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B723

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B723
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (11)
From:  Annan (NY185670)
To:  Eskdalemuir (NY252978)
Via:  Lockerbie
Distance:  23.9 miles (38.5 km)
Meets:  B721, B725, A74(M), B7076, A709, B7068, B709
Former Number(s):  A74
Highway Authorities

Dumfries and Galloway

Traditional Counties

Dumfriesshire

Route outline (key)
B723 Annan – Lockerbie
(B7068) Lockerbie
B723 Lockerbie – Eskdalemuir

The B723 is a lengthy cross-country B-road in central Dumfriesshire.

Route

Annan - Lockerbie

The B723 sweeping north from Annan

The route starts at a spacious T-junction (with extra link roads) on the B721 (former A75) to the west of Annan. This junction appears to predate the bypass, so would have been built when the main road was still the A75. The route heads north west and soon crosses a bridge over the A75 Annan bypass, although there is no junction here. To begin with, the B723 follows a slightly undulating route across a relatively flat landscape (although it does pass the odd low hill) and after a few bends it follows a more-or-less straight course. After a couple of miles the route has climbed up to a summit of 71m as it passes between two hills and goes through a wood. It then drops steadily down, back into the valley of the River Annan, meeting the B725 at a wooded T junction just before the bridge. The B723 is then the dominant partner in a multiplex north across the narrow Hoddom Bridge over the River Annan before the B725 turns off to the right.

The B723 continues north, briefly running along the bank of the meandering river, before winding off uphill a little. A sharp left turn at a T junction sees it turn north west and contour slowly round the side of a hill as it curves into the valley of the Water of Milk. So far the route has passed very few houses, so the small group tumbling down hill at Middleshaw looks almost like a village when first seen across the fields! The B723 is soon descending itself, down through woodland to the equally tiny settlement of Kettleholm, where it crosses the narrow Kettleholm Bridge over the Water of Milk, a tributary of the River Annan. The towered church on a small mound should be a prominent feature as the road begins to climb north, but it is well hidden by mature trees. A long dead-straight section then takes the road north across fields and through more patches of woodland, before it bears to the right to meet the A74(M) at the limited-access junction 18 (northbound exit from, and southbound entry to, the motorway). Most of the old direct line of the B723 from here to its junction with, and original terminus on, the former A74 has now been abandoned as part of the public road network.

Lockerbie High Street

After passing over the motorway the B7076 comes in from the right along the old route of the A74, and the B723 is the dominant partner in a short multiplex. At a roundabout some 400 m further on, the B7076 resumes, carrying on ahead along the original Lockerbie bypass, whilst the B723 turns right to follow the original line of the A74 through town on Carlisle Road. A long line of modern bungalows stand on the right, with more mixed housing on the left, but as the road approaches the town centre, older properties line both sides of the road. The eastern end of the A709 is met at traffic lights in the town centre. Interestingly, this A-road ends here, thus making it one of a small number of Class I routes to end on a Class II route. The B723 continues north past the shops along the High Street to a T junction by the war memorial in front of the town hall. Here the B7068 comes in from the right, and the two multiplex north along Townhead Street, although it is not clear which is the dominant number.

Lockerbie - Eskdalemuir

Townhead Street is narrower than the High Street was, and still lined with shops, making it a bit of a bottleneck at times. It does widen as it passes the parish church, beyond which there are fewer businesses and more houses. The route then TOTSOs right at a mini roundabout; the road ahead, now the B7068, is the original line of the A74. Now following Dryfe Road past the redeveloped school site, the B723 continues to head north and soon goes over the West Coast Main Line, after which it passes between a mixture of industrial estates and modern housing estates which back onto the main road. Soon the edge of the town is reached and the route enters open country, running along the edge of the valley of the Dryfe Water, a tributary of the River Annan. There are several long straights along here, connected by tricky winding sections. The road is narrow, however, hemmed in by thick hedges and lorries are directed onto an alternative, unclassified road which has bene greatly improved in recent years.

As the valley narrows, the road drops down close to the river down on the left,. The landscape is much as it was south of Lockerbie, rolling fields with patches of woodland and a few scattered houses, but nothing that could be called a village. At Sibbaldbie, the B723 zig-zags to the opposite bank of the river by means of the narrow Claydaubing Bridge. There is a TOTSO junction on the west bank, where the aforementioned unclassified road comes in from the left, providing a wider and better route for traffic back towards Lockerbie. The B723 is, itself, now a little wider as it runs north along an undulating straight on the west bank of the river. At Milton of Dryfe the road curves north east with the river, and slowly climbs away from the riverbank while still following the valley. A low summit of 134m is reached before the road dips down again to the tiny settlement of Berryscaur.

Mossfauld Sike, between Boreland and Eskdalemuir

Eventually the road bends to the right to cross the river again, at Hutton Mill just before reaching the tiny village of Boreland, where it bears to the left and climbs past the school and the small group of houses. This is the start of a long climb out of the valley, loosely following the Boreland Burn. After crossing a few fields, it reaches open moorland and slowly winds up to a first summit of around 250m. Here it enters a forest, and descends to cross the River Black Esk at Sandyford Bridge, in a small clearing near some houses. Climbing again, the route nears the 250m contour once more before dipping to cross a burn. Large swathes of the forest have been felled and some replanted, while the road has always run through a wide ride between the trees. There are few views, however, as the road gently rises and falls along long straights and sweeping bends. The final summit is the highest at around 280m, and soon after the road drops out of the trees. Back in open country, the road winds down into the tiny village of Eskdalemuir, where it ends by the church at a T-junction on the B709.

History

The B722 originally just ran between Annan and Lockerbie. However, it was extended through to Eskdalemuir relatively early, certainly before 1928 when it appears on a revised edition of the MOT map. Since then the route has not changed much, but the multiplex through Lockerbie has changed. Originally this multiplex was with the A74. Then, when the town was first bypassed (the B7076 now follows this alignment), a limited access Grade separated junction with south facing slips was provided at the southern end of the bypass. This appears to have created a TOTSO junction, with priority given to the offslip, followed by a long loop over the bridge to find the onslip. The B723 then followed the original line of the A74 through town, including (as now) a short multiplex with the B7068, which then took over the old A74 line to the towns northern junction.

Things changed again with the coming of the motorway, which has been built over a short section of the former B723 just north of the current junction. The old road can still be traced for a short distance on the west side of the motorway, and then reappears on the east as Old Annan Road, serving a handful of properties. The site of the junction on the original bypass has been obliterated by the construction of the motorway, but a short stub of it can be found serving a few properties on Carlisle Road beyond, with the T head at the end appearing to be the old onslip junction.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Annan - Lockerbie





B723
Junctions
Crossings
Roads
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (11)
Sillie Knowe - Geograph - 1543682.jpgHillside - Geograph - 221548.jpgM74 junction 18 slip road northbound - Geograph - 2411090.jpgShank Foot - Geograph - 1543709.jpgB723.jpg
Other nearby roads
Lockerbie
B700 – B799
B700 • B701 • B702 • B703 • B704 • B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B709 • B710 • B711 • B712 • B713 • B714 • B715 • B716 • B717 • B718 • B719
B720 • B721 • B722 • B723 • B724 • B725 • B726 • B727 • B728 • B729 • B730 • B731 • B732 • B733 • B734 • B735 • B736 • B737 • B738 • B739
B740 • B741 • B742 • B743 • B744 • B745 • B746 • B747 • B748 • B749 • B750 • B751 • B752 • B753 • B754 • B755 • B756 • B757 • B758 • B759
B760 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B764 • B765 • B766 • B767 • B768 • B769 • B770 • B771 • B772 • B773 • B774 • B775 • B776 • B777 • B778 • B779
B780 • B781 • B782 • B783 • B784 • B785 • B786 • B787 • B788 • B789 • B790 • B791 • B792 • B793 • B794 • B795 • B796 • B797 • B798 • B799
Earlier versions: B705 • B706 • B707 • B708 • B713(E) • B713(W) • B714 • B715 • B716 • B724 • B727 • B730 • B734
B735 • B736 • B739 (S) • B739 (N) • B743 • B744 • B746 • B752 • B761 • B762 • B763 • B765 • B773 • B783 • B785 • B789 • B791 • B795
Anomalous numbers: B77

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