A5 (Isle of Man)
|Location Map ( geo)
|Port Erin (SC195690)
|12.9 miles (20.8 km)
|A1, A6, A25, A7, A12, A3, A28, A31, A29, A7, A32
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
The A5 is the main route serving the south of the Isle of Man.
The route starts on the A1 at Quarterbridge in Douglas and heads west along New Castletown Road, a series of straights through housing estates but with very few properties facing onto the road itself. Small areas of parkland, and then a golf course fill in between the houses before it reaches a roundabout with the A6, and leaves the town behind. A nursery and some industrial buildings sit amongst the fields, including an energy from waste plant, and then the route climbs quite steeply up Richmond Hill, with a climbing lane for southbound traffic. At the top of the hill, the Comis Golf Resort lies to the north of the road, screened by trees, followed by the B37 turning right, and then as the route turns south west, it runs through the village of Newtown on a long straight, slowly dropping down the hill, with the B24 turning left towards the coast.
As the road sweeps round a long, gentle bend, there is a climbing lane for northbound traffic. The road returns to two lanes as it enters Santon, another small village scattered along the roadside. The B26 turns left here, following Glen Greenaugh towards the coast, while the A5 continues south west, crossing the steam railway as it dips into the next valley. The Santon Burn is crossed at a double bend, and then a side stream is crossed at the Fairy Bridge, a local landmark. The route now runs downstream through trees, above the Burn and below the railway line, before another double bend takes it back over the railway. The A25 comes in on the nearside of the bridge, pointing back towards Douglas despite having run roughly parallel to the A5 from Douglas!
The trees soon come to an end and after the B38 turns right, the route enjoys a long fairly straight section across the fields to Ballasalla. A substantial new housing estate is being built here, and at the entrance to the village is a roundabout. The A5 will turn left here when the bypass opens in 2024, and pass through the new estate on what is essentially a distributor road, crossing the railway and meeting its old route at the roundabout at the entrance to the airport business parks. In the meantime, however, it follows the long straight Douglas Road through the village, turning left at a roundabout junction with the A7 onto Station Road, and crosses the railway at a level crossing to reach the roundabout.
As the A5 heads out of Ballasalla village, it flares out to form the Isle of Man's only proper dual carriageway - A stretch less than a km long outside the airport, with a roundabout mid way along at the entrance. The appropriate lane in either direction on the approach to the roundabout is marked for turning into the airport, so it is only really the section after the roundabout where overtaking is possible. After the dual carriageway, the route reaches another roundabout, with an exit from the car parks and an entrance to the business park opposite. A long straight run along Douglas Road then leads into Castletown, passing a couple of isolated housing estates before entering the town. The route then turns right at the Janets Corner roundabout, with the A12 continuing ahead.
The A5 curves along Victoria Road to another roundabout, then crosses the Silver Burn and follows Alexandra Road and the Castletown Bypass (which dates back to at least the 1950s) across the northern edge of the town, with very few properties facing onto it. The A3 comes in from the right at a signalised crossroads, and there is a busy T junction at the far end of the bypass. Back out in the fields, the route winds gently westwards, past a right turn for the A28, before dropping down to the coast, with a fine view across Bay ny Carrickey ahead. A delightful stretch then runs around the head of the beach, wiggling a little past an old farm, and turning slightly inland. A few more houses sit on the roadside now, enjoying the views across the bay, and the road imperceptibly climbs before a short sharp drop through a cutting returns it to the shore.
The final stretch again leads around the head of the beach towards Port St Mary. However, before reaching the village, the A5 TOTSOs right at a fork with the A31 and follows Castletown Road inland to the Four Roads Roundabout, where it crosses the A29. This sits at the entrance to Port Erin, although the town is growing out, with new housing around the junction. As the A5 continues into the town, it becomes Station Road, housing estates suddenly giving way to shops and businesses. The terminus of the steam railway sits prominently on the left, opposite a row of shops, and then the A5 itself comes to an end on the Promenade, where it meets the A32. However, the exact end point is a little uncertain. The final section of Station Road is one-way westbound, with the parallel Church Road to the north completing the loop. Most Maps suggest that the A5 forms the loop, but the Manx Government give Church Road a C number.
The A5 originally took a different route from Ballasalla, following the current A7 line through Ballabeg and Colby.. The current route of the A5 between Ballasalla and Port Erin was the A8 between Ballasalla and Castletown and the A7 between Castletown and Port Erin. The swap occurred between 1994 and 2003.
On the current route, there are a couple of notable changes. Firstly, the Castletown Bypass which, as noted above, was built many years ago. Prior to its construction the A road passed through the town on a convoluted route, which was probably one of the reasons why the A5 originally ran further inland. Secondly, on the approach to Port St Mary, there is a notable loop of road inland, partly now the B33. The limited mapping evidence available makes it difficult to be certain if this is the original line of the main road, although it seems very likely. The current route is again shown on maps from the late 1950s.