|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||West Heath (SP029767)|
|Via:||Burcot, Lickey End, Marlbrook, Lickey, Cofton Hackett|
|Distance:||8.7 miles (14 km)|
|Meets:||B4184, M42, A38, B4120, A441|
|Old route now:||B4551|
|Route outline (key)|
It starts by the Tardebigge Inn, heading northwest from the point where the northbound B4184 TOTSOs left to pass beneath the A448 dual carriageway. The first 400 yards follow what used to be the alignment of that road before it was dualled.
The standard of the B4091 varies between S2 and S1, including a low bridge under the Birmingham to Bromsgrove railway line (on the Lickey Incline). After passing the village of Burcot, it hits Lickey End in the northern suburbs of Bromsgrove. Contained within the suburb is the Forest Roundabout (after the nearby pub, though it is increasingly becoming known as the Harvester Island since the chain took over the pub). This is where the B4091 meets the A38 and M42 (eastbound only) at junction 1.
From here the road starts its accent up the Lickey Hills, passing through the village of Marlbrook. This road is called Old Birmingham Road; many years ago it was the main route into Birmingham from the south, though this is now taken care of by the A38 passing between a gap between the Lickeys and the Wasleys (this road has never been the A38). No sooner does the B4096 reach the top of the hill, it starts its steep decent down again: a hill that is prone to accidents in icy weather. At the bottom the road crosses the B4120 at a roundabout and then skirts the edge of Cofton Park. Here the B4096 must TOTSO to the right to enter the suburbs of Birmingham. The railway line is crossed again, alongside the former Rover Factory, much of which has now been demolished. One final TOTSO right at a mini roundabout sends the route in the right direction for its terminus on the A441, right on the administrative boundary between Birmingham and Worcestershire.
A number of maps locate the southern end of the B4096 not by the Tardebigge Inn but just over a mile further southeast at the B4184 junction with the A448 at Foxlydiate, west of Redditch. This seems unlikely to be truly the case, however, since it sets up a "useless multiplex" with the B4184 (which begins on the A441 in north Redditch). Although a flag sign by the Tardebigge Inn does label as "B4096" the southeast-bound B4184 from there to Foxlydiate, the corresponding sign pointing northwest to Tardebigge from the latter place confirms that this stretch is in fact part of the B4184.
The original starting-point of the B4096 was 400 yards further north than at present, at a junction with the then-route of the A448 by the northwest gate of Hewell Park, Tardebigge. From there, the B4096 ran to the A38 at Lickey End, followed by a short multiplex north along that road. It then continued north via Romsley to end on the A456 at Halesowen. The section north of Lickey End was renumbered A459 in the early 1920s. The B4096 was extended north along the previously unclassified Old Birmingham Road over the Lickeys to meet the B4120 in the early 1930s but did not reach the A441 until after World War II.
The Lickey End - Halesowen section of the B4096 has now reverted to Class II status as the B4551 (although the northern end is still A459). The southern section of the B4551 does not follow the ex-B4096 as its route has been taken by the M5 (the building of which was probably the catalyst for the downgrading of the A459).