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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (5)
From:  Dumfries (NX975762)
To:  Lockerbie (NY135814)
Via:  Lochmaben
Distance:  12.1 miles (19.5 km)
Meets:  A780, A75, B7020, B7076, B723
Old route now:  B7068
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A709 Dumfries - Lockerbie
A709 Lockerbie - Langholm

The A709 is a medium-length A-road between Dumfries and Lockerbie in Dumfriesshire.


Dumfries - Lochmaben

The route begins on the A780 at the junction of Annan Road and St Mary's Street in Dumfries The A780 (former A75) heads east out of the town centre and onto Annan road on its journey towards Carlisle, while the A709 sets off north east on St Mary's Street. The route continues past Dumfries Station (an impressive ensemble in sandstone) to reach a modern roundabout with Cornwall Mount, the home of Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary and a link back to the A780. Cornwall Mount is normally marked on maps as a spur of the A709, although the only time it is given a number on signage, the A709 is shown in brackets, and the council list it as the U775n, suggesting it is not the A709. After the next mini roundabout, the route follows Lockerbie Road, which is uncomfortably narrow when cars are parked, as it heads out past the town's high school and across another roundabout providing access to modern executive housing. More modern housing faces onto the Peel Centre retail park, which is accessed from a signalised junction.


Soon after, the edge of the town is reached and the road plunges into the countryside, climbing a little over the low Clumpton Hill before dropping down to the A75 bypass. The bypass is crossed at the busy Brownrigg Roundabout, after which the route follows a dead-straight section over the flat countryside of Lochar Moss. This exit from the town is not very scenic with recently felled forest to the left and the town's main landfill site to the right. Crossing a roundabout with Catherinefield Road the route finally begins to rise out of the floodplain of the Nith. Catherinefield Road is surprisingly busy for an unclassified road as it is used heavily by HGVs to access the Industrial Estates and Tynwald Downs (former Military Airfield with plenty of leftover hangers converted to industrial premises) to the north. Beyond, the A709 speeds quickly on a wide realigned section as it climbs towards Torthorwald. The village, although small, has a small garage and a ruined castle but is soon passed through. There is a tight bend in the middle of the village, but the road soon opens out onto another wide upgraded section with generally good sight lines beyond.

The countryside is a pleasant patchwork of fields draped over the rolling hills but otherwise pretty featureless as it climbs to a summit of around 130m. The new alignment continues for about 6 miles out of Dumfries before abruptly ending in a forest of "tight bend" and "road narrowing" signs as it drops down beside the Ryemuir Burn. The route quickly reverts to a narrow and twisting Scottish A road and any ideas that the A709 might be a good alternative to the A75 to reach the motorway are quickly extinguished. A long straight is followed by a sweeping bend which leads into the first main town after Dumfries, Lochmaben. The small local hospital and a modern housing estate are passed before the route does a sharp left bend onto Bruce Street and follows the north shore of Kirk Loch towards the town centre. The loch, however, is not visible as the road is heavily built up on both sides.

Ahead is one of the two "pinch points" on the route, as the A709 makes a tight right turn onto Castle Street, which squeezes itself past the town hall onto the much wider High Street. This pinching to one lane by the town hall is eerily similar to that experienced by the A76 in Sanquhar and the A7 in Langholm. There is no signal control here and precious little visibility so most traffic proceeds with caution. The B7020 comes in on the other side of the Town Hall, the two routes meeting at a extended junction set around a statue to Robert the Bruce, and multiplex southwards. Lochmaben's main street is attractive, composed of vernacular Scottish one- or two-storey buildings coupled with a lining of pollarded trees. The street is easily wide enough at the top end to park on both sides and still have plenty of room for traffic. It narrows to the south and is finished off with the parish church, beside which the B7020 departs, and a view of the loch, very scenic. The town doesn't offer many shops or services; its proximity to Dumfries and small population ensures that.

Lochmaben - Lockerbie

Near Shillahill

The A709 leaves Lochmaben via another sharp (though two-laned) bend onto Lockerbie Road, and runs past some large detached houses and active yachting club. As the route then runs along the norther shore of Castle Loch, there are a couple of parking areas and a picnic site for those wishing to linger awhile. The next few miles are unremarkable; the road is at first constrained by the embankment of a long-disused railway to the left and by a thick copse of trees to the right preventing any landscape views, before a long straight leads out past the Lockerbie Cheese factory to reach the second major pinch point on the route, Shillahill Bridge over the River Annan. The bridge is a spectacular sandstone construction, though narrow with traffic lights controlling traffic flow. Once across, another long straight leads across the flat valley floor and on to the low hills beyond.

A winding double bend lifts the route up through the forestry plantation on the crest of the hill, which is home to the saddest part of the journey, the memorial garden for PanAm 103 which crashed over the town in 1988. If you have time it is well worth visiting the cemetery and remarking on how fortunate we are to have avoided such a disaster. Dropping a little out of the trees, the route enters the town of Lockerbie, passing through its west end, separated for ever by the great expanse of the A74(M) ahead. The motorway is crossed on a large arching concrete bridge and offers a view of the main link between Scotland and England, and the older bypass alongside. The motorway is six lanes wide at this point with the former southbound carriageway of the A74 (now the B7076) also crossed on the east side. Just after the bridge the B7076 is met at a simple Grade Separated Junction, with a curving loop dropping down to the road below. However The A709 ploughs on ahead along Dumfries Road for a further 200 yards to make an inconspicuous ending on the former A74 (in its first incarnation), now the B723, just south of the town centre, making the A709 one of the few A-roads to end on a B-road. The junction is a signalised crossroads with the entrance to the supermarket opposite.

Lockerbie is a member of that exclusive club of having two bypasses. The A709 used to continue over the hills to Langholm and the A7 but that section has long since been a B road. One of the most notable features of this road is the nearly complete set of milestones that line it - they have been preserved through successive upgradings and realignments.

There have been some discussions about whether this route could be upgraded to D2 to provide a fast link between Dumfries and the A74(M), subsuming the roles of the A701 and A75 that currently provide this service to north and south. Both of these routes are likely to need considerable upgrading at some point, so maybe this isn't such a pipedream.


The A709 originally continued east to meet the A7 in Langholm, after a short multiplex with the A74 along Lockerbie's High Street. However, the section between Lockerbie and Langholm was downgraded to be the B7068 between 1965 and 1969. Then, in 1994, the A74(M) was built past Lockerbie, albeit with no junction provided for the A709. This explains why the A709 now ends on a B road. Its old GSJ with the A74 remains in part as the junction with the B7076.

Surprisingly, perhaps considering its current status, the A709 has seen substantial investment in the past, with long sections of realignment and improvements. These start on the outskirts of Dumfries, where the route has clearly been widened either side of the bypass. A series of tight bends have then been eased at Roucan Crossroads, with the old road line traceable either as driveways and property accesses, or in the boundary walls which stand well back from the roadside. Continuing east, the bends just beyond Torthorwald have also been eased, although any evidence of the old road is now lost in the thick band of trees either side of the road. A double bend has also been eased at Ryemuir Farm, where the old road line can first be traced curving around a stand of trees, before crossing the new line and curving across the farm driveway. This then re-crosses the A709 and disappears into Ryemuir Wood, picking up the minor road near East Tinwald, which now follows the old A709 back to the new alignment.

There are somewhat fewer examples of improvements east of Lochmaben. The road varies a little in width, suggesting some localised widening, but as it climbs over the hill towards Lockerbie, two laybys on the outsides of the bends show the old road alignment, where the curvature of the bends have been eased somewhat. The junction with the B7076, former A74 has also been substantially changed, although it seems that it was always a GSJ. The old sliproads on and off the northbound carriageway can still be traced as they turn off the A709.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Dumfries - Lockerbie - Langholm

Related Pictures
View gallery (5)
A709 through Torthorwald - Geograph - 1443700.jpgB709pw-langholm.jpgA709 looking towards Shillahill (C) Colin Pyle - Geograph - 3507796.jpgA709.jpgCrossing Shillahill Bridge - Geograph - 3507801.jpg
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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
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