|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Astley Bridge, Bolton (SD714117)|
|Distance:||15.8 miles (25.4 km)|
|Meets:||A666, A674, M65, A6061, A6|
|Old route now:||A58|
|Route outline (key)|
The A675 is an old link between two important towns; this should be a good road, and it is. Never a primary route though, as planners no doubt preferred to funnel traffic onto the A6 via the A673. Very fast, the bendy moorland section north of Belmont is a real driver's road. The drag is the northern bit through Higher Walton, down to the A6 just short of Preston, and probably why it never had primary status. Recently, the A675 has been given "safety improvements" and has been resigned in several places to discourage traffic from using it.
Although the road's current route is identical to its original 1922 route, it was extended in the late 1920s around the eastern side of Bolton to end on the original line of the A58. When that road was moved to bypass the town to the north it took over the southern extension of the A675, cutting the road back to what it is today.
Astley Bridge – Brimmicroft
We start in Bolton at the Pineapple pub just to the north of the intersection of the A666 and A58 at Astley Bridge; this is a very busy junction with poor signal phasing not helping matters much. Until recently the A675 was signed as "Preston A675" but this was relegated to "Belmont A675" in 2005. The preferred route is, as commented above, the A673 and A6/M61.
Anyway, back to the road in question: the A675 sets off through some terraces, before eventually reaching a pair of NSL signs. This bit is short lived – indeed, it's a mere 700 yards before the A675 enters Blackburn with Darwen, where it has an absurd 50mph speed limit. The road is lit through to Belmont, with some sweeping curves, and as it enters Belmont it has a 30 limit and a speed camera for southbound traffic. Once out of Belmont it reverts to a 50 limit and heads off onto the fast clearway stretch of the moors. This is a real biker's road, and on some days it's a case of seeing one car and a swarm of motorbikes, usually headed for Rivington Barn.
The only dangerous part of this road is the turning to the wonderfully named Tockholes, which is near a blind crest (akin to the deadly A666/B6391 junction some 3 miles to the east of here). Once past the turning the road starts to get a bit narrow, and soon it leaves Blackburn with Darwen for administrative Lancashire. It originally gained NSL here, but in 2008 this was reduced to 50 in order to match Blackburn's limit. Soon the road enters Abbey Village, a place that has campaigned for traffic calming, but ideally a bypass would be more effective. However, Abbey Village is far from congested – the road through the village is very wide and encourages higher speeds than are appropriate.
The road goes from 30mph to 40mph and then to 50mph as it leaves Abbey Village; it eventually returns to 50mph when it passes the last house in the village, then there are some sharp curves and the road slams into the M65 at Junction 3. Traffic for Blackburn is still signed along the A674, which is an absolute drag into the town, but it keeps traffic off the A666!
Brimmicroft – Walton-le-Dale
The A675, meanwhile, takes off again on a straight section, reduced to a 50mph speed limit in 2008, passing the Boatyard Inn by the Leeds/Liverpool Canal. It hits Riley Green with a thud, although traffic at least gets the luxury of a 40mph speed limit. This junction is actually a TOTSO, with the road ahead for southbound traffic being the A6061 Riley Green Switch Road. A675 northbound traffic has to give way to the A6061 and turn left.
Leaving Riley Green, the road goes back to 50mph, we pass a sharp right turn where the B6256 for Brindle departs, then there are a few more sweeping curves as the road bypasses Houghton, then it hits the sluggish section of the route though to Walton-le-Dale. This road is 30/40mph throughout, and it has a plethora of mini-roundabouts to keep traffic occupied. Access to Bamber Bridge is possible from here, and thus the M6 at Junction 29. The A675 passes under the M6 just north of Junction 30, then the road enters the Preston urban area (albeit remaining outside the city proper). The road remains uneventful and very urban until it picks up the Park and Ride across from the Capitol Centre; this is a new setup to relieve Preston of its chronic traffic. The A675 pretty much ends here. It turns sharply to meet the A6 Bamber Bridge Bypass (dualled in 1996 in anticipation of the M65).
Original Author(s): Bryn Buck