|To:||West Camel (ST566249)|
|Via:||Wedmore, Meare, Glastonbury, Street, Somerton|
|Length:||26.7 miles (43 km)|
|Meets:||A371, B3139, A39, B3153, A372, A37, A303|
|Former Number(s):||B3136, B3104, A372, A303, A37|
|Old route now:||A371|
|Route outline (key)|
The B3151 is one of the many long-distance B-roads in Somerset, this time running from Cheddar in the north to Ilchester / West Camel in the south. The road has seen many changes and alterations over the years, although the bulk of its route has remained constant.
Cheddar to Glastonbury
We start at the Fiveways Junction with the A371 in Cheddar, and run south along Wedmore Road. Before the A371 was re-routed through the village, the B3151 continued north up New Road to the junction with Axbridge Road and Shipham Hill, the A371 taking the course of the current B3135.
Leaving Cheddar, we go across the Somerset Levels before starting to climb up onto the Isle of Wedmore after crossing the River Axe at Clewer. In Wedmore, we meet the B3139 and multiplex with that road for the length of the main street - The Borough. We retain priority throughout, as we turn right weaving through the southern edge of the village to find the mini roundabout where we turn left up Billings Hill. At this junction we also find a spur of the B3151, which has followed Glanville Road from the B3139 opposite the village church.
After climbing out of Wedmore, we cross Mudgeley Hill and drop down back onto the Levels, the road becoming very straight as it crosses Westhay Moor to Westhay itself. As we pass through Westhay, and then Meare, the road is often narrow and twisty, but the villages are both pretty and at the eastern end of Meare we find the Historic Church, Manor House and Abbot's Fish House. These relate to the Abbey at Glastonbury, our next stop. The three miles to the town are along a predominantly straight, wide road that runs alongside the River Brue. At certain times of the year it can be quite un-nerving to drive this road, with the water level in the banked river sitting above bonnet level!
Glastonbury to Somerton
Before the Glastonbury Bypass was built, the B3151 joined the A39 at the market cross, after running down Northload Street. However, the northern section of the road now finishes at the new roundabout on the bypass. We then have to follow the A39 south, around the edge of the town, before joining the A361. At one time we multiplexed with that road as well but the A39 currently has priority. After about a mile of three-roads-in-one, we reach Street.
Street has also been bypassed, so the first stretch of the revitalised B3151 was originally the A39 as it ran down to the High Street. We continue south though, from a very poorly set mini roundabout, down Somerton Road, and then up the hill to the major junction at Collard Hill. It is a slightly staggered crossroads with unclassified routes, but these two side roads carry almost as much traffic as the B3151, the western spur being a major link to the A39/A361 at Ashcott, and the eastern link crossing to the B3153 at Kingsweston.
We then drop down the hill once more, the eastern end of the Polden Ridge, pass through Compton Dundon and Littleton, and so reach the B3153 on the edge of Somerton.
Somerton to Ilchester/West Camel
We enjoy a very short multiplex with the B3153 as we cross the Cary Bridge and then skirt the eastern edge of Somerton, with a couple of nasty junctions as we climb the hill. The village of Kingsdon was bypassed by the Turnpike, and so we reach Red Post Cross on the A372. This junction has also been adjusted to make a staggered crossroads, although from my own experience there is more traffic on the B3151 than the A372!
Continuing south, we cross the A303 on a bridge and enter Northover, the northern part of Ilchester. I have disputed this page's creator's assertion that the main line of the B3151 then turns sharp left to the A303 at West Camel, as, while it is the longer spur, it carries very little traffic. Most traffic continues southwards through Ilchester to join the A37 and continue to Yeovil. The spur to West Camel is the original course of the A303, while the section through Ilchester is the old Roman Road that the A37 claimed. This multiplex has now been moved out to the Ilchester Bypass. The old map to the left shows the road network in 1946, long before the town's bypass was built.
In 1922 the B3151 only ran between Street and Red Post Cross. Cheddar to Wedmore was the B3136 whilst Wedmore to Glastonbury was unclassified but became the B3104 - a recycled number from Wiltshire - early on. These both became the B3151 in 1935.
At the southern end, the road from Red Post Cross into Ilchester was the A372. In 1935 this road was rerouted along the ex-B3150 and so the B3151 was extended into Ilchester to end on the A37 to the north of town. When the A303 bypass came much later, the B3151 was extended along the pre-bypass A37 and A303 to give it its current southern end with spur.