As Britain’s roads prepare to take the strain of a new school term, ‘The Snake Pass’ has been named as the country’s best driving road in a survey by British sportscar manufacturer, Caterham Cars.
The A57 from Sheffield to Glossop topped the poll to find the best - and worst - stretches of the 230,000 miles of tarmac that link the United Kingdom.
Unsurprisingly, the clockwise section of the M25 between Junction 5 and 21 was voted the worst by nearly a third of those quizzed.
Though traffic figures have risen 14% in the last decade, it isn’t all bad, as the survey of over 1,687 of the most travelled Caterham Seven owners revealed. Respondents highlighted ten stand-out stretches of driving nirvana hidden away from four-lane tailbacks and service station coffee.
Britain’s Top Ten Best Driving Roads
|1||A57 ‘Snake Pass’, Sheffield to Glossop||‘Over 25 miles of tarmac rollercoaster.’||24.8%|
|2||A537 ‘Cat & Fiddle road’, Macclesfield to Buxton||‘Addictively technical but takes no prisoners.’||24.0%|
|3||A18 ‘Mountain Section’, Isle of Man||‘Part of the famous TT course and has no speed limit.’||18.2%|
|4||A4086 “Pass of Llanberis” Caernarfon to Capel Curig||‘Twisty roads and Snowdonia backdrop make it a must.’||17.8%|
|5||A817 Loch Lomond to Garelochhead||‘A wide, long, smooth curving road which carries you from loch to loch a thousand feet above Glen Fruin.’||17.1%|
|6||A87 Invergarry to Isle of Skye||‘As breathtaking as it is challenging.’||14.8%|
|7||B3223 Dulverton to Lynton||‘Narrow road through Exmoor Forest but flowing bends that beg to be driven.’||12.2%|
|8||B4100 Warwick to Banbury||‘A superb alternative to the M40’||11.6%|
|9||A35 Lyndhurst to Christchurch||‘The best way to enjoy the New Forest.’||11.4%|
|10||A686 Penrith to Alston (north Pennines)||‘Mainly open countryside, very challenging but rewarding. Stop at the cafe at Hartside Top.’||10.9%|
Topping the table as Britain’s best driving road is the 25 miles of the A57 between Sheffield and Glossop. Making a valid argument for the existence of road tax, the section commonly known as the ‘Snake Pass’ twists across the Peak District and rises 512 metres above sea level, offering breathtaking views and dramatic scenery.
Taking a close second is the winding A537 ‘Cat & Fiddle road’ from Macclesfield to Buxton. The speed limitless A18 ‘Mountain Road’ that makes up part of the world famous TT course on the Isle of Man was third.
In fourth place, set against a stunning Snowdonia backdrop, is the A4086 “Pass of Llanberis” from Caernarfon to Capel Curig, while fifth and sixth place belong to Scotland’s tranquil yet technical A817 from Loch Lomond to Garelochhead and the breathtaking A87 from Invergarry to Isle of Skye.
Britain’s Worst Five Stretches of Road
(esp. between Junctions 5 and 21)
|“The antithesis of driving.”||31.4%|
|2||M1 (all of it)||“All of it! Continual roadwork views at a snail’s pace.”||21.2%|
|3||M6 Junctions 4 to 12||“A slow crawl past a grey town – especially bad on a Friday.”||15.0%|
|4||A14 Cambridge to Peterborough||“Popular route for trucker’s is an accident rich, heavily congested with average speed cameras.”||9.6%|
|5||A303 from Andover onwards||“Single-carriageway and caravan hell.”||5.6%|
It’s no surprise the main artery routes dominate the list of the UK’s worst roads. A staggering 66% of the country’s traffic is found on the motorways and ‘A’ Roads, which in turn, only account for 13 per cent of the entire road network.
So, with a commanding “win”, the M25 receives the indignity of being named as Britain’s worst road. The 117-mile long London Orbital, often referred to as “the world’s biggest car park”, can see up to 200,000 vehicles a day with motorists travelling near Heathrow experiencing the biggest delays.
Rounding out the top three is the entire stretch of the M1 and the M6 as it passes Birmingham. The highest placed ‘A-Road’ is the A14 between Cambridge and Peterborough thanks to its array of heavy goods vehicles and speed cameras. The A303 linking the South East with the West Country rounds off the Top 5.
Sales and Marketing Director for Caterham Cars, Andy Noble, said: “Due to the large amount of congestion motorists now face, it is often easy to forget how enjoyable driving can be. But turn off from the beaten track and there are plenty of roads that remind us that driving is still a privilege.’
Though Britain’s road network has changed massively since the Seven was designed by Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, in 1957, Noble feels that drivers of the lightweight sports car are ideally based to judge the merits of roads.Published 9 September 2008