|To:||Shotley Bridge (NZ091528)|
|Distance:||11.1 miles (17.9 km)|
|Meets:||A695, A1114, A1, A691|
|Route outline (key)|
The A694 runs from the Gateshead end of the Scotswood Bridge up to Consett. It's known locally as the Low Road, as it is primarily low-lying, following the course of the River Derwent. It is approximately parallel to the primary A692 road, which runs higher up the valley a couple of miles to the south.
Blaydon - Shotley Bridge
Starting at the southern end of Scotswood Bridge, we have a short stretch of dual carriageway towards the A1 roundabout, meeting the A1114 at a roundabout en route. Passing under the A1, the northbound sliproad is on your right, away from the roundabout itself. Next we cross the B6317, with Gateshead and the Metro Centre to the East, and Blaydon to the West. Then you can put your foot down for a good stretch of NSL, only interrupted by a 40 limit by Winlaton Mill traffic lights, with the side road leading off to Winlaton. The next mile or so is unlit with twists and turns, but the surface is noticeably smooth.
As we enter the pretty village of Rowlands Gill, we slow to 40 - it could easily be 30, but common sense prevails. Approaching the village centre it slows to 30, with the B6314 forking off left to Burnopfield and Gibside Chapel. Next there's the B6315 to the right, towards Ryton and the A695. Beware the camera on the way out of the village - yet another example of the camera being on the SAFE part of the road, when an accident blackspot is just round the corner!
That corner is the Lintzford stretch, with a notorious series of bends. Upmarket rural housing lies on your left, a lane to the B6315 on your right. Crossing the Derwent, you'll see the old crossing on your left as you approach Hamsterley Mill and slow to 40. This upmarket village lies mainly on the B6310 to the South, a road which meets the A694 like a letter K [SABRE term? It is now...] running from Burnopfield to Shotley Bridge.
We speed up again before reaching Hamsterley for a long stretch of 30. The signs proclaim Speed Cameras, but this is County Durham - there's no such thing! A road leads over the river to Chopwell on your right. Next up is Ebchester, where a staggered crossroads sees the B6309 pass from Leadgate to who knows where - all I know is it's a long B-road!
Then it's up to Shotley Bridge, where the road bears right on meeting the B6310 again and then turns into the A691 for Durham. That road used to cross the Derwent and follow the B6278 but now it's been downgraded we have the unusual situation of two roads meeting end-on. Some maps don't even acknowledge that they meet.
Original Author(s): COOky