|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Whipton, Exeter (SX955937)|
|Via:||Exeter City Centre, Moretonhampstead, Two Bridges|
|Distance:||35.7 miles (57.5 km)|
|Meets:||B3181, B3183, B3182, A3015, A377, B3193, A382, B3357, A386|
|Former Number(s):||A3085, A30|
|Route outline (key)|
The B3212 is a lengthy route from the suburbs of Exeter across Dartmoor, through Postbridge to the terminus at Yelverton en route to Plymouth. The road is shorter and more scenic than the A38, the obvious route between the two cities, but a journey this way will take far longer.
The B3212 starts at a traffic-light-controlled junction with the B3181 at Whipton, one of the eastern suburbs of Exeter. There is a Sainsbury's store on the junction. The road heads west down Pinhoe Road (the pre-bypass A38, although it spent some time as the A3085 before becoming the B3212) into Exeter city centre.
After a brief multiplex along the A3015 in the city centre (including the bridges over the River Exe) the B3212 regains its number and heads out of town along Cowick Street (the pre-bypass A30). It crosses Pocombe Bridge, which marks its original eastern end, just before it passes into open countryside via a bridge under the A30.
The road climbs steadily to Longdown before descending via a stream valley to meet the B3193. It goes over a hill to enter the Dartmoor National Park and passes to the south of Dunsford before crossing the River Teign. A winding - but not particularly steep - stretch follows until Moretonhampstead (the longest one word place in England) is reached. Here the road crosses the A382. For some reason, the section of the B3212 between the B3193 and A382 was declassified in the 1991, only to regain its original number in 2009.
Moretonhampstead has a spur of the B3212 along Betton Way to join the A382 slightly further north. A couple of miles after leaving town the road crosses the River Bovey and then sets out across the moor proper. Just over another mile later the road crosses a cattle grid and enters the infamous Dartmoor 40 zone. Round the next corner the hedges disappear. The road is now more-or-less straight, which at least gives drivers ample warning of animals trying to cross the road.
After more climbing the road reaches its summit at Bush Down and shortly afterwards the isolated Warren House Inn is passed. After several miles of empty moorland it is somewhat of a shock for the walls to come back followed by another cattle grid before entering the village of Postbridge, where the East Dart River is crossed. The ancient clapper bridge (which possibly gave the village its name) is visible to the south of the present road bridge.
Climbing out of Postbridge the terrain is not so bleak as before. However, the legend of the Hairy Hands of Dartmoor has grown up along this section of road: invisible hands take control of the steering wheel to try and force vehicles off the road - although it could just be due to drivers not knowing the road and behaving inappropriately for the conditions. The B3212 passes a sizeable wood before crossing a stream and eventually reaching a T-junction. The other road met is the B3357 (former A384) and the B3212 multiplexes west through Two Bridges, where the River West Dart is crossed (on a bridge that is not one of the original two).
At the next junction the B3212 turns left regaining its number before reaching Princetown, almost a metropolis compared with the size of other places on Dartmoor. A spur of the B3357 leaves to the right through the town centre passing the prison.
A cattle grid is crossed soon after leaving Princetown and once again the B3212 is an unfenced road across the moors. It crosses Walkhampton Common before descending steeply to another cattle grid, which marks the end of the 40 zone. At the bottom of the hill is the village of Dousland. Soon Yelverton is met, where the B3212 ends at a roundabout on the A386. Traffic for Plymouth turns left.