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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (29)
From:  Kilmarnock (NS439364)
To:  Maxwelltown (NX966760)
Distance:  56.2 miles (90.4 km)
Meets:  A71, A77, A735, A719, A70, A702, A75
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway • Transport Scotland

Traditional Counties

Ayrshire • Dumfriesshire • Kirkcudbrightshire

Route outline (key)
A76 Kilmarnock - Dumfries Bypass
A76 Bypass - Maxwelltown


The A76 is almost all S2 and also quite hilly. It heads south-east so if you are taking the scenic route to England from Ayrshire, you are nearer to England but always about 20 miles from the M74 and A74(M).


Section 1: Kilmarnock - Cumnock

The is the A76 just south of Crossroads

The A76 starts at the busy A71, A77 & A759 junction on the Kilmarnock bypass. Traffic from the North, South and West has been used to D2 or D2M sections of road, but the roundabout slows traffic down before starting on the A76. We're on the outskirts of Kilmarnock and head out of town, starting by going South East; and the A76 is already signed for Dumfries. We also follow the old G&SW railway line, the old northern end of the London St. Pancras - Glasgow St. Enoch line (now closed). It is still used sometimes for WCML diversions. Anyway, the first classified road that we meet is the B7073, at a roundabout. This is the original line of the A76, although the road started on the A71 just to the north and never entered Kilmarnock.

After rejoining its original route, the A76 is quite hilly but you can do speeds of 60mph on this road. We soon meet the A719 at a roundabout. Still we follow the railway line as we meet the B744 at the village of Crossroads. It goes quite fast and then we meet our first town, Mauchline. We meet the B743 here on a traffic-light-controlled junction. After Mauchline, we meet the B705 and continue by following the contours of the hills. There are a lots of dips and humps but it is quite fast. We soon arrive at the Cumnock bypass, probably the only one on this route. The old route through the town is now the B7083. Very soon, we meet the A70 at a roundabout in the middle of the Cumnock bypass. Turn left for Cumnock & Edinburgh, right for Ochiltree & Ayr.

Section 2: Cumnock - Thornhill

We have just left the A70 roundabout and we are still on the Cumnock bypass. We do the last two miles of this and then we're back on the old road via a roundabout. This is where the B7083 ends. We now head towards New Cumnock (about 100 years old!). Again, we cross the G&SW railway line and we're truly in the hills now. We don't see another classified road for the next 6 miles. We have a roundabout then we pass a unclassified road to Mansfield, Ayrshire. We pass New Cumnock station, the last SPT station. The trains are in 1950s style Blood & Custard livery. We now enter New Cumnock proper and turn left at a mini-roundabout where we also meet the last classified road in Ayrshire, the B741. After this, we won't meet another classified road until Crawick. We leave the former mining town behind and continue east with the railway near by. Crossing the border into modern day Dumfries & Galloway it is a lot hillier and sometimes it can get misty, but as we're in a valley that is not so mush of a problem. We enter Kirkconnel and pass the station, now just plan jane (First) Scotrail. Another small town; we soon exit the town and now meet our first classified road after the Ayrshire/Dumfriesshire border. The B740 goes on to the old A74. We don't enter Crawick but we enter Sanquhar and pass its railway station. There is a museum here and a picnic site.


After Sanquhar, the railway line and road follow the same valley. For the next 10 miles, we're parallel with the railway. At Mennock, the B797 meets us at a T-junction. This road heads towards the A702 at Abington, also on the old A74. At Enterkinfoot, the railway leaves us for the next few miles. At the next turning, you have two options. Turn right for Drumanrig Castle or turn left for Morton Castle. At Carronbridge, we meet our first A-class road since Cumnock, the A702. The road is a lot straighter now and this is a simple traffic-light-controlled junction. Now we multiplex with the A702, the only major multiplex on the A76. The next section to Thornhill is very straight. To the north of the town centre we lose the A702 as that heads towards St. Johns Town of Dalry via Moniaive. We arrive at the roundabout in Thornhill. It is pretty much a local one though.

Section 3: Thornhill-Dumfries

Leaving Thornhill we head towards Dumfries, the place name signed since the start of the road. At Closeburn, the G&SW line returns and we have the last parallel bit with the railway. We go past Park amd Kirkpatrick. At Kirkpatrick, we turn southwest briefly & the railway does the same. It is a litlle hilly here though. After a last kink, we are pretty much straight. We pass Auldgirth, a very Scottish name if there was one! We now lose the railway though it is about two miles way to our east. Now doing speeds of 50-60mph, we are only about 10 miles from Dumfries. We pass Holywood hamlet, the village a few miles away. At the B729 junction, we pass the Twelve Apostles — a prehistoric structure. (Pre-history here is up to about 140 AD). We enter Newbridge, and then enter the suburbs of Dumfries. After a local roundabout we reach a larger one where we meet the A75. This road is where the bulk of the traffic now goes, either to Gretna for England or Stranraer for Ireland. This roundabout also marks the end of the primary section. The road is still straight as we meet yet another roundabout. Here, though, is where the D2 section starts — but not for long! We meet the A780, the old A75, here and the road ends. We are now about 60 miles from Kilmarnock. This is the centre of Maxwelltown - Dumfries itself is to the left.


A76 historic route from 1922/3 numbering

Opening Dates

Month Year Section Notes
1958 Polshill Improvement The 0.6 mile improvement east of New Cumnock was completed in 1958 per the 1958 Scottish Roads Report.
1962 Howford Bridge Diversion The 1 mile road south-east of Mauchline was opened on 28 September 1962 by Michael Noble, Secretary of State for Scotland. The bridge was a 300 foot span reinforced concrete arch, 90 feet above the River Ayr and was the then longest concrete span in Scotland.
1973 Hurlford Bypass It was almost complete per the 1972 Scottish Development Department Report, indicating a 1973 completion. Shown on June 1973 OS One inch map. Built in conjunction with A77 Kilmarnock Bypass.
1978 New Bridge Diversion The bridge over Cliden Water and diversion north of Dumfries was completed in 1978 per the 1978 Scottish Development Department Report.
1979 Auldgirth Bridge Diversion The bridge over River Nith and diversion north of Dumfries was completed in 1979 per the 1979 Scottish Development Department Report.
1991 Cumnock and Auchinleck Bypass The 4.7 mile road was opened in December 1991 by Ian Lang, Scottish Secretary. Contractor was Barr Ltd. of Ayr, cost £12.1 million plus. The single carriageway was 7.3m wide with one metre hard strips and 2.8m verges. The maximum gradient was 1 in 23 and there was just one intermediate access point.


Related Pictures
View gallery (29)
Bus stop.jpgJunction of B705 with A76(T) - Geograph - 296852.jpgA76 Mennock WS2+1.jpgOld A76 Mennock - Farm traffic.jpgSliproad from Kilmarnock Bypass to A71 at Bellfield Interchange - Geograph - 6385157.jpg
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