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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A686 shield

The A686 looking east below Hartside
Route information
Maintained by
Length36.5 mi[1] (58.7 km)
Major junctions
South endPenrith
54°39′19″N 2°44′32″W / 54.6554°N 2.7423°W / 54.6554; -2.7423 (A686 road (southwestern end))
North endHaydon Bridge
54°58′23″N 2°14′10″W / 54.9730°N 2.2361°W / 54.9730; -2.2361 (A686 road (northeastern end))
Road network

The A686 is a road in Northern England. It runs from Penrith in Cumbria to Haydon Bridge in Northumberland. AA Magazine named the A686 as one of their "Ten Great Drives"[2] owing to the dramatic scenery of the North Pennines hills encountered along its route. Travel journalist Phil Llewellin said:

England’s great wilderness sprawls across the northern Pennines, where the mountains have fascinating names such as Fiend’s Fell and Wildboar Fell. Penrith merits a visit after leaving the M6, and memories of the motorway fade as the A686 crosses the River Eden valley. The mood changes dramatically in Melmerby, where the road starts its long climb to the cafe at Hartside, 1,900 feet (580 m) above sea level, with stunning views across the Solway Firth and Scotland. The road leads to Alston, which claims to be England’s highest market town, a charming little place with cobbled streets and quaint buildings. The A686 beyond Alston crosses another breathtaking expanse of windswept upland before running down to the River Allen’s beautiful wooded gorge.

— Phil Llewellin, via Visit Cumbria[2]

The road is popular with motorbikers, and due to the great number of steep bends many casualties occur along the road. It was recently[when?] voted ninth best drive in the country by Top Gear magazine.[citation needed]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Snow Plough/Snow Blower A686 Hartside, Alston Cumbria



The A686 begins at a roundabout with the A66 road and A6 road on the edge of Penrith, Cumbria, though it originally started in nearby Carleton at a crossroads with the former route of the A66. The road heads in a north-easterly direction crossing the River Eden before going through the village of Langwathby. It continues through Melmerby and across the Pennines before reaching the isolated market town of Alston.

It meets the A689 road (to Brampton and Bishop Auckland) and then crosses the border into Northumberland. It continues past the villages of Ninebanks, Bearsbridge and Whitfield. It meets the B6305 road to Hexham, and 3.1 miles (5.0 km) later terminates at its junction with the A69 road just east of Haydon Bridge.


  1. ^ "Driving directions to A686". Google. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b "A686 Penrith to Corbridge – A Great Drive". Visit Cumbria. Retrieved 14 February 2021.

External links

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

This page was last edited on 14 February 2021, at 19:55
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