M50 motorway (Great Britain)

The M50 is a 22-mile/35-km-long dual two-lane motorway in Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire, England. It is sometimes referred to as the Ross Spur, connecting, as it does, the M5 motorway to a point close to the Herefordshire town of Ross-on-Wye, where it joins the A40 road continuing westward into Wales. The motorway was fully opened in 1962.


M50 motorway (Great Britain) map
M50 motorway from Ryton Bridge
The M50, looking south-west from the Ryton Bridge towards Ross-on-Wye
Route information
Length21.6 mi (34.8 km)
HistoryConstructed 1958–62[1]
Major junctions
East endStrensham
M5 motorway
West endRoss-on-Wye
A449 road
Road network


The M50 runs ENE-WSW between:

Leaving the M5 at junction 8, it passes north of Tewkesbury then south of Ledbury. Between junctions 1 and 2 chiefly for these towns respectively, it crosses the River Severn on the Queenhill Bridge and Viaduct over the flood plain. After passing north of Newent, the motorway reaches its terminus, junction 4.


Ripple 3 M50 Motorway under construction 1714475 e5c7ed48
Ripple - M50 Motorway under construction 1721592 7a9cb496
Ripple 2 M50 Motorway under construction railway overbridge1717855 72b7f8b9
A train using the newly constructed viaduct on the Tewkesbury and Malvern railway; the line was to be dismantled only a few years later.

The construction works for the M50 were let under four contracts:

Both contracts were undertaken between 1958 and 1962:[2]

On 3 March 1958, Harold Watkinson, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation fired a starting flare during the inauguration ceremony in Herefordshire to signal the start of construction of the M50.[1] Junctions 1 to 4 opened in 1960 and the section between the M5 to junction 1 opened in 1962.

The route forms a strategic (that is, trunk or main) route from the Midlands and northern British Isles to South Wales (also including the A449 and A40 and so was constructed as an early priority.)[3][4] It is one of the few British motorways not to have been widened, instead retaining its original layout of two lanes in each direction.


Data from driver location signs are used to provide distance and carriageway identifier information.[5]

M50 motorway junctions
mile km Eastbound exits (B carriageway) Junction Westbound exits (A carriageway) Coordinates
0.0 0.0 The Midlands, Worcester, Birmingham, The South West, Tewkesbury, Bristol M5 M5, J8
Start of motorway 52°02′52″N 2°08′08″W / 52.0477°N 2.1355°W
1.7 2.8 Tewkesbury A38 J1 Malvern A38
10.9 17.5 Gloucester A417 J2 Forest of Dean A417
18.0 28.9 Newent B4221 J3 Newent B4221
21.6 34.7 Start of motorway J4
South Wales, Monmouth, Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye A449 51°55′49″N 2°33′44″W / 51.9302°N 2.5623°W
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


After both ends of the M50 are motorway service stations:

  • Strensham services operated by RoadChef, north of the M50's northeastern terminus (unnamed, nominally 0) junction with junction 8 of the M5.
  • Esso garage on the combined short section of the A449 road and A40 remains westbound.


Instead of the latter, beyond junction 4 was a larger Ross Spur Services operated by Welcome Break which closed in the 2000s.[6]


Stobart truck on the M5, Gloucestershire, 3 June 2009
In Herefordshire the road passes mainly along gentle contour lines of many cultivated fields and pastures, including this field of poppies.
Junction 3 of the M50 near Gorsley - geograph.org.uk - 761554
The minor Junction 3 exits, viewed from the adjoining minor road bridge

Junction 0 (junction 8 of the M5) was originally a free-flowing trumpet-style junction, then converted to a roundabout with M5 flyover when the M5 was widened in the 1990s.[7][8] Junction 1, where the M50 meets the A38, is a partial cloverleaf. Junction 2 has full slips roads from the deceleration lane into the slip roads save the kinked eastbound exit to local roads. Junction 3 consists of dual-carriageway-style 90° exits due to cost, low traffic volume and the style of road; however this has been the scene of various accidents.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Ross-on-Wye - M50 Motorway". Ross-on-Wye.com & TheVista.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  2. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 dates page". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Motorway Database » M50". CBRD. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  4. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M50 Scheme Page". Iht.org. 3 March 1958. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Traffic England Live Traffic Condition Map (selected Popups)". Highways Agency. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  6. ^ Good Stuff IT Services. "Ross Spur Services M50 | Information and Facilities | Motorway Services". Motorwayservices.info. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  7. ^ Major Roads of Great Britain Narrative description of the route
  8. ^ "The Motorway Archive – M5 Widening". Iht.org. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012.

External links

Route map:

M50 motorway

M50 motorway may refer to:

M50 motorway (Ireland), a major road in Dublin

M50 motorway (Great Britain), a road in the United Kingdom

M50 motorway (Spain), Madrid third outer ring road

Great Britain
Northern Ireland
Related articles
Transport in Worcestershire
Cycle paths
Transport in Gloucestershire
Airports and Heliports
Cycle paths


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