Does Cornwall Have A Motorway




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Charming coastline, beautiful countryside, and vibrant culture – that’s Cornwall for you, located in the southwest region of England. 

It is one of the several popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom, attracting millions of visitors annually. However, if this is your first time visiting this county – it is understandable to wonder whether or not it has a motorway.

In this blog post, we will check out everything you need to know about the motorways near Cornwall, and we’ll also look at its alternatives. Let us begin!

Does Cornwall Have A Motorway?

Generally, a motorway is a high-speed road specifically designed for long travel. As the name suggests, such roads are exclusively constructed for motor vehicles. 

To answer the question in short – Cornwall is one of the nine counties in the United Kingdom that lacks a motorway. The other eight counties are as follows:

  • London 
  • Isle of Wight
  • Rutland
  • Norfolk
  • Dorset
  • Northumberland 
  • Suffolk
  • East Sussex

The nearest motorway to Cornwall is the M5. It ends at Exter, which is about 60 miles towards the east of the Cornwall border. From there, you have to get on the A30 dual carriage way towards the West, which will link you to the main road of Cornwall. 

Why Does Cornwall Not Have A Motorway?

1. Unsuitable Geography

One of the major reasons why Cornwall does not have a motorway is its geography. This county is situated on hilly terrains and has narrow roads, which makes it very difficult to construct high-speed and multi-lane motorways. 

Additionally, Cornwall is located at the end of the A30 dual carriageway. As a result, building a motorway there would mean accepting a huge undertaking. The authorities will also have to invest a lot of money to build a motorway because of the geographical drawbacks, which is why no one has done it yet. 

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2. Population And Economy

Cornwall is a county with a small population density in its area – with only around 568,210 people in residence. Hence, a motorway is not needed due to the lack of immense traffic that it is usually built for. 

There are also no major cities in this county that would require motorways to establish better commutation. Further, the economy of Cornwall is based mainly on two aspects – tourism and agriculture. Since these two activities do not require motorways, the county does not warrant the need for one. 

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3. Environmental Concerns

Cornwall is famous for its beautiful flora and fauna. As a result, building a motorway there can negatively impact the many Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) regions. This can further lead to the degradation of the environment, something that the entire world is already battling. 

Additionally, building a motorway will probably involve cutting down trees and destroying the natural habitat of animals. This can lead to a bad impact on the wildlife that resides in the region, leaving them homeless and exposed to the human civilization of the county.

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What Are The Alternatives To Motorways In Cornwall?

1. Take A Bus 

One of the best ways to reach Cornwall is  by taking a bus. Several bus companies like National Express and Megabus can take you to Cornwall. It is a convenient option in which you can travel with peace of mind, especially if you don’t like the pressure of constantly thinking about the path that you are on. 

You can catch a bus from various cities and towns across the United Kingdom. The overall journey time may be a little longer than travelling via car, train, or plane – but it is a more affordable and environmentally-friendly option! 


2. Drive Your Car

While Cornwall does not have a full motorway, it is connected to the rest of the United Kingdom via the A30 dual-carriageway road. You can take the M5 motorway or the A303 road to join the A30, depending on where you start. There are chances that you might witness some traffic during your drive, but the beautiful scenery you would witness during this drive would make it worth it.

However, it is worth noting that you might face difficulty driving on the narrow roads of the hilly terrains. Additionally, some of the smaller roads in the rural region of the county may not have good network coverage. Hence, it is best to plan your trip according to such factors. 

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3. Take A Train

If you want to avoid hitting the road on your own, taking a train can be a better alternative for you. You can easily catch a train from several cities around the United Kingdom, such as London, Bristol, Birmingham, and so on. 

There are several train stations in Cornwall, including Penzance, St. Austell, Plymouth, etc. You can easily purchase tickets to any of these stations to reach your destination conveniently. 

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4. Catch A Flight

While driving your car or taking a bus/train may seem affordable, sometimes you might need to get to your destination urgently. In such cases, it is best to catch a flight. Cornwall has a regional airport called the Newquay Airport. Flights from various regions across the United Kingdom and Europe land here. 

This form of travelling can be the most convenient for many people. However, it is worth noting that you would have to arrange transport (such as a cab) to travel from the airport to your final destination in Cornwall

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The respective authorities are working towards improving the road connections of the various counties with the rest of the United Kingdom. But Cornwall does not have a motorway as of now because the location of this county does not warrant the need for one.

However, you can easily get to Cornwall even without a motorway. Hop on a bus, catch a flight, or get ready for that train journey, you always wanted. The choice is yours!

That is all for now, goodbye!

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