Coventry Ring Road

Passing below the Coventry Ring Road
Passing below the Coventry Ring Road

Up and down the country, it's hard to find a town or city that hasn't blasted away at least a few of the buildings in its centre to lay some extra tarmac. From industrial cities like Birmingham, which built miles of new roads through its core, to historic ones like Chester, which removed two sections of city wall to make way for a new dual carriageway, everyone was doing it.

Coventry was better placed than most to build new things in its centre: following the war, virtually all of the city centre needed to be rebuilt. And why not take the opportunity to build an ambitious new ring road in the process?

It took until 1974 for Coventry's Ring Road to reach its current state, which sees a dual carriageway just under two miles in length circling the city centre, entirely grade separated except for one roundabout. The route is a tribute to the age of concrete, with nine numbered junctions causing a frenzy of flyovers, underpasses and short sliproads to encircle the city centre.

Four grade separated junctions per mile simply don't fit, and there are two results. The first is that the majority of the Ring Road's mileage is spent passing through junctions with almost no distance actually between them. The second is that this is the road equivalent of a fairground ride — frightening but an awful lot of fun!

In this section you can find out everything there is to know about the Ring Road without actually driving it — click a section below to read more.

A plan of the Coventry Ring Road and some other routes around it, demonstrating not only how close everything is, but how small the city centre within it is.

A whistle-stop tour of the Coventry Ring Road's life story, from conception to completion.

Around the Ring Road in pictures, with a narrative accompaniment.

Another circuit of the Ring Road, diving on and off to enjoy its junctions to the full.

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With thanks to John Brightley for information in this section.

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The story of an incredible plan to reshape London into a city of motorways, with the history from creation to cancellation and details on every unbuilt road.

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Published19 May 2012

Last updated2 March 2017