Hidden away inside J1 of the M180, the A18(M) was a short-lived motorway which got traffic from the M18 and sent it eastwards, on to the A18. Obviously the largely single carriageway A18 wasn't going to cope for much longer, so a new motorway was built to the south, the M180, which effectively grabbed the A18(M) and made it longer.
The idea of one route starting out life as something less-important isn't a new one, the M2 started out life as the A2(M), M20 the A20(M) and M4 the A4(M). In the latter case, there is a little bit of abandoned motorway where the M4 was extended westwards and the rest of the old road became the A404(M), which was a spur of the M4 and as such had to have a junction with it.
It's a similar story here, where the M180 starts off using the route of the A18(M) (although it's much wider), and just before it reaches the terminal roundabout the new motorway heads south and then continues east, with the rest of the eastbound carriageway becoming the J1 offslip and the rest of the westbound carriageway being abandoned. That's why J1 feels like it's so much larger than it should be, the northern half of it used to be the end of the A18(M).
That abandoned westbound carriageway can still be found - just - and that's what these ten photos are all about.
Walking around M180 J1, where we uncover this dead exit from the roundabout. What's on the other side of that mound?
More moss-covered road, it seems. Looking at the roundabout it's easy to see not only how unnecessarily large it is these days but how 30 years ago vehicles would have been leaving the roundabout at this exit.
Here you can see how the two lanes and hard shoulder have survived over time. If it feels narrow, remember that this was only the start of an unimportant route, half of which can probably be found under the verges. You can just make out the center line which would have been where that brick is.
A closer look at the verge. Apparently this area used to be popular with travellers, which is why so much rubble has been dumped here.
And from here the rubble blocks the rest of our path. To the right you can see an old police emergency crossover point, and if you imagine the road continuing onwards you can see the relationship between the dead and the alive carriageway. It would have had quite a wide central reservation.
Looking back at the abandoned carriageway, where not only can you see the marking for the hard shoulder but a remaining cat's eye.