10 things to celebrate about Swindon. No 8: The Magic Roundabout
Yes! The Magic Roundabout. It’s a bit like Marmite. But whether you love it, hate it or are indifferent to it you certainly can’t ignore it. I’m not a driver myself so have no idea what sort of roundabout it is but according to ’roundabout.net’ it’s a counterflow roundabout:
‘There are five or six of these colossal contraptions in Britain. They are called counterflow roundabouts because traffic in the Inner Circle circulates counter-clockwise while the Outer Circle goes conventionally clockwise. This one at Swindon, way west of London, was the first. It is named for a chidren’s TV programme which used a roundabout as a time machine …The amazing thing is that if you obey the dashed white GIVE WAY lines (Yield Points), it works, beautifully!’
A quick rootle round Google will bring up all manner of information about this traffic system but our very own Swindon Web has a niece piece about it: ‘Until September 1972, there was only one Magic Roundabout and it was a children’s television programme featuring Dougal the dog, a hippy rabbit called Dylan and the spring-loaded Zebedee….’ That was certainly my knowledge and understanding of that term until I moved to Swindon.
The roundabout is now rather famous/notorious – delete as applicable – it even gets a pictorial mention on The Huffington Post in a feature on quirky roads. It’s certainly celebrated here in Swindon – at the town’s tourist information centre all manner of Magic Roundabout souvenirs are available from T-Shirts to tea towels. The picture in this post is a lovely aerial shot of it on a postcard purchased there.
It even inspired the song ‘English Roundabout’ by Swindon band XTC.
So who needs Thorpe Park and Alton Towers when here’s our very own white-knuckle ride! 🙂
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