Today we drove back down to Cornwall. Which way to go? One option is to take the A303 which used to be the main, pre-motorway route.
I've been reading Tom Fort's A303: Highway to the Sun which takes the reader past Stonehenge, Little Chefs and towns like Andover, Amesbury and Ilchester. So not exactly Route 66. And yet, if you apply yourself, keep your eyes open and unearth bits of quirky history, you can turn a mundane road into a decent book (and a BBC4 one-off). Martin Parr has made a career out of this, though in his case he rarely offers commentary and simply lets the pictures tell the story.
In reality, the A303 doesn't go all the way: it 'starts' just north of Winchester and barely makes it into Devon, a distance of less than 100 miles, hardly a major road. Funnily enough the only other road 'biography' I know - A272: Ode to a Road, written by a Dutch couple fifteen years ago and now in its fourth edition - starts just a few miles south of Winchester and goes the other way, traversing my home county of Sussex.
So, which way did we go? We took the M4.