- A39 road
UK road routebox
direction= South West - North East
Truro Wadebridge Bude Barnstaple
ukroadsmall|394 |The A39 is an
A roadin south west England. It runs south-west from Bath in Somersetthrough Wells, Glastonbury, Street and Bridgwater. It then follows the north coast of Somerset and Devonthrough Williton, Minehead, Porlock, Lynmouth, Barnstaple, Bideford, Stratton, Camelford, Wadebridgeand St Columb Major. It then joins the route of the A30 roadfor around five miles, re-emerging near Zelah to head for the south Cornish coast via Truroand Falmouth.
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 roaduntil 2002.
Porlock Hill is a section of the A39 west of the village of
Porlock. The road climbs approximately 400 metres in under 2 miles up onto Exmoor: a very steep hill with gradients of up to 1 in 4 and hairpin bends. The hill must be driven slowly and with great care. At the bottom of the hill there have been numerous accidents when coaches have crashed into walls as their brakes failed.
In 1899 a 10 ton lifeboat was somehow manoeuvred down this hill using 20 horses, after an epic overland journey from Lynmouth. Porlock was the only safe harbour from which to launch, such were the storm conditions, and the endeavour enabled 13 seamen to be rescued.
There is a less steep
toll roadthat small vehicles and cyclists can take as an alternative route. It formed part of the route in the 2007 Tour of Britain cycle race.
Martinhoe Crossin Devon — about five miles west of Lyntonand two miles 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-gaugeline built in 1898, which closed in 1935. Over- and under-bridges and other traces of the line can be seen at various locations along this stretch of the road.
Atlantic Highway is the name given to a section of the A39, as it passes from the North Devon Link Road in
Devonuntil it reaches the A30 at Fraddonin Cornwall, England. [cite web |url=http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=7735 |publisher=Cornwall County Council |title=Official Naming Ceremony For Atlantic Highway |accessdate=2007-10-28]
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 coastlineitself.
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.
It passes by
Wadebridge, Budeand Bideford, and directly through Camelford.
* [http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/roadlists/f99/39.shtml SABRE page on the A39]
* [http://www.martynhicks.co.uk/personal/html/exmoor/porlockhill.html Pictures of Porlock Hill]
* [http://www.atlantic-highway.co.uk/ Overview of Atlantic Highway]
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