Star.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.png


From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (29)
From:  Rode Heath (SJ809569)
To:  Widnes (SJ506849)
Via:  Sandbach, Middlewich, Northwich
Distance:  30.3 miles (48.8 km)
Meets:  A50, A534, A54, A5018, A556, A5509, A559, A49, A56, A5126, A558, A557, A562
Former Number(s):  A5018
Old route now:  B5155
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Cheshire East • Cheshire West and Chester • Halton

Traditional Counties

Cheshire • Lancashire

Route outline (key)
A533 Rode Heath – Sandbach Bypass
(A534) Sandbach Bypass
A533 Sandbach Bypass – Middlewich
(A54) Middlewich
A533 Middlewich - Runcorn (Southern Expressway)
A533 Central Expressway / Bridgewater Expressway
A533 Runcorn – Widnes


The A533 runs diagonally across Cheshire from south-east to north-west. For most of its route it roughly parallels the Trent & Mersey Canal, giving an atypically industrial view of the county. It is primary north of Middlewich, non-primary south of there.

Section 1: Rode Heath – Middlewich

The road starts on the A50 just north of Kidsgrove, near the Staffordshire border. Some atlases have shown the short A5011 which "cuts the corner" between the A34 and A50, as an extension of the A533, but this has not happened on the ground, and according to the OS it's still the A5011.

South of Middlewich

Leaving the A50 at a left fork, it passes through the village of Rode Heath and then traverses pastoral countryside, crossing the M6 without a junction (although there are access roads to Sandbach services) before briefly multiplexing with the A534 to bypass the centre of Sandbach, famous for its Saxon crosses. A couple of miles further on, now in Elworth, the road crosses over the Crewe to Manchester railway line by Sandbach station and soon after the Trent & Mersey Canal joins from the left, with new housing now built on the right. The A533 then runs alongside the canal through mostly open country for a short while until the canal crosses under the road, after which it is lined with industrial premises as it approaches Middlewich.

Turning westwards through Middlewich, the A533 multiplexes with the A54 along a pre-war relief road for the town centre. The A530 crosses at a gyratory but the A533 is still hiding at this point.

Section 2: Middlewich – Barnton

Davenham bypass

The A533 regains its number well on the way to Winsford. An easy-to-miss TOTSO (miss it and you'll use the original A533 through Bostock Green) leads to a modern section of route that bypasses the picturesque village of Davenham before reaching the A556 Northwich Bypass at a rather strange partial GSJ.

Passing under the A556, it crosses its old route at a signal-controlled crossroads and then bypasses the Northwich suburb of Leftwich, running through an area of modern up-market housing development to reach the busy centre of Northwich. It briefly multiplexes with the A559, crossing the Weaver Navigation by a swing bridge before turning right, climbing a steep hill and then running through an increasingly industrial landscape. This was once the hub of Cheshire's salt-based chemical industry, although much reduced now from its former importance.

At Barnton, the A533 crosses the Weaver Navigation again by a single-track, signal-controlled swing bridge which is a major bottleneck at rush hour. This part of the Weaver Valley is a particularly grim-looking industrial area with several unsightly chemical plants many of them now out-of-use. Until recently it was possible to see seagoing coasters berthed on the Weaver by the works here, but the traffic has now ceased. The famous Anderton Boat Lift linking the Weaver Navigation and the Trent and Mersey Canal is very near to here.

The road leaves the Weaver Valley for the last time by a steep hill, from where the entrance to the Barnton Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey Canal can be seen. It passes through the modern residential village of Barnton and then enjoys a mile-long straight before reaching the A49 at a signal-controlled crossroads.

Section 3: Barnton – Widnes

About to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge

An undulating, rural stretch follows before passing through the small village of Dutton. Here it goes over the northern end of the Trent & Mersey Canal although that is in tunnel at this point; the Tunnel Top pub marks the spot. The road enters Runcorn New Town via the Whitehouse Industrial Estate. After a brief multiplex with the A56, it follows the Southern and Central Expressways and crosses the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey at the Mersey Gateway Bridge which opened in October 2017. The A533 crosses the Bridgewater Interchange as a flyover, where the original route from the Silver Jubilee Bridge joins; this was originally fully grade-separated, and is the Central Expressway's terminus. If you continue across the flyover you will find yourself on the A562 and later A561 heading towards Speke in Liverpool from the former [[]]. (Both routes TOTSO before the bridge approach in the opposite direction, where the A533 emerges from Speke Road).


The Rode Heath to Middlewich section was a trunk road for twelve years from 1946, part of the "Stoke-on-Trent - Middlewich - Delamere Trunk Road", the purpose of which was presumably to create (together with part of the Swansea-Manchester Trunk Road) a trunk route from Stoke to Chester. In 1958, in connection with the planning of the M6 and the route now known as A500, it was replaced by the "North of Newcastle-under-Lyme - Nantwich - Tarporley - Tarvin Trunk Road".

The bypass of Sandbach town centre dates from 1986. Davenham and Bostock Green Bypass opened in 1997, with Leftwich bypass shortly afterwards.

Between the A56 and Runcorn the A533 has changed course twice in recent years. It originally followed a sinuous course through the hilltop village of Halton with its ruined castle which is a landmark for many miles around, and terminated on the south shore of the Mersey by the old Transporter Bridge. When the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge opened, it was diverted via the Runcorn Spur Road, a new-build, three-lane road which bypassed Halton and then drove through an already built-up area of Runcorn to terminate at the southern end of the bridge. This included what must have been one of the first non-motorway GSJs in the UK. In the 1970s the A533 was diverted along the Expressway network. The eastern half of the Spur Road was obliterated by the Halton Lea shopping centre (the former "Runcorn Shopping City") but the western half can still be seen, although reduced to a local access road and partly one-way only.

In October 2017 the A533 was diverted onto its current course following the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

Named Junctions

Image Name Classified Road(s) Grid Reference More Info Map
Photo-required.png Road One Roundabout A5018 SJ667680
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Whitehouse Roundabout A56 SJ557798
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Lodge Lane Interchange A5126 SJ529808
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Halton Lea Junction B5155 SJ531816
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Halton Brow Junction SJ531824
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Bridgewater Interchange A558 SJ532829
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Silver Jubilee South Junction A557, B5155 SJ508828
SABRE • Google • geo
Photo-required.png Ditton Roundabout A562 SJ505850
SABRE • Google • geo


Related Pictures
View gallery (29)
Silver Jubilee Bridge - Coppermine - 17806.jpgA533 Widnes - Coppermine - 13930.jpgA533 Widnes - Coppermine - 13929.jpgIMG 20171009 152322409.jpgMerseyGateway.jpg
Other nearby roads
A56 • A557 • A558 • A5126 • A5133 • B5154 • B5155 • B5310 (Cheshire) • B5438 • E22 • M56 • T58 (Britain)
A530 • A556 • A559 • A5509 • B5075 • B5082 • B5142 (Weaverham) • B5153 • B5309 • B5337 • B5374 • B5391 • T18 (Britain)
A54 • A530 • A5021 • B5081 • B5309 • B5335 • T56 (Britain)
A500 • A501 • A502 • A503 • A504 • A505 • A506 • A507 • A508 • A509 • A510 • A511 • A512 • A513 • A514 • A515 • A516 • A517 • A518 • A519
A520 • A521 • A522 • A523 • A524 • A525 • A526 • A527 • A528 • A529 • A530 • A531 • A532 • A533 • A534 • A535 • A536 • A537 • A538 • A539
A540 • A541 • A542 • A543 • A544 • A545 • A546 • A547 • A548 • A549 • A550 • A551 • A552 • A553 • A554 • A555 • A556 • A557 • A558 • A559
A560 • A561 • A562 • A563 • A564 • A565 • A566 • A567 • A568 • A569 • A570 • A571 • A572 • A573 • A574 • A575 • A576 • A577 • A578 • A579
A580 • A581 • A582 • A583 • A584 • A585 • A586 • A587 • A588 • A589 • A590 • A591 • A592 • A593 • A594(N) • A594(S) • A595 • A596 • A597 • A598 • A599
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways : A500 • A506 • A511(N) • A511(S) • A524 • A526 • A529 • A544 • A555(N) • A555(S) • A556(M) • A563 • A564 • A569 • A580 • A598

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help