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A31 road

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A31 shield
A31 Road at St. Leonards - geograph.org.uk - 37660.jpg
A31 Road at St. Leonards, Dorset, England
Route information
Length72.6 mi (116.8 km)
Northeast segment
Length36.6 mi[1] (58.9 km)
Northeast end A322 in Guildford
Major intersections A3 near Guildford
A331 near Tongham
A33 in Winchester
Southwest end M3 in Winchester
Length36.0 mi[2] (57.9 km)
Northeast end A36 near Netley Marsh
Major intersections M27 in Cadnam
A338 in Ringwood
A348 in West Moors
A350 near Sturminster Marshall
Southwest end A35 in Bere Regis
CountryUnited Kingdom
CountiesSurrey, Hampshire, Dorset
Road network
A30 A32

The A31 is a major trunk road in southern England that runs from Guildford in Surrey to Bere Regis in Dorset. Its most well known section is the Hog's Back, a hilly ridge forming part of the North Downs, in the Surrey stretch between Guildford and Farnham.

Route description[edit]

The road begins in Guildford at the start of Farnham Road near Guildford Station, coming out of the town and passing over the A3 where shortly after it becomes a dual carriageway running in a westerly direction along the Hog's Back escarpment of the North Downs This dual carriageway section has a speed limit of 60 mph. At Tongham it leaves the older Hogs Back route to join with the A331 and follow a modern bypass round Farnham, rejoining the older route at the roundabout junction with the A325 where it follows Alton Road toward Alton which it bypasses, rejoining the older route near Jane Austen's house, then continuing to Alresford before joining the route of the M3 motorway at its junction on the eastern boundary of Winchester.

The old route to Winchester's centre then Romsey and the New Forest forms two roads: the B3404 and A3090 roads and is marked for cyclists. The west branch of the M27 motorway – M3 interchange has a flyover junction with the winding westbound A3090 on the western boundary of Cadnam, having passed through the conservation area village centre, from where the resumed A31 continues as a dualled trunk road through the rest of the New Forest, past Ringwood and enters Dorset just before it passes Ferndown where it resumes single carriageway width. It passes Wimborne Minster and by-passes Charborough Park before terminating at a roundabout junction with the A35 road at Bere Regis. The A35 is not a trunk road east of Bere Regis, but is a continuation of the A31 trunk road to the west, thus the Highways Agency maintain it.

The A31 is part of the ancient route from London to Winchester.

The A31 between Wimborne Minster and Bere Regis: most of its Dorset stretch is primarily a single-carriageway road, used by heavy goods vehicles, and as such is relatively slow for a trunk road during busy times of the day. However the River Stour is one of the most flood-prone rivers alongside in the region and a widened road would accelerate drainage and disrupt views of the valley from Areas of Outstanding Beauty on the escarpments to the north.

A31 New Forest dual carriageway[edit]

Many sections of the A31 were upgraded to dual carriageway in the 1960s, except for the section of road running through the New Forest.[3]

The upgrade of the A31 through the New Forest started in the early 1960s, following two decades of debate. The Government's intention was to create at least one high-speed route to the south coast, while the guardians of the forest, the Verderers, resisted any further development.[4][5]

The first section of the A31 to be dualled was the section that the M27 feeds into at Jct1; the westbound carriageway is the original two-way A-road while the eastbound side was laid down nearby. Further developments occurred from Ringwood to Picket Post near the turn-off for Burley. From 1966 to 1972, the remaining sections were completed rapidly due to the construction of the M27 motorway up to Jct 1.[6]

The Highways Agency declares the New Forest A31 section as being 'an abnormal and heavy load route'.[7] The westbound route, particularly, suffers from poor horizontal and vertical alignment due to its original function as an old single carriageway. The Highways Agency's route management strategy (RMS) for the A31 has identified that the westbound carriageway needs realigning at Cadnam where it undulates rapidly before negotiating a sharp right turn and passes an at-grade U-turn box, though there is no timetable for this at present. There is also a pinch point at Ringwood where the A31 interplexes with the A338; the section of road was widened to four lanes each way for the duration of the A338 interplex (following the upgrade of the Ashley Heath Junction to Bournemouth in the early 1990s) but a short section where westbound A338 traffic joins westbound A31 was left with 2 lanes, and previously the lack of capacity at this section caused safety problems and queues at peak times. Dorset County Council cited relieving this junction as a high priority in the Bournemouth LTP 2006–2011.[8] In December 2014 the Government announced a series of schemes as part of a £15bn investment in transport infrastructure that included widening the Westbound carriageway to 3 lanes.[9] Work to widen the westbound section to 3 lanes began in January 2022 in conjunction with a wider scheme improving safety, and replacing two bridges over the River Avon and Bickerley Millstream. The widening scheme was completed in November 2022. [10][11] A Highways Agency review in 2010 records that the collision rate between the A338 Ringwood junction and the Poulner Hill Interchange was 4.5 Personal Injury Collisions (PICs) per 100million vehicle kilometers, whilst the rate for the stretch between Poulner Hill and Picket Post is 11.7 PICs per 100million vehicle kilometers.

A31 Southwest[edit]

After the A31's only major interchange at Ringwood, we negotiate a number of roundabouts starting about a mile southwest of the Ashley Heath interchange. Shortly before the first roundabout, the speed limit reduces to 50-mph and is frequented by mobile speed cameras. Woolsbridge Roundabout connects to Avon Heath and St. Leonards, with a Travelodge and BP garage overlooking the interchange.

After another mile or so is the Boundary Lane Roundabout which connects to the new Victory Oak estate.

Then we negotiate Azalea Roundabout, which is known for being one of a small number of Roundabouts in the United Kingdom with only two exits, excluding access requirements.

Then, a major interchange, Palmersford Roundabout, takes traffic towards Trickett's Cross and Poole on the A347 if heading straight on, however, the A31 heads right (westbound) towards Ameysford, where the speed limit on the A31 finally returns to 70-mph.

At Ameysford Roundabout, we finally see the end of the Dual Carriageway layout of the A31 and from this point on, the remainder of the road is a Single Carriageway.

A couple miles westbound leads us to the infamous Canford Bottom Roundabout in Wimborne with over seventy sets of traffic lights. This roundabout received an upgrade in 2011 to combat increasing congestion for the 2012 Olympics, although motorists dispute the claim the new layout has helped. Traffic on the A31 heading across the roundabout is greeted by two lanes each way and a 40-mph speed limit through this interchange.

Nearly two miles further is the Merley Roundabout which also experiences congestion during peak times, and is the smallest roundabout on this section of the A31. It connects with the A349 towards Fleetsbridge in Poole.

A mile west is Lake Gates Roundabout on one of the newer sections of road, on the western end of Wimborne. This roundabout has also been newly painted to make lines and markers clearer.

We weave through the north end of Corfe Mullen, and passing the Coventry Arms.

The final roundabout before the A31 ends is Round House Roundabout, which crosses with the A350 towards the Upton Roundabout near Poole, with the other side towards Blandford via Spetisbury.

The remaining section of the A31 is the longest without a roundabout, and passes by Charborough Park. This section also has a distinctive long brick wall running parallel with the road, obviously having been victim to multiple collisions throughout its length. There are also two notable sharp bends with newly installed LEDs on the road to give extra visibility at night-time. Shortly after this, the speed limit reduces to 40-mph as you head past Winterborne Zelston. A BP Garage with an ASDAExpress shop and Greggs is situated next to the northbound carriageway within this reduced speed limit.

At Red Post, the speed limit returns to 60-mph and we negotiate a mile-long straight section of road known for having a severe camber. Shortly after this, White Post features a distinctive Y-Junction which connects to Winterborne Kingston and is an alternative route to Blandford. Finally, about a quarter of a mile south-west, we reach Bere Regis at the Townsend Roundabout with a Shell Garage overlooking it.

A3090 road[edit]

A3090 marker


Length19 mi (31 km)

A section of the A31 between Winchester and Ower in Hampshire is now known as the A3090.

Prior to completion of the M3 past Winchester in 1995, the A3090 ran south west from the A33 at Kings Worthy (where the A33 diverted around the Winchester Bypass) to the centre of Winchester, before continuing along the historic route of the A31 from Winchester to Hursley. Here it ended at a junction with the A31, which at this time, having merged with the by-pass east of Winchester, re-emerged from the A33 at Otterbourne and ran to Hursley and on along the current route of the A3090.[12]

A short dual carriageway section starts from the A36 roundabout near Ower and terminates just before the A27 multiplex south west of Romsey.

B3404 road[edit]

A short stretch of the original A31 immediately to the east of Winchester is now by-passed and renumbered as the B3404. The old route commences at a roundabout at Morn Hill, and continues straight across the top of Magdalen Hill Down before crossing over the M3 motorway and A272 road on an overbridge and then descending the steep street of Magdalen Hill into the centre of Winchester.[13]

Junction lists[edit]

North-east segment[edit]

SurreyGuildford0.00.0 A322 to A3 / M25 / A281 – Bagshot, London, HorshamNorth-eastern terminus
GuildfordCompton boundary2.23.5 A3 north-east to M25 / A25 – London, Esher, DorkingJunction; north-east exit and south-west entrance
Wanborough3.65.8 B3000 to A3 south-west – Portsmouth, Godalming, Normandy, Compton, Puttenham, WanboroughJunction
TonghamFarnham boundary6.9–
A331 north to M3 / A3011 / A324 / A323 – Camberley, Farnborough, Woking, AldershotJunction; southern terminus of A331
A325 north-east / Guildford Road to A3016 – Odiham, Badshot Lea, Central FarnhamNorth-eastern terminus of A325 concurrency
10.817.4 A325 south-west / West Street – Petersfield, Wrecclesham, Central FarnhamSouth-western terminus of A325 concurrency
HampshireAltonChawton boundary19.8–
A339 north / B3006 to B3349 – Basingstoke, Alton, Liss, Selborne, OdihamJunction; southern terminus of A339
Chawton20.833.5 A32 south (Gosport Road) / Winchester Road / Northfield Lane to A272 – Fareham, Petersfield, Droxford, West Meon, Farringdon, ChawtonNorthern terminus of A32
Chilcomb34.455.4 A272 east – Petersfield, Bramdean, CheritonNo access from A31 north-east to A272 east; north-eastern terminus of A272 concurrency
Winchester35.757.5 A33 north to M3 / A34 / A303 / A30 – Basingstoke, Newbury, Andover, Salisbury, Winnall, Kings Worthy, StockbridgeSouthern terminus of A33
M3 south to M27 – Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Eastleigh, Romsey
Bar End Road / Bull Drove – Winchester city centre
Western terminus of eastern segment; no access to M3 north or from M3 south to A31; south-western terminus of A272 concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

South-west segment[edit]

HampshireNetley Marsh0.00.0 A36 (Salisbury Road) to A3090 – Salisbury, Calmore, Totton, RomseyNorth-eastern terminus
Cadnam2.54.0 A336 east / A337 south – Cadnam, Totton, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Bartley, Netley Marsh, MinsteadWestern terminus of A336; northern terminus of A337
CopythorneMinstead boundary2.94.7 M27 east / B3079 – London, Southampton, Winchester, Brook, Bramshaw, Fordingbridge, Fritham, Bolderwood, LinwoodWestern terminus of A27; A27 junction 1
Picket Post10.6–
Hightown, Poulner, CrowJunction; Crow signed north-east only
A338 north / B3347 – Salisbury, Fordingbridge, RingwoodNorth-eastern terminus of A338 concurrency
DorsetSt Ives14.2–
B3081 – VerwoodJunction
A338 south to B3073 – Bournemouth, Christchurch, Ashley Heath, Three Legged Cross, HortonTo B3073 signed eastbound only; junction; south-western terminus of A338 concurrency
FerndownWest Moors boundary19.030.6 A348 south-west to A347 – Bournemouth, Ferndown, West Parley, LonghamNorth-eastern terminus of A348
B3072 – West Moors, Verwood, FerndownJunction
Broadstone24.539.4 A349 south / Merley House Lane to B3073 / A341 – Poole, Bournemouth, Broadstone, Merley, Canford MagnaNorthern terminus of A349
Sturminster MarshallLytchett Matravers boundary28.846.3 A350 (Poole Road) – Poole, Bournemouth, Wareham, Blandford, Lytchett Matravers, Upton, Sturminster MarshallSturminster Marshall signed north-east only
Bere Regis36.057.9 A35 / North Street – Poole, Bournemouth, Dorchester, Wool, Bere Regis, Weymouth, Puddletown, TolpuddleSouth-western terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Guildford GU1 4UL, UK to Bar End Roundabout, Winchester SO23 8RA, UK". Google Maps. Alphabet Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Netley Marsh, United Kingdom to North St, Bere Regis, Wareham, UK". Google Maps. Alphabet Inc. Retrieved 27 July 2023.
  3. ^ "ROAD A.31 IMPROVEMENTS". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 5 July 1966. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  4. ^ "A.31 Road". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 27 July 1960. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  5. ^ "NEW FOREST BILL [H.L.]". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 24 March 1964. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Roads (South Hampshire)". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 12 July 1976. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Highways Agency – Movement of Abnormal Indivisible Roads at Night" (PDF). Highways Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Bournemouth Council LTP 2006-2011". Bournemouth Council. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Major roads investment in London and the south east". gov.uk. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  10. ^ "A31 Ringwood road widening". National Highways. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  11. ^ "National Highways A31 Ringwood road widening". National Highways. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2022.
  12. ^ 1:50,000 Map Sheet 185 (Winchester), Ordnance Survey, 1974
  13. ^ Election Maps (Map). Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 18 August 2022.