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C48 (Inverclyde)

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Location Map ( geo)
The A78 at Dunrod Road - Geograph - 5759913.jpg
North end of the C48 at the A78, Spango Valley
Cameraicon.png View gallery (27)
Dunrod Road / Shielhill Road / Loch Thom Road
From:  Spango Valley (NS222736)
To:  Garvock (NS252708)
Via:  Cornalees Bridge
Distance:  3.1 miles (5 km)
Meets:  A78, C47
Highway Authorities


Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
C48 Inverkip - Garvock
This article is about the Class III road numbered C48 maintained by Inverclyde Council.
For other roads numbered C48, see C48

The C48 runs from the A78 in Spango Valley north of Inverkip, to the south end of Loch Thom, where it joins the C47 Old Largs Road.


A78 Inverkip Road to Millhouse Road junction

C48 at Auchness Bridge, showing the rebuilt parapets

The road drops down from the A78 to cross the Spango Burn on the high arched, stone built Auchness Bridge. The bridge parapets were rebuilt in 2017. From here, the road turns sharply to the right and rises again as it follows the course of Kip Water (which runs in a deep gorge), passing Dunrod Farm before crossing over the Wemyss Bay branch of the Inverclyde Line railway. Dunrod passing loop on the single track line can be seen from the north side of the bridge.

The road enjoys a short flat stretch until the junction with Millhouse Road, which leads over the hill to Inverkip village. This junction was the location of a level crossing on the Shielhill Glen Railway, a mineral line which served the sandstone quarries in the glen from 1865 until around 1880. No trace of the crossing remains, but traces of the line cuttings and embankments can be seen in the adjoining fields.

Millhouse Road junction to Cornalees Bridge

C48 and Greenock Cut at Shielhill Farm

From this junction, the road twists and climbs steadily up the north side of the glen, high above Kip Water once more. Shortly after emerging from the wooded glen, it crosses over the Greenock Cut and passes through Shielhill Farm before it drops down slightly to cross Kip Water on Cornalees Bridge, as it exits Compensation Reservoir.

The Greenock Cut Visitor Centre at Cornalees Bridge is a local attraction which details the history of Loch Thom and The Cut which fed water to Greenock as recently as 1971. Its toilet facilities and fairly large car park are popular with the hillwalkers and anglers who frequent the area, which is within the Clyde Muirshiel Regional park.

A metalled road, known locally as The Waterman's Road, branches off at Cornalees Bridge towards the so called Waterman's House above Compensation Reservoir at Loch Thom. A rough water works access track continues over Scroggy Bank to Overton on the outskirts of Greenock.

Cornalees Bridge to Loch Thom

The south end of the C48 at Loch Thom

From Cornalees Bridge, the road climbs past the outfall of Compensation Reservoir and past Cornalees Farm to reach the west bank of Loch Thom, which is still the main water supply for Greenock. The scenery changes dramatically from green pasture to moorland at this point. The road around the loch is flat and runs very close to the edge of the water. It comes to an end with a short climb to the C47, Old Largs Road, just beyond a cattle grid at the south end of the loch, near Garvock.

Events leading to temporary closures

Mobile crane accident 2009

Toppled crane in Shielhill Glen

In January 2009 a mobile crane toppled off the road and down a short embankment near Majeston Farm. The road was closed for several weeks until the embankment was widened to accommodate a short stretch of temporary road, which was laid to enable two additional cranes to perform the recovery operation.

Landslide 2011

Landslide repair in Shielhill Glen

A serious landslide occurred on the steepest part of the road near the top of Shielhill Glen in November 2011. This resulted in the road being closed for around a year while major civil engineering works were undertaken to repair and strengthen the damaged hillside. Access for pedestrians and cyclists was not possible during this time due to the extent of the damage and the steep terrain which left little room for manoeuvre for the machinery involved in the repair work. A temporary diversion route for pedestrians and cyclists was created along the course of the Greenock Cut. The nine miles long vehicle diversion to Cornalees Bridge was via the A78, B7054 and C47 (Inverclyde).

C48 (Inverclyde)
Related Pictures
View gallery (27)
The A78 at Dunrod Road - Geograph - 5759913.jpgC48 (Inverclyde) Greenock Cut - Geograph - 4426617.jpgC48 (Inverclyde) Toppled crane in Shielhill Glen - Geograph - 1159348.jpgC47 Old Largs Road - Geograph - 3101893.jpgC47 Road junction at Loch Thom - Geograph - 2298030.jpg
Class III Roads maintained by Inverclyde Council
C11 • C17 • C18 • C22 • C36 • C37 • C43 • C47 • C48 • C58 • C62 • C63 • C77 • C79 • C80 • C81 • C82 • C83

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