|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Stoneybeck, north of Penrith (NY503338)|
|Distance:||19.6 miles (31.5 km)|
|Meets:||A6, M6, B5299, A595, B5304|
|Route outline (key)|
The B5305 is a long cross-country B-road in north Cumberland.
Stoneybeck - Sebergham
We start a mile or so north of Penrith on the A6 at the Stoneybeck roundabout. It is a rather inauspicious start for a lengthy trans-Cumbrian road, which sees it signed as a spur of the A6 from some directions (which at one time it was). Nevertheless, it is a wide road, evidently once S3, although now just lined as two lanes. Before long, the M6 motorway is reached at Junction 41. Whilst this is obviously a re-alignment of the original road, it has been the route of the B5305 since it was re-routed away from Penrith when the motorway was built.
After the large roundabout, we start on the first of the long straights that characterise this road. While it undulates greatly as it heads north west, the road is straight enough to maintain a reasonable speed for two miles or so before the sharp left-hander past Hutton-in-the-Forest. After passing the driveway into the house, we turn sharply to the right, regaining our original trajectory through the scattered village of Unthank. Again, the road is wide and straight with generous grass verges as it continues to the diagonal crossroads northwest of Skelton. This is where the original route deviated through the village, so now we pick up the original route as we continue towards Wigton. Near to where the new route and old route join is the Skelton Radio Transmitting Station, the home of Skelton Mast, the tallest man-made structure in the UK.
The road remains almost arrow-straight as it slowly climbs the hill, so straight that you would be forgiven for thinking it was a Roman Route. A quick look at the map, however, shows that all of the roads round here are straight (although not necessarily parallel or perpendicular to each other). This would suggest that they date from the enclosure of the land in the 17th or 18th century.
At Skelton Wood End, a slight bend marks the summit and we begin the slow descent into Sebergham. As we approach the village, the sides of the River Caldew's valley suddenly steepen and the signs warn of both the descent and ascent gradients as the road starts to weave down the hill to lessen the gradient as much as it can. The river is crossed at the bottom on Sebergham Bridge, and after another couple of narrow bends, the ascent begins.
Sebergham - Wigton
At the top of the hill out of Sebergham, we meet the B5299 at a crossroads, but otherwise continue straight on until a kink to the left takes us through the small village of Rosley. While the road then remains reasonably straight, the long straights are behind us and the kinks and bends become more common as we gently wind down the hill to the A595. This is the first time that the road has had to give way since the roundabout over the M6, and the original crossroads has been staggered, with the southern approach pushed a little to the west. This results in a right-left to continue along the road - not that there is much of it left.
After a short straight, we turn to the right, with Syke Road continuing straight on and providing an alternative route into Wigton. Meanwhile, we continue to descend the hill until we enter the south side of the small town, ending our trans-Cumbrian adventure at a T-junction, where a right turn onto the B5304 High Street will take us into Wigton town centre.
As mentioned above, the original route of the B5305 started more-or-less in Penrith. This saw it leave the A594 (now B5288) as Newton Road on the western fringe of the town and pass through Newton Reigny - the old finger post in the village still has B5305 visible, albeit painted out. It then continued roughly north west through Laithes and Skelton to reach the modern route near Crown Point just to the north west of Skelton.
With the construction of the M6 the B5305 was rerouted along formerly unclassified roads to meet it. On the eastern side a new road was built to connect the motorway with the A6. This began as a spur of the A6 but was later downgraded to become part of the B5305.