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A947

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A947
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (7)
From:  Bucksburn (NJ894097)
To:  Banff (NJ695637)
Via:  Oldmeldrum, Turriff
Distance:  40.7 miles (65.5 km)
Meets:  A96, B977, A90, B979, B993, A920, B9170, B9005, B992, B9170, B9024, B9025, B9105, B9026, A98
Old route now:  A90
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Aberdeen • Aberdeenshire

Traditional Counties

Aberdeenshire • Banffshire

Route outline (key)
A947 Bridge of Dee - Woodside
(A96) Woodside - Bucksburn
A947 Bucksburn - Banff

The A947 is a long distance route in Aberdeenshire and Banffshire which heads north west from the edge of Aberdeen to Macduff and Banff on the north coast. It used to also include the Aberdeen Outer Ring Road, but that became part of the A92 in about 1993, and then the A90 a few years later. The route is largely rural, only passing through Newmachar, Oldmeldrum and Turriff before reaching Banff.

Route

Bucksburn - Oldmeldrum

The A947 now starts on the A96 at the Bucksburn Roundabout, a little to the west of its original 1922 starting point. Bucksburn was once a small village in its own right, but is now a suburb in the periphery of Aberdeen. It curves northwards away from the roundabout, dualled at first as it crosses an elevated section over Bankhead Road and then the railway, before dropping down onto the south bank of the River Don. This is now the original route, along old Meldrum Road, and as such the road soon reduces down to a wide single carriageway with numerous turning lanes, hatched areas and a couple of signalised junctions as it passes through Stoneywood and into the industrial area of Dyce, next to Abderdeen Airport. In the old days, the prefabricated airport “terminal” was accessed from the A947 – the modern airport building on the other side of the runway is now accessed off the A96.

A947 spur before the bypass opened

A mini roundabout provides access to the Stoneywood Industrial Estate, and then the road turns right at the next roundabout onto the reasonably new Dyce Bypass, Riverview Drive. This curves around to the east, passing between Dyce and the River Don with only a few junctions providing access to Dyce. The rest of the road is generally a wide S2 between wide tree lined verges. Although many of the houses do look out over the road, few even have pedestrian access to it. At the northern end, another roundabout turns the A947 back on to its original line, although the approach to Parkhill Bridge over the River Don has been moved to the west, and the road has also been substantially realigned to the north as part of the new junction with the A90 Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route. There is no direct access to the A90, the eastbound carriageway being connected via the B977, while the westbound carriageway is linked by a short spur of the A947 itself, doubling back from a signalised T junction to reach a roundabout for the two sliproads.

The A947 is now out of the city and winding north through open countryside. There are plenty of houses and farms along the roadside, many of the farms converted for more industrial purposes with engineering and construction businesses. There are, however, plenty of fields too, before the small town of Newmachar is reached. Along the way, the B979 joins from the west and multiplexes north with the A947 into town. Newmachar is soon passed through, with the B979 turning off at the northern edge of the urban area, and then the A947 is once more winding across fields, with noticeably less roadside property. The tiny settlements of Whiterashes and Hattoncrook are passed at either end of a long straight, and then the road winds up and over the summit of 158m, although the gradient is never steep. A mile later, the A920 joins from the east with the two routes multiplexing into Old Meldrum.

Old Meldrum - Turriff

Oldmeldrum, 14 miles from Bucksburn, has seen massive expansion over the past few years, with the building of a new secondary school and a new distributor road (the A920), which will relieve some of the pressure on the A947 through the town. The A947 route, however, remains the same as it curves along Albert Road and Urquhart Road to the east of the town centre. At the northern edge of town, the A920 turns off again at Meldrum Roundabout, and the A947 continues alone, winding gently through the fields before finding a long straight which climbs towards the far end. This section of the road has been improved, and takes the road over a low hill at Tulloch before dropping again past the tiny village of St Katherines.

After several good straights, the road has to navigate some tighter bends as it descends the Den of Slateheugh to find the upper valley of the River Ythan. The wide, shallow valley floor is the Howe of Fyvie, with the small village of Fyvie sitting on the opposite hillside, accessed via the B9005. To the north of the village is the site of the fine Fyvie Castle, with the road skirting the woodland to the west. The valley floor allows the road to continue north along some good straights, connected by sweeping bends, but there is little in the way of development along the roadside, most of the houses and farms sitting a little up the gentle slopes on either side of the valley floor. These gentle slopes give the impression of a wide flat landscape, but hide the higher summits beyond, although few top the 200m mark. Occasional speed limits mark settlements of a dozen properties or less.

The River Ythan is crossed at Towie Bridge, although the river is little more than a ditch this high up. The walled and wooded grounds of Towie Barclay Castle then lie on the roadside, beyond which the B992 turns off to follow the river south west. The landscape hardly changes as the road continues north, wide fields dotted with occasional properties in the wide shallow valley. A long straight makes use of an abandoned railway line, and then the B9170 turns off right, following the former A948 route to New Deer. A mile or so further on and Turriff is reached, the road winding down to cross the Burn of Turriff as it enters the town proper. It is an important market town serving a large agricultural hinterland and the traditional buildings are mostly sandstone.

Turriff - Banff

Queens Road carries the A947 around the eastern side of the town centre, and on to Duff Street. The B9025 then approaches from the north, meeting the A947 at a crossroads in The Square, with the A947 continuing east onto Fife Street and then Banff Road which curves round to the north as it heads out of town. After a mile or so, the B9015 forks right, while the A947 continues north through a landscape that remains agricultural with scattered properties and odd blocks of woodland. The road becomes twistier as it dips into small valleys, then climbs a little over the hills before dipping once more. The gradients are never severe however, except for the Burn of King Edward, which sits down in a steep sided gulley. Even here, though, the bridge sits high above the stream minimising the descent for the road.

Northern end of the A947 at Banff

Just after the crossroads at Balchers, the old railway line comes in from the right, and runs alongside the road as the two head north on a long straight, extending for nearly 3 miles, with a couple of slight kinks along the way. At the end of the straights, the A947 sweeps round to the north west, then the west as it winds down into the steep sided valley of the Gelly Burn. This finally leads the road to the banks of the River Deveron, and a short distance later the route terminates at the junction with the A98 where it crosses the River Deveron on Banff Bridge. The mouth of the river separates the two towns of Banff and Macduff, the former being the old county town of Banffshire, the latter being an important fishing port with its main tourist attraction being its Marine Aquarium. Technically, therefore, the route ends in the latter, albeit closer to the former.

History

Although in 1922 the southern end of the A947 was roughly where it ends now, the A947 once started further south, having been extended around the western edge of Aberdeen in the mid-1930s. It started on the A92 at Bridge of Dee and then followed Anderson Drive round to the A96 at Haudagain Roundabout, where a short multiplex was required westwards to meet up with the original A947. This route is, of course, now the A92 around Aberdeen, having been the A90 before the new western bypass was opened.

Before the new link and roundabout with the A96 was built, the A947 had started further east, and followed Old Meldrum Road from its beginning. The route then kept to the south of the railway and followed Bankhead Road and Stoneywood Road (on both sides of the railway), before finding the modern route at Foresters Avenue. Continuing north, it followed Victoria Street through the middle of Dyce until the council revised all of their road numbering in 2020, and moved the route onto the long established bypass around Dyce, which was already signed for through traffic. The realignment to the north of Dyce, before Parkhill Bridge has been noted above, with the old road line still open for property access via a new junction in the middle.

Once across the Don, the old road forked left and dog-legged under the old railway bridge in a very brief multiplex with the B977. Priorities at either side of the bridge have now been changed to favour the B road, with both arms of the A947 route now dead ends. On the far side of the A90, the spur for the junction is roughly the old line of the A947. North of Newmachar, a layby at Torryleith shows the old road, and a short distance further north, a long loop to the west at Kinghorn was also once the main road. Another loop survives at Wicket Well, partly retained as a property access. There are then a couple of bends that show some evidence of realignment before Old Meldrum is reached.

In Old Meldrum itself, the A947 originally ran into the town centre on South Road and Urquhart Road, but was moved out in the 1960s, with the old route becoming parts of the A920 when that route was created. Continuing north, the long straight has been straightened over the years. A layby on the left was once part of the road, which then looped to the east and then back to the west through the trees, before following the minor road past Tulloch. The next realignment comes at the Fyvie junction, where both routes have been moved, the A947 previously taking the loop opposite the modern junction. A couple of bends between Fyvie and Haddo have been improved, but little evidence of the old road seems to survive.

At the north end of Fyvie Castle Estate, an old series of bends at North Lodge has been removed by a new cutting. The old road originally turned left first, to run alongside the old railway, then swung back across to find the surviving driveway from North Lodge back to the current line. Again, the initial western loop is difficult to trace among the trees, but the boundary wall gives the line. The old railway bridge at Inverythan has been removed and a couple of bends have been ironed out at Towie. Then from Woodtown to Darra, the road uses the old trackbed. The A947 previously crossed the railway at a sharp double bend, ran along its eastern edge, and then crossed back at another double bend. The old road then remains in use from Oldmill to Darra.

Bridge of Turriff has been replaced at the entrance to the town, the old road also having to cross the railway here as it ran along the south bank of the Burn. The A947 then originally wound through the town on High Street and Main Street, with a series of right angle bends at crossroads. The curve from Cross Street to Duff Street is a modern piece of road which involved the demolition of a handful of buildings. Curiously, however, there are few significant improvements north of Turriff. A couple of bends have been reprofiled and a junction or two has seen some improvement, but it is only once the B9026 is passed and the road descending to the Deveron that the next substantial change is found. First a layby to the north of the road shows the old line, then a large triangular green within the roadside wall shows another bend improvement. This, though, is the last as the A947 is nearly at its end.

Improvement Opening Dates

Year Section Notes
1979 Stoneywood Bypass The 1 mile road from Market Street to A96 Auchmill Road (later Bucksburn Roundabout) was due to be fully opened in the next week per the Aberdeen Press of 1 September 1979. The northern end had been opened some weeks before. It included a short stretch of dual carriageway over the railway bridge. Contractor was Grampian Regional Council, estimated cost £963,000.




A947
Junctions
Crossings
Roads
Places
Miscellaneous
Related Pictures
View gallery (7)
A947 - Coppermine - 9299.jpgHeadlights required on the A947 - Geograph - 733603.jpgA947 Dyce A90 Route confirmation sign.jpgPark-hill-br1.jpgB977-a947-old-junc.jpg
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Defunct Itineries: A920 (Perth) • A920 (Banff) • A921 (Perth) • A921 (Fife) • A922 • A949 • A951 • A968 • A982


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