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The M50 is a 22-mile/35-km-long dual two-lane motorway in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire, England. It is sometimes referred to as the Ross Spur, connecting, as it does, the M5 motorway to a point close to the Herefordshire town of Ross-on-Wye, where it joins the A40 road continuing westward into Wales. The motorway was fully opened in 1962.

M50 shield

The M50, looking south-west from the Ryton Bridge towards Ross-on-Wye
Route information
Length21.6 mi (34.8 km)
HistoryConstructed 1958–62[1]
Major junctions
East endStrensham
M5 motorway
West endRoss-on-Wye
A449 road
Road network


The M50 runs ENE-WSW between:

Leaving the M5 at junction 8, it passes north of Tewkesbury then south of Ledbury. Between junctions 1 and 2 chiefly for these towns respectively, it crosses the River Severn on the Queenhill Bridge and Viaduct over the flood plain. After passing north of Newent, the motorway reaches its terminus, junction 4.


M50 under construction in 1960
A train using the newly constructed viaduct on the Tewkesbury and Malvern railway – the line was to be dismantled a few years later

The construction works for the M50 were let under four contracts:

Both contracts were undertaken between 1958 and 1962:[2]

On 3 March 1958, Harold Watkinson, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation fired a starting flare during the inauguration ceremony in Herefordshire to signal the start of construction of the M50.[1] Junctions 1 to 4 opened in 1960 and the section between the M5 to junction 1 opened in 1962.

The route forms a strategic (that is, trunk or main) route from the Midlands and northern British Isles to South Wales (also including the A449 and A40 and so was constructed as an early priority.)[3][4] It is one of the few British motorways not to have been widened, instead retaining its original layout of two lanes in each direction.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[5]

M50 motorway junctions
mile km Eastbound exits (B carriageway) Junction Westbound exits (A carriageway) Coordinates
0.0 0.0 The Midlands, Worcester, Birmingham, The South West, Tewkesbury, Bristol M5 M5, J8
Start of motorway 52°02′52″N 2°08′08″W / 52.0477°N 2.1355°W / 52.0477; -2.1355 (M50 J14)
1.7 2.8 Tewkesbury A38 J1 Malvern A38
10.9 17.5 Gloucester A417 J2 Forest of Dean A417
18.0 28.9 Newent B4221 J3 Newent B4221
21.6 34.7 Start of motorway J4
South Wales, Monmouth, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye A449 51°55′49″N 2°33′44″W / 51.9302°N 2.5623°W / 51.9302; -2.5623 (M50 J14)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
In Herefordshire the road passes cultivated fields and pastures
The minor Junction 3 exits, viewed from the adjoining minor road bridge


After both ends of the M50 are motorway service stations:

  • Strensham services operated by RoadChef, north of the M50's northeastern terminus (unnamed, nominally 0) junction with junction 8 of the M5.
  • Esso garage on the combined short section of the A449 road and A40 remains westbound.


Instead of the latter, beyond junction 4 was a larger Ross Spur Services operated by Welcome Break which closed in the 2000s.[6]


Junction 0 (junction 8 of the M5) was originally a free-flowing trumpet-style junction, then converted to a roundabout with M5 flyover when the M5 was widened in the 1990s.[7][8] Junction 1, where the M50 meets the A38, is a partial cloverleaf. Junction 2 has full slips roads from the deceleration lane into the slip roads save the kinked eastbound exit to local roads. Junction 3 consists of dual-carriageway-style 90° exits due to cost, low traffic volume and the style of road; however this has been the scene of various accidents.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ross-on-Wye - M50 Motorway". & Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  2. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 dates page". Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ "Motorway Database » M50". CBRD. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  4. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 Scheme Page". 3 March 1958. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Ross Spur Services M50 | Information and Facilities | Motorway Services". Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  7. ^ Major Roads of Great Britain Narrative description of the route
  8. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M5 Widening". Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit