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The A39 is an A road in south west England. It runs south-west from Bath in Somerset through Wells, Glastonbury, Street and Bridgwater. It then follows the north coast of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall through Williton, Minehead, Porlock, Lynmouth, Barnstaple, Bideford, Stratton, Camelford, Wadebridge and St Columb Major. It then joins the route of the A30 road for around 5 miles (8.0 km), re-emerging near Zelah to head for the south Cornish coast via Truro and Falmouth.

A39 shield

A39
A39 road map.png
Looking north near Carland Cross in Cornwall
Major junctions
North East endBath 51°23′10″N 2°25′51″W / 51.3861°N 2.4307°W / 51.3861; -2.4307
  A4

A368
A37
A362
(within overlap with A37)
A371
A361
Junction 23.svg UK-Motorway-M5.svg
J23 → M5 motorway
(Puriton Hill spur)
A38
A372
(within overlap with A38)
A358
A396
A399
A361
A377
A3125
A386
A3072
A3073
A395
A389
A3059
A392
A30
A3058
(within overlap with A30)
A3076
(within overlap)
A390
A393

A394
South West endFalmouth 50°08′58″N 5°03′26″W / 50.1495°N 5.0573°W / 50.1495; -5.0573
Location
Primary
destinations
Truro
Wadebridge
Bude
Barnstaple
Bideford
Bridgwater
Glastonbury
Road network

In Cornwall and North Devon (until the junction with the A361 "North Devon Link Road"), the road is known as the Atlantic Highway, and was classified as a trunk road until 2002.

Contents

Porlock HillEdit

 
The A39 coast road looking towards Porlock

Porlock Hill is a section of the A39 west of the village of Porlock. The road climbs approximately 1,300 ft (400 m) in less than 2 miles (3.2 km) up onto Exmoor: a very steep hill with gradients of up to 1 in 4 and hairpin bends.[1]

In Porlock itself you will often smell burning brakes from vehicles who have just descended the hill.

On 12 January 1899, the ten-ton Lynmouth lifeboat was launched during a storm, but the storm's ferocity meant it could not put out to sea. Instead, it was retrieved and hauled by men and twenty horses over Countisbury and Porlock hills to Porlock Weir where the water in the bay was less rough.[2] The endeavour eventually enabled thirteen seamen to be rescued.[3]

There is a less steep toll road that small vehicles and cyclists can take as an alternative route.[1] It formed part of the route in the 2007 Tour of Britain cycle race. Another alternative for cyclists, avoiding tolls, is provided by part of Regional Cycle Route 51 (Minehead to Ilfracombe).

Countisbury HillEdit

About 9.3 miles (15.0 km) to the west of Porlock Hill, the A39 starts its equivalent descent from the hills of Exmoor. Within about 2.5 miles (4.0 km), the road descends the 1,300 ft (400 m) it had previously climbed. Unlike Porlock Hill, this section is relatively straight down into Lynmouth village where there is a bridge over the river and a sharp left turn, however the gradient at the foot is also 25% for a short distance. The original road between Lynmouth and Lynton was much more challenging with gradients of around 1 in 3 (33%). It is now the B3234, Lynmouth Hill.

Woody BayEdit

 
Passing through Exmoor
 
Roadworks at Helscott involving a new section of the A39

At Martinhoe Cross in Devon—about 5 miles (8.0 km) west of Lynton and 2 miles (3.2 km) east of Parracombe—on the north side of the A39 lies a once disused but, in 2004, restored and reopened railway station. Woody Bay was once an intermediate stop on, and is now the main operating centre of, the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway a narrow-gauge line built in 1898, which closed in 1935.[4] Over- and under-bridges and other traces of the line can be seen at various locations along this stretch of the road.

Atlantic HighwayEdit

Atlantic Highway is the name given to a section of the A39, as it passes from the North Devon Link Road at Barnstaple in Devon until it reaches the A30 at Fraddon in Cornwall.[5]

It is so called, as it is the main road (it was a trunk road until 2002) from mid-Cornwall to North Devon and follows the line of the Atlantic Ocean's coast. It is also named thus due to the former Southern Railway express that ran in this part of North Devon and North Cornwall (the Atlantic Coast Express). Views of the Atlantic can be seen along its length, although the road does not approach very close to the coastline itself.

The road is signified as the Atlantic Highway by road signs indicating the route mileage throughout its length, in both directions, in white on brown above the green background of the route mileage boards.[6]

It passes by Wadebridge, Bude and Bideford, and directly through Camelford.

Points of interestEdit

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX
Point Coordinates
(Links to map resources)
OS Grid Ref Notes
Falmouth 50°08′59″N 5°03′26″W / 50.1496°N 5.0571°W / 50.1496; -5.0571 (Falmouth) SW816321 Southern end of the A39 at Falmouth, Cornwall
Corston 51°23′10″N 2°25′49″W / 51.3862°N 2.4303°W / 51.3862; -2.4303 (Corston) ST701653 Northern end of the A39 at Corston, Somerset near Bath

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Porlock Hill". Rural Roads. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  2. ^ Leete-Hodge, Lornie (1985). Curiosities of Somerset. Bodmin: Bossiney Books. p. 45. ISBN 0-906456-98-3.
  3. ^ "Overland Launch Overnight January 12th. /13th.1899". Lynton & Lynmouth. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  4. ^ "Woody Bay Station - Lynton". Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Official Naming Ceremony For Atlantic Highway". Cornwall County Council. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  6. ^ "The "Atlantic Highway" - Naming History". Atlantic Highway. Archived from the original on 24 March 2009. Retrieved 3 April 2009.

External linksEdit