|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Crowthorne Wood (SU852656)|
|Distance:||5.7 miles (9.2 km)|
|Meets:||A327, B3016, A321, A3095|
|Route outline (key)|
The B3348 is a short, largely wooded, semi-rural B-road in eastern Berkshire.
The B3348 starts in the Berkshire side of Eversley, within shouting distance of the River Blackwater, which is the county boundary with Hampshire. The road leaves the A327 adjacent to the Tally Ho pub and heads roughly eastwards towards the village of Finchampstead.
This part of Berkshire is a popular area to live and therefore the B3348 is mostly lined with houses. This stretch is no exception - although the houses here have large grounds and are therefore not very prominent from the road, especially as we pass through Fleet Copse (a wood). Finchampstead is quite a scattered village and so it takes time for the houses to become close enough together that we think we are passing through a settlement. We pass between a large recreation ground and a small church before meeting the B3016 as the buildings become more thinly spread once more.
At this junction, traffic on the B3348 has priority over the B3016. The road climbs, passing a turn to Finchampstead Church (which marks the centre of the scattered village), and reaches the village war memorial. The B3016 leaves at this point - although here it is B3016 traffic which has priority. Obviously this section of road is a multiplex - but the question is which road number the section has. Road signs are unhelpful: the road not having to give way at each junction is classed as the dominant partner in the multiplex, meaning that the section is theoretically B3348 north-eastbound and B3016 south-westbound!
Leaving the B3016 behind, the B3348 continues to climb. It bends sharply to the right at the Finchampstead Ridges, a steep, wooded section of land owned by the National Trust. A few lay-bys are provided as the road runs along the top of the Ridges - although whether these are for walkers or residents of the houses opposite is debatable.
At the end of the row, we bend to the left and begin to travel along the spectacular Wellingtonia Avenue. The trees lining the road for over half a mile were planted in memory of the first Duke of Wellington, who lived about five miles west of the western end of the B3348 (and is never far away from the road!). We pass a National Trust car park about a third of the way along. The avenue of trees ends at a roundabout with the A321 on the edge of Finchampstead.
East of the A321, the B3348 passes into Crowthorne and crosses the Reading to Guildford railway line adjacent to Crowthorne station. It passes the entrance to the drive for Wellington College (an independent school named after somebody familiar). Indeed, this section of road is called Duke's Ride, which is also in memory of the Iron Duke. We go through a set of traffic lights, heading towards the northern end of Crowthorne High Street.
A few hundred yards from the High Street, the B3348 enters a 20mph zone, where the road is covered with speed humps. The 20mph zone stops just before the mini-roundabout on the High Street, which at one time was numbered A3095. When the A3095 bypass was built, the B3348 was extended out of the village to meet the bypass.
After a few hundred yards, the B3348 meets a roundabout which marks the end of the built-up area. Indeed, the final section of road is the only part of the B3348 which is not lined with houses (although it may not be possible to see this as a result of the trees). We pass the back of the Transport Research Laboratory and eventually come to a roundabout with the A3095 Crowthorne Bypass which marks the end of the B3348. The northbound filter lane, bypassing the roundabout, marks the original route of the A3095 before the Crowthorne Bypass was built.
The B3348 did not exist in the original 1922 Road Lists. At that time the road west of the A321 was unclassified, then the A3018 took the road into Crowthorne and the A332 out again. The B3348 number was allocated in the late 1920s to the section of road west of the A321.
In 1935 the A3095 took over the whole of the road's present route east of the A321. That road had three prongs but it was not until the 1970s that its spur west to the A321 was renumbered as an extension of the B3348. When the A-road was moved onto the Crowthorne bypass in the 1980s the B3348 was extended to meet it.