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The A272

528 of 1180 nominations


The A272

Is this an icon?


The A272

Dutch author Pieter Boogaart has written the definitive guide to the glory that is the A272 (A272: An Ode To A Road). Those who have yet to travel it, or even a section of it, have a treat in store. The road extends east to west for around 90 miles from the village of Hadlow Down in East Sussex, through West Sussex and across the South Downs, before coming to an abrupt halt at the A30, the Sutton Scotney to Stockbridge road, in Hampshire.

Along the way, it has skirted Uckfield and grazed Haywards Heath, idled through Piltdown (where the famous fake skull that seemed to be the missing link between apes and humans was once dug up), tiptoed through tiny hamlets such as Halfway Bridge and Bramdean, and skilfully negotiated Winchester. The vagaries of postwar road planning being what they were, there are several sections that seem designed to confuse, especially where the road briefly combines (or, in the technical lingo, “multiplexes”) with larger roads such as the A3.

Perseverance, a bang-up-to-date road atlas and a good navigator will pay dividends, however. The A272 is more than a mere road. It is a historical and cultural journey through a sumptuous cross-section of England.

Photo: Adrian Runacres


Your comments

The only three-digit A-road to have had a book written about it. At points both trunk road and village street. Delight (and occasionally nemesis) of geriatric bikers, the road runs 90 miles from Sutton Scotney to Hadlow Down, across the proposed South Downs National Park, carrying both tractors and 18-wheelers. There are (at least) seven roadside tea and bacon butty stalls along it. It is the south-east encapsulated, on a strip of tarmacadam.

Stephen Allberry

The A272 is a beautiful route to take in rural Sussex if you are not in a hurry but is it any more iconic than many other roads? The Fosse Way, for instance, has just as lovely places along the way, or try the road running up past Tintern Abbey, or the road that runs from Ashburton to Tavistock over Dartmoor. I suppose the icon here is 'The English Country Road'.
John Rivers-Vaughan

To me the A272 meant the road to holidays with the relatives in South Devon (in the '60's before the M25 was thought of). Still a delightful journey if not in a hurry,

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer