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The A39 is an A road in south west Englandmarker. It runs south-west from Bathmarker in Somersetmarker through Wellsmarker, Glastonburymarker, Streetmarker and Bridgwatermarker. It then follows the north coast of Somerset and Devonmarker through Willitonmarker, Mineheadmarker, Porlockmarker, Lynmouthmarker, Barnstaplemarker, Bidefordmarker, Strattonmarker, Camelfordmarker, Wadebridgemarker and St Columb Majormarker. It then joins the route of the A30 road for around five miles, re-emerging near Zelahmarker to head for the south Cornishmarker coast via Truromarker and Falmouthmarker.

In Cornwall and North Devon (until the junction with the A361 "North Devon Link Road"), the road is known as the Atlantic Highway, and was classified as a trunk road until 2002.

Porlock Hill

Porlock Hill is a section of the A39 west of the village of Porlockmarker. The road climbs approximately in less than up onto Exmoormarker: a very steep hill with gradients of up to 1 in 4 and hairpin bends. The hill must be driven slowly and with great care. At the bottom of the hill there have been numerous accidents when coaches have crashed into walls as their brakes failed. As you walk near the bottom of the hill you will often smell burning brakes from cars.

On 12 January 1899, during a storm, the 10 ton Lynmouthmarker lifeboat was launched but because of the ferocity of the storm could not put out to sea, and was hauled by men and 20 horses over Countisbury and Porlock hills to Porlock Weir where the water in the bay was less rough. The endeavour enabled 13 seamen to be rescued.

There is a less steep toll road that small vehicles and cyclists can take as an alternative route. It formed part of the route in the 2007 Tour of Britain cycle race.

Countisbury Hill

About to the west of Porlock Hill, the A39 starts its equivalent descent from the hills of Exmoormarker. Within about , the road descends the it had previously climbed. Unlike Porlock Hill, this section is relatively straight down into Lynmouth village where there is a bridge over the river and a sharp left turn. From this point, the road largely follows the track of the old Lynton & Barnstaple Railwaymarker that was abandoned in 1935. The maximum gradient on the railway was 1 in 50 (2%) and the road follows this for around . The original road between Lynmouth and Lynton was much more challenging with gradients of around 1 in 3 (30%). It is now the B3234, Lynmouth Hill.

Woody Bay

At Martinhoe Cross in Devon — about five miles west of Lyntonmarker and two miles east of Parracombemarker — on the north side of the A39 lies a once disused but, in 2004, restored and reopened railway stationmarker. Woody Bay was once an intermediate stop on, and is now the main operating centre of, the Lynton & Barnstaple Railwaymarker a narrow-gauge line built in 1898, which closed in 1935. Over- and under-bridges and other traces of the line can be seen at various locations along this stretch of the road.

Atlantic Highway

Atlantic Highway is the name given to a section of the A39, as it passes from the North Devon Link Road at Barnstaplemarker in Devonmarker until it reaches the A30 at Fraddonmarker in Cornwallmarker.

It is so called, as it is the main road (it was a trunk road until 2002) from mid-Cornwall to North Devon and follows the line of the Atlantic Ocean's coast. It is also named thus due to the former Southern Railway express that ran in this part of North Devon and North Cornwall (the Atlantic Coast Express). Views of the Atlantic can be seen along its length, although the road does not approach very close to the coastline itself.

The road is signified as the Atlantic Highway by road signs indicating the route mileage throughout its length, in both directions, in white on brown above the green background of the route mileage boards.

It passes by Wadebridgemarker, Budemarker and Bidefordmarker, and directly through Camelfordmarker.

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