A594 (Papcastle - Maryport)
|Length:||5.8 miles (9.3 km)|
|Meets:||A5086, A595, A596|
|Old route now:||B5288, A5271, A66|
|Route outline (key)|
The A594 is a short road in west Cumberland. This is only a fraction of the road's route in its heyday, which stretched from the coast to the A6.
Papcastle - Maryport
The modern A594 starts at Belle Vue Roundabout on the Cockermouth bypass near Papcastle at the top of Gote Brow, where it meets the A595 and A5086. Heading off in a NW direction, the A594 negotiates a series of sweeping curves to rejoin its pre-1991 route, as the A594 was rerouted when the Cockermouth western bypass was constructed in 1991. The road is subject to a 50mph limit, probably down to poor sightlines in the many undulations and corners.
The A594 undulates north west, forming a border between the fields of the the Derwent Valley below and a woodland on the right. This border ends at a crossroads for local routes to Tallentire and Great Broughton, as the road now enters Dovenby Woods. Emerging from the other side of the trees, the road enters the village of Dovenby, base of the M-Sport World Rally Championship Team. The 50mph limit remains in force through the village.
After leaving Dovenby, the A594 enters the rolling hills of the open countryside once again. The road rises over a crest, then takes a sweeping 90 degree bend to the left, where a local road to Dearham leaves to the right on the outside of the bend. Locally, the bend is referred to as "Tollbar Corner", taking the name of the cottage that lies alongside the road here.
The road then begins wide radius sweeping curve to the right. This long curve consists of a slight descent to cross Carr Beck and the now dismantled Maryport and Carlisle Railway's Derwent Branch, where a local road to Little Broughton goes to the left. The curve continues up the incline away from Carr Beck, passes Linefoot Farm, and another local road towards Broughton Moor and Seaton.
Prior to the 1980s, this sweeping curve used to be a series of tighter bends to cross a railway bridge. However, when opencast workings occurred in the area, the A594 at Linefoot went through an upgrade. The railway bridge was removed, with the road realigned into the sweeping curve we see today. Also, the local road to Little Broughton was constructed at this time too.
At the end of the curve, the A594 joins the line of the Papcastle - Maryport Roman Road, and now continues in a straight line. The road once again undulates between fields, before entering the village of Dearham, where the speed limit becomes 30. The road continues in a straight line, passing a BP fuel station in the centre of the village, until the houses stop and the trees begin. From the edge of Dearham, winds downhill under the cover of the trees for half a mile until we enter Maryport. This Dearham to Maryport section has a 40mph limit, although it used to be 30mph until it was raised (surprisingly!) in 2014. The limit returns to 30mph when entering Maryport.
In Maryport, the A594 winds between the housing estates of Ellenborough then enters Netherton, where the left of the road is lined by Elizabeth Terrace. We cross the Cumbrian Coast railway line to enter Maryport's town centre. After crossing the River Ellen, the A594 comes to a signalised crossroads, known locally as "Netherhall Corner". Here, it terminates, meeting the A596 carrying traffic between Workington and Carlisle. The road straight ahead at the crossroads leads to residential streets.
In my opinion this section of the A594 doesn't really warrant an Axxx number and it would have been simpler to renumber it as part of the A5086, or instead have transferred the A594 number to the whole of the A5086 as it is rather a long and reasonably important road to have a Axxxx number.
The Cumbrian A594 (as opposed to its twin (the Leicester Ring Road)) originally ran from Penrith to Cockermouth (and was extended to Maryport in the 1920s along the former B5299). It was, with a small part of the A595 and the A597, the link from the A6 to the industrial areas of West Cumberland. After the M6 was built most of the section from Penrith to Cockermouth became an extension of the A66 though this route has gradually over the years changed with bypasses and new alignments. Let us start in the past.
The A594 started in the centre of Penrith's Market Place at a junction with the A6 where the clock tower known as The Musgrave Monument has stood for well over a century, then headed up the hill known as Castlegate to a junction near the former Auction Mart complex (this site is now occupied by a large Morrisons superstore and petrol station). The Cornmarket/Castlegate/Cromwell Road section became the A592 after the M6 was opened and part of Penrith's one way system although its present road number is debatable (see A592).
After the junction the A594 went over the humpbacked railway bridge into the district of Penrith known as Castletown; here are two very tight almost TOTSO junctions. This road is now the B5288, a number which was previously used for the Stainton to Penruddock section of the present A66. Before leaving Penrith entirely there is a fork in the road where the present B5288 road to Greystoke branches to the right - but the motorway has altered the road layout here. The old A594 went to the left along Greystoke Road (now a cul-de-sac) whereas this road, Newton Road, was the B5305 to Wigton (which now meets the M6 at J41 2 miles or so north); the current bridge over the motorway was between the two alignments.
The B5288 takes up the old route of the A594 again at Wildriggs on the west side of the motorway; this road is marked on maps as Greystoke Road. We go past the Greystoke Pillar at the junction with Mile Lane which serves as an alternative route into Castletown and its industrial estates from the eastbound A66. The Pillar marks the boundary of Inglewood Forest and the Honour (and former Royal Estate) of Penrith from the Barony of Greystoke and also marks the boundary of the parishes of Dacre and Penrith.
Along this section of road at Clickham and in Greystoke itself are fingerpost signs which until recently still had A594 on them. As a matter of interest in the 1970s and 1980s this road would have been heavily policed as nearby was the country home of William (later Viscount) Whitelaw, MP for Penrith and The Border for many years, Ulster Secretary, Home Secretary and Mrs Thatcher's right hand man.
This section was one of the first to be upgraded and realigned after becoming the A66 though it wasn't dualled even though the "old road" runs alongside it in most places. Parts of this road run along the old Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith railway line. We pass the hamlet of Troutbeck where the A5091 has its northern terminus then, skirting the foot of Saddleback (Blencathra), the road now bypasses Threlkeld where the B5322 joins us from Thirlmere, having been through the lovely valley known as St John's-In-The-Vale.
The A594 went right through the centre of Keswick - and in fact was the dominant number in a multiplex here with the A591 - along what is now the A5271 and B5289, then went alongside Bassenthwaite Lake (the original road here is the westbound carriageway, the eastbound on the lake shore was built on top of the old railway line). At Dubwath the old and new routes separate again with the former A594 going through the village of Embleton and right into Cockermouth town centre, entering along Castlegate Drive.
Here the A594 and A595 once met with the A595 carrying on west for a few miles till it turned south towards Whitehaven. The route of the A594 now crossed the river and ran up Gote Brow, although this was a multiplex along the A595; it is now the northern end of the A5086 from Egremont and Cleator Moor.