in the fields to the right is the site (little to see, I'm afraid) of the famous Swannington railway incline (1 in 7, completed in 1833).
Coalville - Burton upon Trent
After leaving the A447 roundabout, the road continues past Sinope (pronounced Sinnup) and along an improved length of road and then a new section to A42 J13 where it's joined by the A512 from Loughborough. Where the new section of road begins you can turn left and take the old A50, now declassified, to Ashby. This takes you down Alton Hill which, before the new road was built, was a serious challenge to traffic from the other direction in midwinter. Ashby is now bypassed by both its A roads. The old Birmingham to Nottingham road (ex-A453, now partly B587) was replaced by the A42, and the A511 takes a smart new (opened 2002) curvy route north of the town to rejoin the old road at the Boundary. This name comes from the road running along the county boundary of Leicestershire and Derbyshire for a mile or so.
This marks the end of the well-made A511. From here the road staggers its way with the help of many a speed camera. A mile further on we come to Woodville and a tiny roundabout called The Clock Roundabout, after the rather attractive garage on the left. The A514 crosses here on its way from Cadley Hill (former colliery) to Derby. Next is three miles through Midway ('what it says on the tin') before we pass a large business park on the left and dive down to pass Bretby golf club on the right to cross the Staffordshire border and enter Burton upon Trent. The business park was originally the National Coal Board Mining Research and Development Establishment (MRDE).
The road then begins a mile-long descent into the town arriving at the east end of the Trent bridge and joined by the A444 from the south. The road then crosses the river Trent over a viaduct bridge, built 1864, continues through the town, and over the Birmingham to Derby mainline railway. It then arrives at Derby Turn - turn right to Derby, turn left to Lichfield (A5121, formerly the A38) - before going under the A38 bypass (note milestones in front of The Royal Oak public house) and climbing gently through Horninglow to the countryside. A new roundabout is nearing completion on the edge of town at The Beacon public house (SK233259). This will replace the traffic lights at this increasingly busy cross roads. (As of January 2015 the roundabout is in use with liberal 'cone-age' prior to having its topcoat and signage applied.) A new school has recently opened futher along the a road and extensive residential development off Beamhill Road to the west (SK228257) is expected in the coming years.
Burton-upon-Trent - Foston
The road continues (cameras!) to Tutbury. The medieval town is worth a look if you have time (Norman castle, church,etc.). Otherwise you can bypass the large village by a long downhill run to the river Dove crossing bridge and Dove back into Derbyshire. Once over the level crossing by Tutbury and Hatton railway station you drive through Hatton to what used to be the A50/A516 junction, but more importantly The Salt Box café. It's worth waiting for - check it out. After pigging out, rejoin the road and travel west a mile to the A50 interchange and journey's end (SK198316).
The A511 is a bit of a mixed bag with a fair number of roundabouts and speed cameras, and yet it remains a primary route! The 1922 Road List describes the road as part of the A50 from Leicester to Stoke on Trent, passing through the South Derbyshire coalfield and stopping off for a quick pint in the Beer Capital of the World. The coal has gone and Burton's fame for ale has passed. Today the road can better be described as the highway through the woods as it runs most of the length of the recently created National Forest (National Forest map)..
This road was originally the A50; however when the new-build section of the A50 from the M1 to Uttoxeter was built in the 1990s, that became the A50 and the bypassed section of the old road was allocated the A511 number.
Tutbury was eventually bypassed in 1990, after plans had been around since the 1950s. The bypass public enquiry was held in July 1987, and construction began in 1989. It cost £3,000,000 and was opened with the A50 number.