|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||29.9 miles (48.1 km)|
|Meets:||A5140, A5134, A421, A1, B1042, A1198, M11, A1134, A1307, A1134|
|Old route now:||B1042|
|Route outline (key)|
The A603 is a road in two halves, split by 12 miles of the B1042.
Bedford - Sandy
The modern road begins on the south side of Bedford at a roundabout on the A5140, and heads east along Cardington Road until it meets a GSJ with the A421 at Cardington Cross. (If you turn off the roundabout here and head for the village you can find your way to the airship base - about a mile. The airships are long gone but the huge hangars remain.) The A603 continues along what is now the Cambridge Road through Willington and Moggerhanger until it reaches the A1 dual carriageway roundabout west of Sandy, where the A603 disappears.
Ermine Street - Cambridge
The A603 reappears on the A1198 Ermine Street to the south of Wimpole Hall (the B1042 links the two halves). The road heads north east along the line of another Roman road to Cambridge, passing Orwell, the Eversdens and Barton, and intersecting with the M11 at junction 12. Within the City of Cambridge it is the Barton Road, the Newnham Road, then multiplexes briefly with the Ring Road A1134 along Fen Causeway (built in the 1930s: an absolutely essential link road), after which it proceeds up Lensfield Road, Gonville Place, and East Road, thus forming the eastern section of the Ring Road. It ends at the Newmarket Road roundabout back on the A1134.
The A603 started life as the Bedford to Cambridge road. The current primary route between the two towns is the A421 and A428 via the St. Neots and a short part of the A1. This change has occasioned downgrading of a central section between the A1 and the A1198 (former A14) to a 'B' road, to dissuade its use as a through route.