M50 motorway (Great Britain)

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For other uses, see M50 motorway (disambiguation).

M50 motorway shield

M50 motorway
The M50 highlighted in dark blue in the south west.
The M50, looking south-west from the Ryton Bridge towards Ross-on-Wye
Route information
Length: 21 mi (34 km)
Existed: 1960 – present
History: Constructed 1960–62
Major junctions
East end: Strensham
M5 motorway
West end: Ross-on-Wye
Road network

The M50 is a motorway in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, England. It is 21 miles (34 km) long and is sometimes referred to as the Ross Spur. It is the only motorway-class road in Herefordshire.


M50 under construction in 1960

The M50 runs in a southwesterly—northeasterly direction between the M5 motorway just north of Tewkesbury and the A40 road and A449 road at Ross-on-Wye. Leaving the M5 at junction 8, it passes to the north of Tewkesbury and to the south of Ledbury. Between junctions 1 and 2, it crosses the River Severn on the Queenhill Bridge, which also covers the associated flood plain. After passing north of Newent, the motorway reaches its terminus at junction 4.


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

Both contracts were undertaken between 1958 and 1962:[1]

  • Junctions 1 to 4 opened in 1960.
  • M5 to junction 1 opened in 1962.

The route was part of a strategic route from the Midlands to South Wales (also including the A449 and A40 and so was constructed as an early priority.[2])[3] It is one of the few British motorways that has not been widened, instead retaining its original layout of only two lanes in each direction.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[4]

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 Hereford, Ledbury 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


Although not served directly by motorway service areas, the M50 is served by a service area at Strensham services operated by RoadChef, just north of the M50's northeastern terminus junction with junction 8 of the M5. At the other end of the M50 on the A449 road near junction 4 south western terminus of the M50, there was a service area operated by Welcome Break called Ross Spur Services, but it recently closed, and only the southwest bound BP garage remains open.[5]


The junction with the M5 was originally a free-flowing trumpet-style junction,[6] but was converted to a roundabout when the M5 was widened in the 1990s.[7] Junction 1, where the M50 meets the A38, is a partial cloverleaf. Junctions 2 and 3 have 90° turns from the deceleration lane into the slip roads, which are hazardous for high-speed driving.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 dates page". Iht.org. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Motorway Database » M50". CBRD. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 Scheme Page". Iht.org. 3 March 1958. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Ross Spur Services M50 | Information and Facilities | Motorway Services". Motorwayservices.info. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Major Roads of Great Britain Narrative description of the route
  7. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M5 Widening". Iht.org. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing