The Improbable A39

The A39 is one of the south-west's most important roads, running from Bath to Falmouth via rural Somerset and the Atlantic coast. Large parts of it are primary, often providing the only fast road between towns and villages. That's certainly true of the top end and the bottom end; but look again on a map. Where does it go between Bridgwater and Barnstaple? Not down the straight roads, no. Oh — there it is. What's that wiggly, non-primary section on the north Devon coast all about?

The road from Barnstaple to Minehead could never be described as an important cross-country route. It doesn't look much like one on a map and it looks even less like one if you try and drive it. It is, however, an extremely beautiful and rewarding journey to make.

These pictures were taken on my first journey on the road, and at several points I found it hard to believe I was still on a road with such an important number. I found it even harder to believe that someone hadn't decided to give it a less important-sounding number or demote it to B-road status. But then, an awful lot about this road is rather improbable. So here it is: the improbable A39.

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A39

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