|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Fosse Park (SK555005)|
|Distance:||38.6 miles (62.1 km)|
|Meets:||A34, A38, B4100, A4540, A47, B4145, B4516, A4040, B4147, A452, B4118, B4119, A452, A446, B4117, B4098, B4116, B4112, B4111, A444, A4254, B4112, B4109, A5, B4669, B581, B582, A563, A5460|
|Former Number(s):||A4400, A47, A46|
|Route outline (key)|
The B4114 stepped up to the plate when two major roads needed renumbering. As the only continuous road from Birmingham to Leicester, it takes the route of the old A47 and A46 (before both were lost to the M6 and M69 respectively). Originally the road was only the short section east of Nuneaton as far as the A46 on Wolvey Heath.
Birmingham to Coleshill
The B4114 starts as a continuation of the A34 in central Birmingham, with a fully grade-separated junction at Lancaster Circus; this was originally all part of the A4400, Birmingham's former inner ring road, and the junction in question is such a high standard, despite one of the through routes being a B road without much traffic, because it used to form a corner of that ring road. Unlike the west side of the ring road, which regained the A38 number from a multiplex and is still a major through route, the remaining three sides were downgraded, becoming the B4114 to the north, B4100 to the east, and an unclassified road to the south (which is not even legally traversable by car nowadays – part of it is a tunnel used to connect bus routes to the Moor Street bus interchange).
The B4114 leaves the route of the former ring road at what was once Masshouse Circus, which is now a gyratory whose arms are formed by a spur of the B4114 and the B4100, which continues the former ring road's route to the south. It follows the dual carriageway Jennens Road to meet the A4540 Middleway at Ashted Circus before disappearing under the A47 as far as Saltley. The A47 now heads under the belly of the M6 to host the Heartlands Parkway. The B4114, meanwhile, passes through Washwood Heath and generally takes an eastward path out of Birmingham. At Stetchford Lane it crosses the A4040, Birmingham's Outer Ring road.
At the A452 spur it crosses into Solihull and parallels the mainline of that road through Castle Bromwich and Kingshurst. After a few miles of inner-city suburbia, it makes a left turn and heads for rural Warwickshire, passing over three motorways in succession (the M6, the M6 Toll and the M42). It was briefly diverted whilst the building the M6 Toll took place, to allow the bridge to be built, and also to put in a roundabout.
Coleshill to Nuneaton
Upon entering Warwickshire County Council's administrative area, the B4114 crosses firstly the A446 and then Coleshill, before heading east again. It passes through the small villages (a-pub-and-a-postbox type places) of Shustoke and Church End, before reaching the crossroads at Furnace End. In the early 1970s this was a glorious meeting of roads. The A51 met with the A47 at this point, with the A47 winning, and taking the route off to Coventry, before sneakily heading off to Nuneaton, and leaving the A51 wondering why it bothered to come so far south. However, now the B4098 assumes the role of the old A51, and the B4114 bullies its way through the junction, as once the A47 had done.
Our road turns right at the crossroads and heads up the hill to more small villages and Nuneaton. At Over Whitacre it swings to its left, and rolls over the North Warwickshire hills. It passes the Hoar Park Farm, seller of local produce, and has a choice to make at Church End (a different one). It decides to leave the route to South Nuneaton, Bedworth and Arbury Hall to the B4112 and take the direct route to Nuneaton. After passing through Ansley Common and Hartshill, it arrives in Nuneaton's Quarry Quarter.
Whilst coming down the hill at Camp Hill, you may be wondering where the quarries are - but there were indeed once huge quarries to the left and right. The one to the north (on your left) is slowly being filled up with landfill, and the only evidence of there once having being major works there is the prominent Mount Judd. To the south (the right) the quarry is transforming itself into a marina. At the bottom of the hill you pass over the Coventry Canal and, for the second time, the Nuneaton to Birmingham railway line.
As you enter the Abbey Green part of Nuneaton, you pass the end of Manor Court Road, where the ruins of Nuneaton Priory (St Mary's Abbey) may be seen. It was the nuns of St Mary's who gave the town the first part of its name, which was originally just Eatun (the farmstead by the water). The B4114 then crashes into the A444 Nuneaton Ring Road at the dandelion roundabout. It's up to you which way you go round the ring road, but in the anti-clockwise direction you are spared the one-way system.
Nuneaton to Leicester
We pick up the B4114 again roughly 180 degrees round the Nuneaton Ring road as it makes its way South East out of Nuneaton (not in the Leicester direction at all). It heads under a railway bridge, over the River Anker, past the excellent Rugger Tavern, and then on a newer alignment through Attleborough (to bypass Attleborough High Street) and hits the A4254 (Nuneaton's unofficial outer ring road) at a roundabout.
This is shortly followed by a man-made hump, getting us over the West Coast Main Line before we reach a double mini-roundabout in Whitestone, so called from the former milestone / guidepost still visible at the junction of Lutterworth Road, Bulkington Lane, and Golf Drive – which is where the B4112 leaves us again.
Now heading out of Nuneaton, the B4114 passes Gamecock Barracks at Bramcote and bridges the M69 before meeting and continuing along the ex-A46 at a roundabout just northeast of Wolvey, where it turns to the north east and heads towards the A5. At Smockington it briefly piggybacks on that road, then resumes the old route of the A46 once again. As it passes through the village of Sharnford, it feels a strange attraction to the Fosse Way. The two eventually meet at Stoney Bridge, although the B4114 has had to do all the compromising. South of Croft, the B4114 has a brief moment of dual carriageway, passes a Falconry Centre, and passes over an existing railway, and under an abandoned one.
Having reached the outskirts of Leicester at Narborough, the remainder of the route is now dual-carriageway all the way. After passing under the M1 (its fifth motorway - does any other B-road pass over or under so many?), it meets a common sight in this part of the Midlands - a 3-digit B-road, in this case the B582. Crossing the Leicester outer ring road, the A563 at a light-controlled "squareabout", the B4114 is now no more than half a kilometre from its terminus and, surrounded by new developments, shiny modern buildings, shopping centres, and seven lanes of directional choice, the B4114 finally cedes power to the A5460 at the Fosse Park Shopping Centre. Amazingly, had it been allowed to continue its rightful path up the old A46 and Fosse Way, it would have been reunited on the edge of Leicester city centre - with the A47 from which it parted company nearly 65 km away in Birmingham.