M25 motorway Junction 13
M5 motorway Junctions 29 and 31
Land's End (50°03′58″N 5°42′04″W / 50.066°N
5.701°W / 50.066; -5.701)
Roads in the United Kingdom
A and B road zones
The A30 is a major road in England, running WSW from London to Land's
End. It is 284 miles (457 km) long.
The length of the road was a principal axis in Britain from the 17th
century to early 19th century, when it was a major coaching route. It
used to provide the fastest route from London to the South West by
land until a century before roads were numbered; nowadays much of this
function is performed by the M3 (including A316) and A303 roads. The
road has kept its principal status in the west from Honiton,
Land's End where it is mainly dual carriageway and retains trunk road
1.1 London to Honiton
Exeter to Penzance
2.1 17th – 18th centuries
2.2 19th century
2.3 20th century
2.4 21st century
2.5 Other proposals
3 Cultural references
London to Honiton
The A30 begins at Henlys Roundabout, where the route stems from the A4
near Hounslow. It runs south of the Southern Perimeter Road, Heathrow
Airport and north of Ashford and Staines-upon-Thames, before reaching
M25 motorway orbital motorway. This first section is entirely dual
carriageway. Taken with the A4, its natural continuation which nearby
becomes non-dualled towards the M25, the section constitutes one of
five routes into the southern half of London which reach Inner London
with at least a dual-carriageway, the others being the A3 (M), the M3,
the M20 and A2, however approximately one mile before reaching Inner
London it is combined with the London variants of the M3 and M4
After running astride the M25 to cross the Thames on a bridge designed
by Lutyens, the Runnymede Bridge, the A30 runs parallel to but distant
from the M3 until southwest of Basingstoke, bypassing
passing through the relatively high acid heathland and town centres of
Camberley where the route almost mirrors the
Devil's Highway, a stone (stane) street to Calleva Atrebatum
(Silchester Roman town), believed to be older still, then passes close
to Hook town centre and in the surrounding country the soil is arable.
Where the M3 changes direction (between North Waltham and Popham, at
the Popham Interchange) the A303 begins leading to 2 miles
(3.2 km) subsumation of the A30 (the A30 loses continuity). [a]
Sutton Scotney village the A30 runs parallel to the latter road
as-the-crow-flies 85 miles (137 km) to north-east of Honiton,
Devon passing through towns Stockbridge (where it meets its first
substantive river since the Thames, the Test) and its trout fishing
centres, Shaftesbury, Sherborne, Yeovil,
Crewkerne and Chard. Between
Shaftesbury it enters the cathedral city of Salisbury.
Between the M25 and Honiton, the A30 is mostly single carriageway,
carrying local traffic with short stretches of dual carriageway from
Camberley to Basingstoke, which has a dualled inner ring road, two
between Stockbridge and
Salisbury (an alike ring road shared with the
A36), and between
Sherborne and Yeovil.
Exeter to Penzance
Chiverton Cross from the east
This section is a trunk road as far as Penzance. It is mostly dual
carriageway, but there are some short sections of single carriageway.
To pass Exeter, through traffic can join the
M5 motorway for three
miles. West of Exeter, the A30 is dual carriageway through
into Cornwall, bypassing Whiddon Down,
Okehampton and Launceston. The
dual carriageway continues through
Cornwall to Carland Cross, after
which there is a single carriageway stretch to Chiverton Cross.
England are currently progressing plans to dual this section
of carriageway - its official warning, or Preferred Route Announcement
was made July 2017 and construction is due to start in 2020.
From Chiverton Cross, the dual carriageway bypasses
Camborne. The A30 returns to single carriageway west of Camborne, and
a mid-1980s bypass takes the road around Hayle. Between
Penzance, the A30 returns to the original route and it passes through
several villages. Approaching Penzance, the A30 briefly becomes a dual
carriageway once again. Once west of Penzance, the A30 becomes a more
rural road running through or past several villages, before
terminating at Land's End.
17th – 18th centuries
The Road from LONDON to the LANDS END (1675), John Ogilby
The bulk of the A30 follows the historic London – Land's End
coaching road. The road appeared on John Ogilby's map of Britain in
1675, and was covered by Ogilby's later strip-maps showing "The
Road from London to The
Land's End in Cornwall". The coaching route
started at Hyde Park Corner, closer to the centre of London than the
modern A30, closely mirroring the modern route as far as Exeter,
except for three sections, the longest being the westernmost.
Knightsbridge to Bedfont, the intermittent A315 in today's numbering.
Salisbury via Andover
Penzance via Ashburton,
Plymouth and following the Cornish
south coast via St Austell. Ogilby described it as "The Post-Office
making this one of their Principal Roads" and thought the section
through Surrey and Hampshire was "in general a very good Road with
It is described as the "Great Road to Land's End" in the Magna
Britannia, published in the early 19th century. As the coaching
Land's End was a major route, it was a popular place for
highwaymen. William Davies, also known as the Golden Farmer, robbed
several coaches travelling across
Bagshot Heath. He was hanged in 1689
at a gallows at the local gibbet hill between
Bagshot and Camberley.
Jolly Farmer pub was built near the site of the gallows (gibbet),
The A30 crossing the River Yarty. The road was built by the Chard
Turnpike Trust in the mid 19th century to compete with the New Direct
Road, later the A303.
At the turn of the 19th century, William Hanning created the "New
Direct Road", a fast coaching route between London and Exeter. The
road deviated from Ogilby's route running via
Amesbury and Ilminster,
rejoining the older road at Honiton. It became popular with postal
services such as The Subscription. In 1831, a race was held between
Exeter via the New Direct Road, which resulted in a dead
heat. 170 miles (270 km) were covered in 13 hours, compared to a
typical early 18th century time of four days. In response to the
competition of routes, a new turnpike road was built west of Chard,
avoiding the historic route to
Honiton via Stockland, with several
steep hills. This road met the New Direct Road near Upottery.[b]
Historically, the route between London and
Land's End was also called
the "Great South-West Road". In the 21st century, the name only refers
to a small section of the road near Heathrow.
The A30 was one of the first roads to be classified by the Ministry of
Transport for funding in 1921. It followed Ogilby's route up to
Exeter, then the basic route of the modern A30 through Okehampton,
Bodmin to the Greenmarket in Penzance, where it
ended. It was extended to
Land's End in 1925.
The Great South West Road section of the A30 around Heathrow had been
planned as the western end of the Great West Road project, one of the
first bypasses built for motor traffic. Construction began in 1914 but
was quickly halted because of World War I. It resumed construction in
1919. The full route from
Chiswick to Ashford was opened by King
George V on 30 May 1925.
Following the construction of a bypass around Basingstoke, the route
of the A30 was changed on 1 April 1933 to run by
Sutton Scotney and
Stockbridge, rejoining the original route at Lopcombe Corner east of
Salisbury. An alternative route, the A303 was created out of existing
roads at the same time between
Micheldever Station and the Blackdown
Hills, that followed the basic course of Hanning's New Direct Road.
The A30 remained the principal route between London and Exeter, until
the A303 became a trunk road in 1958, receiving central Government
funding and relegating the parallel A30 to a local road.
By the mid-20th century, large sections of the A30 were struggling to
cope with the increasing demands of road traffic. In the mid-1960s,
numerous councils complained that the Secretary of State for
Transport, Barbara Castle, decided that improvements to the A38 from
Plymouth were of higher priority for funding than any work
on the A30.
Cornwall County Council complained that the A30 through
the county was narrow and twisted, and known as the "stage coach
Following World War II, the
Ministry of Transport planned a
large-scale upgrade of the A30 across south-west England, with the
eventual intention that most of the route would be at least
dual-carriageway. The M3 motorway was planned as a replacement for
the A30 between London and Popham. Following a public enquiry in 1966,
the line was fixed the following year. The work was completed as
Bagshot in 1971, then to
Sunbury-on-Thames in 1974. In
1971, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Peter Walker
announced many upgrades of the A30 across
Devon and Cornwall,
identifying the section from
Bodmin as a key area of
The 2.2-mile (3.5 km)
Honiton dual-carriageway bypass opened in
early December 1966 at a cost of £984,000. The
Hayle bypass was
first proposed in the late 1970s. It was controversial, and Dora
Russell protested against its construction. It was completed in
Carland Cross roundabout
Okehampton bypass, which opened on 19 July 1988, goes to the south
of the town, cutting through the northern edge of Dartmoor National
Park in Devon. In the 1980s, the route of the bypass was the subject
of a prolonged campaign from conservationists, including Sylvia Sayer,
who preferred a route to the north of the town through agricultural
The section between
Exeter in East
Devon was upgraded in
1999 to dual carriageway, giving quicker access to Exeter
International Airport. This road was built under the Design Build
Finance Operate (DBFO) scheme by the private consortium Connect A30,
who receive a shadow toll from the Government for each vehicle
travelling along the road. Archaeological investigations during
the work found a Roman cavalry garrison and later settlement at
Pomeroy Wood. There were several protests by environmentalists
during construction and the particular nature of the
DBFO scheme, with
a long-lasting occupation of sites on the planned route, focused
Swampy received press attention for his part in this
protest. Along with other controversial road plans, including the M3
Twyford Down and the Newbury Bypass, the action led to
a slowdown in road construction throughout Britain.
During 2006 one of the main bottlenecks on the road was removed when
the Merrymeet roundabout between
Exeter near Whiddon
Down was replaced with a grade-separated junction and dual
Indian Queens project was completed in late 2007,
the new dual carriageway runs to the north of Goss Moor. The previous
road has been converted to a cycle lane. In December 2012 it was
announced that 2.8 miles (4.5 km) from Temple to Higher Carblake
would be upgraded to a dual carriageway. Building started in early
2015, and was completed in summer 2017. This work made the A30
continuous dual carriageway between the M5 at
Exeter and Carland Cross
In 2014, the A30 was identified as one of several key routes in the
Government's Road Investment Strategy, turning it into a strategic
corridor for southwest England. This includes further dual carriageway
improvements east of
Honiton towards the Blackdown Hills.
Dualling of the stretch between
Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross
would establish a continuous dual carriageway from
through to Camborne. Although this was shelved in 2006 as it was not
considered a regional priority, it was included within the
government's Road Investment Strategy in 2014. There has since been a
public consultation and the preferred route was announced in July
2017. Work is expected to commence in 2020 and cost £290m.
John Betjeman referred to the A30 in his poem "Meditation on the
A30". Arthur Boyt, focus of BBC documentary The Man Who Eats
Badgers, described the A30 near
Bodmin Moor as a good road for finding
In Monty Python's Flying Circus, episode 34: The Cycling Tour, Mr
Pither laments "As I lay down to the sound of the Russian gentlemen
practising their shooting, I realised I was in a bit of a pickle. My
heart sank as I realised I should never see the
again...", just before his impending execution in Russia.
North Waltham, Hampshire
North Waltham, Hampshire to nearby Micheldever Station, the A30
is subsumed into the A303 and one version remains so until Sutton
Scotney/Bullington, the intersection with the Oxford
(etc)—Southampton road, the A34, from where the A30 revives running
south along Bullington Lane almost alongside the A34 before resuming a
direct west south-westerly route to
Salisbury and beyond; however
along this combined A303-A30 section at Coxford Hill above Micheldever
railway station an original version branches off linking more directly
Sutton Scotney village from that point and enabling a cycle route to
avoid Popham and the dual carriageway, taking a detour through North
^ This junction explains why the A30 turns off at
Upottery to become a
minor road towards Yarcombe, while the road immediately ahead becomes
^ "Area 1 (map)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 21
September 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2011.
^ Elizabeth Crittall, ed. (1959). Roads. A History of the County of
Wiltshire. 4. London. pp. 254–271. Retrieved 11 August
^ Ogilby, John (1699). "The Traveller's Guide: Or, A Most Exact
Description of the Roads of England": 202–203.
^ "Old Hampshire Mapped : Ogilby Routes". Geography Department,
Portsmouth University. 2003. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
^ Daniel Lysons and Samuel Lysons (1814). Geography and geology. Magna
Britannia. 3 : Cornwall. London. pp. clxxxi–cxciii.
Retrieved 11 August 2016.
^ Simpson, Jacqueline (2011). Green Men & White Swans: The
Folklore of British Pub Names. Random House.
^ Fort, Tom (2012). The A303: Highway to the Sun. Simon and Schuster.
pp. 259, 262–263. ISBN 978-0-857-20327-4.
^ "CHARD TURNPIKE TRUST Records". Somerset Heritage Centre.
(Registration required (help)).
^ a b "CLASSIFICATION: Re-numbering of classified routes". The
National Archives. 1933–1942. (Registration required (help)).
^ "Half Inch
Ministry of Transport Road Map". Ordnance Survey.
Retrieved 22 December 2011.
^ "CLASSIFICATION: Road numbering". The National Archives.
1921–1949. (Registration required (help)).
^ "The Great West Road". The Times. 24 February 1919. p. 7.
Retrieved 16 August 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
^ "London to the West". The Times. 12 May 1925. p. 17. Retrieved
16 August 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
^ "A.30 and A.303". Hansard. 5 November 1958. Retrieved 16 August
^ "Road to the West : Ministry's Choice Dismays Cornwall". The
Times. 20 June 1966. Retrieved 11 August 2016. (Subscription required
^ "A.30 and A.303". Hansard. 12 November 1958. Retrieved 11 August
^ "M3 London to Southampton". The Motorway Archive. Retrieved 16
^ "M3. London to Southampton Statistics and options". The Motorway
Archive. 16 August 2016.
^ "1,000 more miles of motorway will bring growth to less prosperous
areas". The Times. 24 June 1971. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
(Subscription required (help)).
Honiton Bypass". Autocar. 125 (3696): 1287. 16 December 1966.
^ "Over 80, she still battles on". The Times. 28 April 1977. Retrieved
11 August 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
^ "Road Works (Compensation)". Hansard. 2 May 1985. Retrieved 11
^ Kelly, Matthew (2015). Quartz and Feldspar – Dartmoor: A British
Landscape in Modern Times. London: Jonathan Cape. pp. 10–16.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 April 2012.
Retrieved 8 April 2012.
Exeter – Horse Power – Roman Style". Roads to
the Past: Trunk Roads and Archaeology – 1999 report. Highways
Agency. 1999. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 17
^ "Eco-warrior Swampy's mid-90s protest against the A30 in Devon
blamed for road-building slowdown".
Plymouth Herald. 11 June 2016.
Retrieved 11 August 2016.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 September 2006.
Retrieved 29 August 2006.
^ "Moor dualling plans get go-ahead". BBC News. 29 November 2004.
Retrieved 23 April 2010.
^ "AUTUMN STATEMENT 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 5 December 2012.
^ "A30 Temple to Higher Carblake Improvement –
Highways England. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
^ A303/A358/A30 Corridor improvement package (Report). Somerset County
Council. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
^ "A30/A303/A358 Improvement Project". Somerset County Council.
Retrieved 16 August 2016.
^ "Winners and losers in roads plan". BBC News. 6 July 2006. Retrieved
23 April 2010.
^ "Meditation on the A30 – A poem by John Betjeman". Poetry
Connection. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
^ "Arthur Boyt". Archived from the original on 5 December 2012.
Retrieved 5 December 2012.
^ "Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words – Episode 34".
ibras.dk. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
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