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Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Dumfries (NX972764)
To:  Edinburgh (NT264724)
Distance:  71.6 miles (115.2 km)
Meets:  A780, A75, B7020, B7076, A74(M), A708, B719, B712, B7016, A72, B7059, A703, A6094, B6372, A766, B7026, B7003, A703, A768, A720, B701, A772, A7, A700
Former Number(s):  A708, A74, A752, A6094, A7
Old route now:  A703
Highway Authorities




Route outline (key)
A701/History Dumfries – Bloomfield
A701/History Bloomfield – Beattock
A701/History Beattock – Kaimrig End
(A72) Kaimrig End – Blyth Bridge
A701/History Blyth Bridge – Leadburn
A701/History Peebles – Leadburn
A701/History Leadburn – Bilston
A701/History Bilston – Edinburgh

The route of the A701 had changed considerably over the years, not least because it originated as a route between Peebles and Edinburgh, but now starts in Dumfries, missing Peebles completely. This original started on the A72 at the eastern end of Peebles town centre and headed north, following the route of what is now a substantially extended A703 up to the crossroads at Leadburn. From there it continued north along its current route, through Penicuik and Straiton and so into Edinburgh. It then ended on the original line of the A7 just to the north of Liberton, the old A7 having been renumbered as the A772 in the 1990s when the A7 was re-routed onto the former A68. The A701 was proposed to be diverted to meet the A74 at Beattock in 1933, but by the time that the changes were implemented in 1935 it was extended further to its current extent, starting in Dumfries.

The routes renumbered as part of the extension of the A701 were the A708 from Dumfries to Moffat, then the A752 (originally the B713) as far as Kaimrig End, and finally the A6094 (originally the B705) from Blyth Bridge to Leadburn.

Dumfries - Beattock

There have been many changes and improvements to the trunk section of the A701 between Dumfries and the motorway at Beattock. Aside from a slight change in the start position in Dumfries itself (the route originally started on the A75 in front of the church at the end of the High Street, but was cut back to its current position when the bypass was opened), the route has seen many realignments and widenings over the years. The road through Heathhall and Locharbriggs is generally wide with plenty of room for turning lanes, and often has wide pavements and verges, although whether this width is genuinely old, or has been created as the urban areas have developed is not clear. Beyond Locharbriggs, a long twisty section is the old road, but the road past Amisfield has been widened, and the old loop over the former railway line is now a pair of laybys.

Continuing north, the new bridge over the Water of Ae has removed a series of bends, which can still be traced in the trees to the west, and there has been considerable, if somewhat localised at times, widening of the long straights beyond. The road has also been widened, and the curvature of the road adjusted at the bends between Mollinburn and St Anns, but St Anns bridge itself has not been replaced, which is perhaps surprising as this remains a narrow, twisty section. The long straight sections to the north have again seen some widening, but there is no need for realigning.

The big changes have occurred at Beattock, where the route has changed several times with the changes to the line of the A74, and then its replacement with the motorway. The original route of the A708, which became the A701 in 1935, continued ahead at the junction at Davie's Brae, staying to the west of the railway line at first. It then made a right angled turn at the entrance to the holiday park and passed under the railway to enter the village, and meet the original line of the A74 at the first junction. This situation survived into the 1960s, with the 1962 edition of the OS One Inch Map showing the A74 Beattock Bypass as proposed. It opened the following year, and the A701 was diverted out of Beattock onto its current route. The two routes met at what looks like a partial trumpet interchange, with no northbound offslip onto the A701, and a connection to the minor road to Milton and Woodfoot. This junction was subsequently removed when the motorway opened, and the old A74 is now the B7076, with the A701 now following the former A74 Beattock Bypass route.

On the far side of the village, the A701 originally resumed at a simple T junction in front of Telford House. This was originally lost when the bypass was built, with the current dumbbell interchange here being essentially that built in the early 1960s. The roundabouts were added later. After crossing the Evan Water, the original bypass line continued ahead to the junction, but when the motorway was built, the A701 had to be diverted alongside the motorway to meet the new roundabout on the south side of the A74(M), and so the short multiplex between the A74 and A701 was lost.

Beattock - Edinburgh

The short stretch of the A701 between Beattock and Moffat has been improved online, with the meandering field boundaries showing the original, more sinuous line of the road. Beyond Moffat, however, as the road climbs through the hills, there are very few sections which have seen any changes over the years. Most of the laybys around the Devils Beef Tub probably show where a bend has been adjusted, and the same can be said along the whole route. Numerous small bridges or culverts have been replaced, but the larger ones are mostly old. At Tweedhopefoot, the extended driveway / layby probably shows the old road alignment, but in general there is very little evidence for any substantial works between Moffat and the A72 junction at Kaimrig End.

Things become a little more interesting as the A701 resumes, and at Romanno Bridge, the old line of the route can first be seen as a loop on the left, and then crosses the old bridge to return as the B7059. At the further end of the village, the route originally turned hard right at Halmyre Loan, and then hard left to follow the lane past Halmyre Mains, passing the old B7059 junction along the way. Most of this section is now followed by the Cross Borders Drove Long distance path. A long loop to the right at Noblehouse Farm shows another realignment. A little further north, the houses at Lamancha have been bypassed, as have the row at Cowdenburn. There are also a few places where hedgelines deviate from the roadside a little, perhaps showing a slight kink or bend that has been removed. North of Leadburn, the road has seen some online widening as it crosses the hills, before dipping down into Penicuik.

The A701 originally followed all of John Street through Penicuiks town centre, but is otherwise little changed as it passes through the town. The junction with the B7026 has been redesigned at some point - it was originally a very large triangle junction with the B7026 following what is now the southbound slip road from a sharp fork. The current layout seems to have been built in the late 1960s, dual carriageway and all. The old line of the A701 past the Gowkley Moss Roundabout can still be accessed from Bush Loan Road in the middle, but beyond this, aside from widening and junction improvements the A701 remains on its original line right the way past the retail parks and across the city bypass.

The 1.29 mile dual carriageway past Straiton and Birdiehouse (up to the north end of Janefield) was completed in 1969, with Old Burdiehouse Road showing the original line of the A701 beyond the city bypass. The rest of the route in towards the city centre, has been penned in by development for too long for it to have changed significantly. The only changes of note being the extension into the city centre in c1991, when the A7 was moved eastwards onto the old A68 route following the opening of the Eskbank Bypass outside the city.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Edinburgh (north of Liberton Dams) - Pennicuik - Peebles
An official document from 16/5/1935 details the following changes:
Diverted at Leadburn (Mid-lothian) and extended to Dumfries via Whim, Romanno-bridge, Blyth Bridge (ex A6094), (Merged with A72 from Blyth Bridge to Kaimrig End), Kaimrig End, Broughton, Crock Inn, Glenbreck, Tweedshaws, Moffat (ex A752) Beattock House (ex A708). (Merged with A74 from Beattock House to Craigielands) Criagielands via ex A708 to St. Ann's, Parkgate, Locharbriggs and Dumfries (Junc A75 at New Greyfriars Church). The severed section of A701 between Leadburn - Peebles renumbered as A703.

Other nearby roads
NCN1 • NCN75 • NCN76 • A1 • A1/Sandbox • A7 • A8 • A9 • A68 • A70 • A71 • A89 • A90 • A199 • A700 • A701 • A702 • A703 • A720 • A772 • A900 • A901 • A902 • A903 • A904 • A982 (Edinburgh) • A1140 • A6095 • A6096 (Edinburgh) • A6106 • A7a • B700 • B701 • B900 • B901 • B924 • B1350 • B6415 • B7030 • B9080 • B9085 • Borders Historic Route • E15 • E16 • E31 (via Newcastle) • E32 (Old System) • E100 • Edinburgh - Glasgow New Road • EuroVelo 12 • Fife Coastal Tourist Route • Forth Valley Tourist Route • M8 • M9 • M90 • NCN754 • Radical Road • T1 (Britain) • T26 (Britain) • T27 (Britain) • T86 (Britain) • T89 (Britain) • West Approach Road • ZC1 (Edinburgh) • ZC11 (Edinburgh) • ZC12 (Edinburgh) • ZC13 (Edinburgh) • ZC14 (Edinburgh) • ZC15 (Edinburgh) • ZC16 (Edinburgh) • ZC17 (Edinburgh) • ZC18 (Edinburgh) • ZC19 (Edinburgh) • ZC2 (Edinburgh) • ZC20 (Edinburgh) • ZC21 (Edinburgh) • ZC22 (Edinburgh) • ZC23 (Edinburgh) • ZC24 (Edinburgh) • ZC25 (Edinburgh) • ZC26 (Edinburgh) • ZC27 (Edinburgh) • ZC28 (Edinburgh) • ZC29 (Edinburgh) • ZC3 (Edinburgh) • ZC30 (Edinburgh) • ZC31 (Edinburgh) • ZC32 (Edinburgh) • ZC33 (Edinburgh) • ZC4 (Edinburgh) • ZC43 (Edinburgh) • ZC45 (Edinburgh) • ZC5 (Edinburgh) • ZC6 (Edinburgh)
A72 • A701 • A703 • B712 • B7062 • C127 (Borders)
A75 • A76 • A701 • A708 • A709 • A710 • A711 • A712 • A756 • A780 • A781 • B724 • B725 • B726 • B729 • C112n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C11n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C12n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C14n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C200n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C201n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C202n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C203n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C204n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C205n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C206n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C207n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C208n (Dumfries and Galloway) • C29n (Dumfries and Galloway) • E18 • E110 (Old System) • Galloway Tourist Route • NCN7 • Solway Coast Heritage Trail • South West Coastal 300 • T28 (Britain) • T87 (Britain) • T88 (Britain)
A700 • A701 • A702 • A703 • A704 • A705 • A706 • A707 • A708 • A709 • A710 • A711 • A712 • A713 • A714 • A715 • A716 • A717 • A718 • A719
A720 • A721 • A722 • A723 • A724 • A725 • A726 • A727 • A728 • A729 • A730 • A731 • A732 • A733 • A734 • A735 • A736 • A737 • A738 • A739
A740 • A741 • A742 • A743 • A744 • A745 • A746 • A747 • A748 • A749 • A750 • A751 • A752 • A753 • A754 • A755 • A756 • A757 • A758 • A759
A760 • A761 • A762 • A763 • A764 • A765 • A766 • A767 • A768 • A769 • A770 • A771 • A772 • A773 • A774 • A775 • A776 • A777 • A778 • A779
A780 • A781 • A782 • A783 • A784 • A785 • A786 • A787 • A788 • A789 • A790 • A791 • A792 • A793 • A794 • A795 • A796 • A797 • A798 • A799
Defunct Itineraries: A720 • A727 • A739 • A740 • A752 • A754

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