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The A686 is a road in Northern England. It runs from Penrith in Cumbria to Haydon Bridge in Northumberland. The AA named the A686 "One of the Greatest Drives in Britain" owing to the dramatic scenery of the Pennines hills encountered along its route. The road is popular with motorbikers, and due to the great number of steep bends many casualties occur along the road. It was recently[when?] voted 9th best drive in the country by Top Gear.[citation needed]

A686 shield

The A686 looking east below Hartside
Route information
Length36.5 mi[1] (58.7 km)
Major junctions
South endPenrith
54°39′19″N 2°44′32″W / 54.6554°N 2.7423°W / 54.6554; -2.7423 (A686 road (southwestern end))
North endHaydon Bridge
54°58′23″N 2°14′10″W / 54.9730°N 2.2361°W / 54.9730; -2.2361 (A686 road (northeastern end))
Road network


The A686 begins at a roundabout with the A66 road and A6 road on the edge of Penrith, Cumbria, though it originally started in nearby Carleton at a crossroads with the former route of the A66. The road heads in a north-easterly direction crossing the River Eden before going through the village of Langwathby. It continues through Melmerby and across the Pennines before reaching the isolated market town of Alston.

It meets the A689 road (to Brampton and Bishop Auckland) and then crosses the border into Northumberland. It continues past the villages of Ninebanks, Bearsbridge and Whitfield. It meets the B6305 road to Hexham, and 3.1 miles (5.0 km) later terminates at its junction with the A69 road just east of Haydon Bridge.


  1. ^ "Driving directions to A686". Google. Retrieved 21 September 2013.

External linksEdit