Barnstaple is a large town in north Devon. It acts as a service centre for the many coastal resorts nearby, as well as enjoying a sizeable tourist trade itself. A series of bypasses and relief roads over the last 20–30 years have moved the A39 and A361 away from the Town centre.
Before any of the bypasses were built around Barnstaple, the A361 and A39 used to loop around each other in the town centre, with the A377 terminating on the A361 at Newport to the south east. There were seemingly no B roads in the town, and the A39 followed the route of the modern B3233 as it headed west towards Bideford.