Road Facts and Figures
This page is an attempt to provide details of the longest, highest, etc. classified roads in the British Isles. References to 'Great Britain' below exclude Northern Ireland, which is treated separately.
This page is still a 'work in progress' and updates / corrections are more than welcome.
According to the Ordnance Survey, there are approximately 321,000 miles of 'motorable', roads in the UK. The precise definition of this is unclear, but probably relates to public highway suitable for/passable by motor vehicles.
- The A1 is the longest classified Road in GNB at 396 miles from London to Edinburgh.
- The A38 is the longest 2-digit A-road in GB at over 309 miles from Bodmin to Mansfield.
- The A361 is the longest 3-digit A-road in GB at 195 miles from Ilfracombe to Kilsby.
- The A1101 is the longest 4-digit A-road in GB at 53 miles from Long Sutton to Bury St Edmunds.
- The B6318 is the longest B-road in GB at 61 miles from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Langholm.
However, none of the A-roads are continuous as they either have a non-dominant multiplex, or motorway (eg A1(M)) sections, or both.
- The longest A-road wholly in England is the A38.
- The longest A-road wholly in Wales is the A470 at 185 miles, closely followed by the A487 at 174 miles.
- The longest A-road wholly in Scotland is the A9 at 279 miles, with the A82 coming a distant second at 175 miles, and the A836 is the longest 3-digit route at 125 miles.
British A-roads over 100 miles long
|1||A1||396 miles||11||A34||199 miles||21||A52||146 miles||31||A66||115 miles|
|2||A38||309 miles||12||A361||195 miles||22||A14||137 miles||32||A85||115 miles|
|3||A30||284 miles||13||A470||185 miles||23||A4||130 miles||33||A11||110 miles|
|4||A6||282 miles||14||A47||179 miles (now longer)||24||A12||129 miles (now shorter)||34||A61||107 miles|
|5||A9||279 miles||15||A82||175 miles||25||A832||126 miles||35||A59||106 miles|
|6||A5||270 miles||16||A487||174 miles||26||A836||125 miles||36||A449||105 miles|
|7||A40||256 miles||17||A10||161 miles||27||A19||124 miles||37||A838||104 miles|
|8||A41||222 miles||18||A49||158 miles||28||A57||122 miles||38||A27||103 miles|
|9||A46||205 miles||19||A483||155 miles||29||A48||119 miles||39||A96||102 miles|
|10||A39||204 miles||20||A90||149 miles||30||A259||117 miles||40||A614||100 miles|
- The longest N road in Ireland is the N59 at 298 km
- The longest A-road in Northern Ireland is the A2 at 237 miles
- The longest R road in Ireland is the R445 at 168 km
- The longest B-road in Northern Ireland is the B2 at 57 miles.
A and N roads longer than 100 km / 62 miles (N Roads include motorway sections)
|1||A2||381 km : 237 miles||8||N72||166 km : 103 miles||15||N2||133 km : 83 miles||22||N24||116 km : 72 miles|
|2||N59||298 km : 185 miles||9||N56||1512 km : 94 miles||16||N11||129 km : 80 miles||23||N80||115 km : 71 miles|
|3||N4||198 km : 123 miles||10||N6||148 km : 92 miles||17||N67||129 km : 80 miles||24||A6||113 km : 70 miles|
|4||N25||188 km : 117 miles||11||N8||147 km : 91 miles||18||N17||123 km : 76 miles||25||A4||111 km : 69 miles|
|5||N7||187 km : 116 miles||12||A29||146 km : 91 miles||19||A26||119 km : 74 miles||26||N15||111 km : 69 miles|
|6||N71||186 km : 116 miles||13||N70||142 km : 88 miles||20||N9||119 km : 74 miles||27||A3||106 km : 66 miles|
|7||N52||178 km : 111 miles||14||N5||134 km : 83 miles||21||N22||116 km : 72 miles|
- The M6 is the longest Motorway in GB at 236 miles from Catthorpe, Leicestershire to the Scottish Border.
- The M25 is the longest 2-digit Motorway in GB at over 117 miles from Dartford to Thurrock.
- The M180 is the longest 3-digit Motorway in GB at 25 miles from Hatfield, Yorkshire to Barnetby-le-Wold.
- The A1(M) is the longest Ax(M) road in GB at 122 miles from South Mimms to Washington in five sections while the A74(M) is the longest continuous Ax(M) Motorway, running from Abington to just south of Gretna Green.
- The longest Motorway wholly in England is the M6. Its 236 miles stop just short of the Scottish Border.
- The longest, and only, Motorway wholly in Wales is the A48(M) at 2 miles.
- The longest Motorway wholly in Scotland is the M8 at 61 miles, with the M74 coming second at 32.5 miles.
- The longest motorway in Ireland is, for now, the M7 at a distance of 187 km (116 miles).
- The longest motorway in Northern Ireland is the M1 at 38 miles.
- The highest classified road in Scotland is the Cairnwell Pass on the A93 at 2199 feet (670 m). Other high routes in Scotland include the Lechd Summit on the A939, at 2113 feet (644 m), the Bealach na Ba pass in Applecross, which reaches 2054 feet (626 m), and the Cairngorm Mountain road off the B970, which reaches approximately 2100 feet (640 m).
- The highest motorway in Great Britain is the M62 at a point inside Junction 22, east of the junction bridge. A sign proclaims the height to be 1221 feet (372 m).
- The highest point on any British motorway other than the Pennine section of the M62 is on the M74 at an unmarked point near Wedder Law, about midway between junctions 12 and 13, believed to be 1060 feet (323 m). This point remains less well known than Beattock Summit further south on the former A74 (now B7076) which at 1029 feet (314 m) was until 1991 the highest point on the Carlisle-Glasgow route. The nearby local summit on the A74(M) is probably about 1020 feet (311 m).
- The highest point on any English motorway other than the Pennine section of the M62 is at Shap Summit (1036 feet, 316 m) on the M6 a short distance south of junction 39.
Shortest numbered road
There must be many claimants for the title of shortest classified road in GB. Most are urban link roads, which were allocated separate numbers many years ago, whereas these days they would simply be a spur of the main route.
A-roads less than circa 500 yds/m long include:
B-Roads less than circa 500 yds/m long include:
Roads meeting each other more than twice
There are many examples of two roads meeting each other again and again. Generally they result from a main route being realigned, and the old road being downgraded to a lesser status. If the two routes multiplex with each other, both junctions are counted. Some examples are:
- A48 / M4 Meet each other about 10 times in total as they weave through South Wales.
- A38 / M5 Meet each other 8 times directly, and many more times via a very short stretch on another route to get to the junction (eg J23, Bridgwater, where the A39 provides the link).
- A830 / B8008 have 8 junctions with each other (including spurs) between Arisaig and Mallaig.
- A1/A199 have 6 junctions with each other (including spurs) between Brunstane and Dunbar. One of the junctions is a cannon.
Geographical extremities: north, south, east and west
|England||A1||A3112 (on mainland A3083)||A47||A3111 (on mainland A30)|
|Scotland||B9087||B7041||B9088 (mainland B9018)||A888 (mainland B884)|
|Wales||A5025||A4055||M48 (A466 is easternmost non-motorway)||B4583|
|Republic of Ireland||R242||R591||R750||R559|
Motorways (note junction references are given to the nearest junction to the extremity)
|British Isles||M90 spur to A9||M5 j31||M20 j13||M8 (RoI)|
|GB||M90 spur to A9||M5 j31||M20 j13||M4 j49|
|Ireland (island)||M2 (NI)||M8 (RoI)||M5 (NI)||M8 (RoI)|
|UK||M90 spur to A9||M5 j31||M20 j13||M1 (NI) j15|
|Wales||M4 j49||M4 j33||M48 j2||M4 j49|
|Scotland||M90 spur to A9||A74(M) border||M90 j9||M8 j31|
|England||A74(M) border||M5 j31||M20 j13||M5 j31|
M roads by zone (note junction references are given to the nearest junction to the extremity)
|1||M1 j48||M1 j1||M11 j8||M1 j40|
|2||M25 j21||M275||M20 j13||M27 j1|
|3||M32 southern end||M3 southern end||M3 j1||M32|
|4||M42 j11||M4 j11||M4 j1||M4 j48|
|5||M55 j3||M5 j31||M5 at M6||M5 j31|
|6||M6 j45||M6 at M1||M62 j38||M62 j4|
|7||M73 j3||M74 j13||M74 j13||M77 j8|
|8||M80 j6||M8 j6||M8 j1||M8 j31|
|9||M90 spur to A9||M9 j1||M9 j9||M9 j11|
A-roads by zone
|Starting number||North||South||East||West||Furthest clockwise 'strayer'||Furthest anti-cw strayer|
|3||A34||A3112||A3211||A3111||A34||A3023 (never enters zone, A31)|
B-roads by zone
|9||B9087||B900 or B901 (too close to call)||B9088||B9164|