|Location Map ( geo)
|Solway Gate (NY006760)
|3.9 miles (6.3 km)
|A75, A711, A710, A76, A781, A701, A709, A756, A75
|Route outline (key)
The A780 largely follows the former route of the A75 through Dumfries. The A780's primary purpose seems to be to connect up the dangling ends of A roads that used to terminate on the A75, although perhaps extending one or two of these would have removed the need to use the A780 number..
The route starts at a roundabout on the A75 at the western end of the Dumfries Bypass and heads south for a hundred yards before curving to the left as it reaches the old alignment of the A75, which comes in from the right, and is now a private road to a farm. The route then passes under the old railway bridge, which used to carry the Dumfries-Stranraer railway line (Paddy Line). The bridge is intact though hasn't carried any trains for many years since the ICI/Dupont plant at Cargen Bridge switched all freight to the roads. The route then follows Castle Douglas Road past a garden centre and across the Dumfries golf course before reaching the first houses. Prior to the construction of the bypass it was not unusual for the queue of vehicles trying to cross Dumfries to stretch right outside the town along this road. After a left kink, the route follows a short straight between large stone houses and bungalows to meet the first of many classified road junctions.
The A711, Albert Street, is met at a complicated combination of a fork and crossroads, which has an attractive fountain in the middle. A short distance further along Cassalands, the scenic, coastal A710 comes in from the right at an acute fork junction. This also gives access to the A756, which provides a sort of southern bypass to the town centre, meaning it can be very congested at busy times. The route now drops gently towards the river, along Laurie Know, passing the sandstone buildings of Maxwelltown. Dumfries was originally a town on the east bank of the River Nith, which formed the county boundary, while Maxwelltown formed a town in its own right on the west bank, in Kirkcudbrighshire. However, it is now basically a suburb of Dumfries. A right kink at a staggered crossroads brings Dumfries town centre into view dead ahead, across the New Bridge. Galloway Street leads past shops to the riverbank, then over the bridge and onto Buccleuch Street. Just before the bridge, the dualled A76 (Glasgow Street) comes in from the left at traffic lights, and on the east bank, another signalised junction accommodates the A781 (Whitesands), which forms the southern half of the inner ring road.
Buccleuch Street is lined with solid sandstone municipal buildings crowned with a church at the far end and makes a stunning entrance into the town. At the top end another set of traffic lights marks the junction with Castle Street, beyond which the A780 makes a strange semi-circular route around Greyfriars church, with the Robert Burns statue standing in the square opposite. This used to a be a full roundabout around Burns's statue until the bypass was constructed when the High Street was closed to traffic. The area around Burns's statue is now reserved as the town's second group of bus stops (the first being the Whitesands). The next section of the A780, along Academy Street, used to be the A701, but was renumbered when the High Street was closed to traffic. After a pedestrian crossing, the route TOTSOs right onto Loreburn Street, with the A701 continuing ahead. Loreburn Street (there was a Lore Burn but it was paved over) is a one-way road that runs parallel to the High Street. Most of the street is built up but the gaps show that at various times it has been widened to try and accommodate the traffic. Although it starts as a two or even three lane single carriageway it narrows quickly to a single lane at traffic lights. The left lane turns left into Newall Street, then the A780 squeezes through the pinch point, before a right lane comes in from Great King Street, at what would once have been a crossroads!
A little further along, the route sweeps round to the left onto English Street, which is still one way. After a hundred yards the other end of the A781 is met, and the A780 becomes two-way once more. On the left are the council's headquarters, a beautiful 1930s sandstone edifice that was threatened with demolition not so very long ago. English Street continues to a signalised fork, where the A780 sweeps round to the right in front of the Cairndale Hotel (Dumfries's biggest), while the A709 to Lockerbie (and a quick route to the A74(M)) continues ahead. Almost immediately, another set of lights gives access to a supermarket, and also the alternative route for lorries avoiding the low-bridge on the A756. The route continues ahead on Annan Road which crosses over the railway (this one's still open) to a newish roundabout, which marks the southern end of a link road primarily constructed for the police headquarters which is on the left. All the land used to be goods yards for the railway. Some maps show this as a spur of the A709, but it appears to be officially unclassified.
Annan Road, has been widened to allow parking and two lanes of traffic as it continues east through a suburban mixture of houses and business premises. The A756 comes in from the right at a mini roundabout, at which point the A780 has joined up all the other A roads in the town, and enjoys a somewhat quieter run out through the eastern suburbs to the bypass. The road is level, wide and has good visibility, as it passes long rows of detached and semi detached houses, all built from the local red sandstone. Just before the mini roundabout for the road to Georgetown (a huge sprawling modern housing development to the south east), the first of the old A75 milestones can be seen, marking a mile from the town centre! Continuing east the town thins and after passing some car dealerships, fields starts to be seen on the roadside. A mini roundabout was provided for the small Brasswell Park development, but to date only a car showroom seems to have been built. The A75 can now be seen on the left, slightly raised on a low embankment, and eventually it is met at another roundabout. The end of the A780 is marked by a cluster of modern developments - a petrol station, hotel and restaraunt forming a sort of service area.
As noted above, the A780 largely follows the pre-bypass route of the A75 through Dumfries. The original line of the A75 ran up the High Street, using the full length of English Street, but it seems that before the bypass was opened, it had been moved out of town and the inner ring (including what is now the A781 was in place to try and ease traffic flows around the town. The A756 was a much earlier attempt to decongest Dumfries, created in the late 1920s by the construction of a second bridge over the Nith.