Isle of Purbeck, A351, Wareham, Sandford & Holton Heath By-Passes.
The Bakers Arms to Swanage
via Holton Heath, Sandford, Wareham, Stoborough,
Norden, Corfe Castle & Harmans Cross.
Popularly known as the spine of Purbeck the A351 runs from the A35/Bakers Arms just south of Lytchett
Minster nearly 15 miles to Swanage. It divides into 3 sections, each roughly 5 miles long, and sensibly a half
hour drive to Swanage. However, if you add some traffic to the road that time can be greatly increased.
As you can see from the map the A351 is a branch off the A35, and most traffic comes from the A35,
from the West and Dorchester, and from the east and Poole.
At the roundabout, the fourth road is the B3067 to the north and Lytchett Minster and Matravers.
Having a roundabout junction makes good sense and on face value, it would be difficult to contrive a
better method, other than having a vast spaghetti junction.
Where the whole arrangement does fall down is in fact the tendency of the roundabout to back up when
one would think it should be free flowing. Part of the reason is probably that the roundabout is too small a diameter
such that it does not allow many vehicles on it. A single articulated lorry for instance fills the space between
two junctions, and given much of the traffic can be lorries, there is little opportunity for smaller vehicles to
Another problem of course is the inequality of the roads serving the roundabout, which might become
apparent from the picture gallery following.
THE ROAD FROM THE WEST - A35 - Dorchester, Weymouth, Bere Regis
The road from the west and Dorchester direction has had recent (2007-08) improvements, which
is very commendable, except they did not include a dual carriageway.|
The original roads were only put down for horses and carts. Things have moved on!
The consequences are:
- that the slower lorries leaving the roundabout going west cannot clear it as fast as a dual carriageway might
allow, sometimes leaving a back up on the roundabout.
- at busier times eastbound traffic approaching backs up to earlier side junctions and clogs them, a problem
very apparent in the tourist season.
THE ROAD FROM THE NORTH - B3067 - Lytchett Minster
The Bakers Arm, the name that the local roundabout is known by, even on the road signs and in
guidebooks. Probably the most famous local landmark.
This is very much a small local road and not up to any significant traffic, you might note
that from the west the road sign shows a 7.5T weight limit, which is quite realistic.
What can prove a problem is that during the season caravans can clog the road by pure
numbers and not being used to the road.
The approach to the roundabout is very limiting, again, caravans prove a problem because the
build up of traffics means they cannot easily get on to the roundabout and produces a back up towards Lytchett.
From the east and Poole/Bournemouth, we are on a dual carriageway, which is a relatively new road
and in theory can handle twice as much traffic as each of the other three roads at the Bakers Arms roundabout.
Whilst this is very useful for traffic leaving the roundabout it can also stockpile a lot that cannot quickly
get on to the roundabout. During the daily rush hours and the tourist season, this can amount to many cars
and long tailbacks.
THE ROAD FROM THE EAST - A35 - Poole, Bournemouth
||from Bakers Arms 0.0m 14.5m to Swanage and the sea
LEFT TURN ON TO THE A351 - Holton Heath, Sandford, Wareham, Stoborough, Corfe Castle, Harmans Cross,
Kingston, Langton Matravers, Worth Matravers, Herston, Swanage
Holton Heath is the first village on the A351, but when travelling through you hardly see a
What you do see first is the ROMANY WORKS Business Park BH16 6JL on the left, which is basically
an Industrial Estate. It is the first of three Industrial estates on the A351.
This industrial estate is the first problem for the A351, it obviously has commercial traffic in and
out all day and every day. If there were no other traffic around it would not be a problem but with
the amount of traffic in and out of Purbeck it makes it a problem junction, and not even controlled
by traffic lights.
A by-pass would be a breath of fresh air to this estate because it could be at the back of the estate,
where here you see it at the front. It would give easier access and less pressure on the present narrow road.
It may be apparent from the next picture how straight this road is, and how far into the distance. This
makes for it being dangerous since drivers tend to speed up being able to see so far, but one
careless piece of overtaking where it might have appeared safe could be fatal.
||from Bakers Arms 0.3m 14.2m to Swanage and the sea
From the Bakers Arms to Wareham is almost straight and flat. It is a single carriage road
that is slowed by its features until you hit a bottleneck as you run through Sandford into Wareham
or its existing bypass to the south.
Government decreed some years ago that Holton Heath would have to provide 1,450 residential
properties, including affordable housing.
This caused something of an outcry for quite a few reasons. One of them being the significant
increase in traffic to an already overloaded road.
The provision of a bypass would eliminate that sort of problem straight away because little
or none of it would have to use this road, and would in fact benefit from an alternative whatever.
Councils thought they were being helpful by suggesting the provision of a couple of footbridges
After what seems a deserted road, we hit a garage, other small industrial units, and some
We eventually reach our first "slow-down" in the form of the roundabout for the Holton Heath
Trading Park which is to the left at the end of Blackhill Road, and comprises Blackhill Road Way, Warren Way,
and Holton Road.|
This was created as a roundabout to assist flow on and off the roundabout. This was very commendable, but
as soon as you get a back up of traffic in either direction, it all grinds to a halt.
Again, as at The Romany Works, a road to the rear of the estate would make the A351 virtually
commercial and through traffic free.
Leaving the roundabout is yet another bottleneck courtesy of the through traffic added to by the
trading estate traffic. This is complemented by the not far distant Organford/Traffic light junction
backing to the roundabout.
||from Bakers Arms 1.0m 13.5m to Swanage and the sea
This section is relatively short, and most times out of ten, you are not going to get out of second
gear. It is actually quite a short distance between roundabout and traffic lights anyway.
At the Organford/traffic light junction, we see the left turn into Station Road to a few residential
properties and at the roads end, Holton Heath Station. There is not a lot of traffic in and out.
To the right is Organford, which takes in a number of residential properties, camping sites, and is
on the route of the Poole to Swanage bus service, which has to emerge turning right for Sandford, Wareham, etc..
Immediately apparent is a Car Sales site, which was previously, 2008, derelict, and a petrol station
in 2006 and earlier.
Thankfully, this junction does have a filter system from north and south to turn right, very necessary
when the traffic builds up.
In addition, the junction was given "high-rise" traffic lights to improve visibility from greater
distance. Very commendable. The junction is also manned with cameras, presumably to catch out red-light jumpers.
What does become more noticeable during the season is the tourist traffic with attendant caravans,
that sort of traffic could easily be taken off the A351 by improving the road to Holton Heath Station
and making a connection with a new by-pass just over the railway. That would also be a good place to
connect with the Holton Heath Trading Estate, which already has a small road to the station.
||from Bakers Arms 1.3m 13.2m to Swanage and the sea
TO THE LEFT:-
Station Rd - BH16 6JT
St. Martin's Hill - BH16 6JP
Holton Heath Station
TO THE RIGHT:-
Organford Road - BH16 6JY
Organford Road - BH16 6JZ
Sandford Caravan Park
Willow Crescent - BH16 6JZ
Laurel Avenue - BH16 6JZ
Beech Avenue - BH16 6JZ
Birch Avenue -
Park Drive -
Sycamore Avenue -
Elm Avenue -
Oak Avenue -
Ash Avenue -
Pine Crescent -
Fir Avenue - BH16 6JZ
Chestnut Avenue -
Sandford Drive - BH20 7DG
Rustling's Farm - BH20 7DG
Pear Tree Farm -BH16 6LA
Heath View -
Fancy's Row - |
Heath View - BH16 6LA
Youngs Farm - BH16 6LA
Organford Farm - BH16 6EU
Farm Park - BH16 6EU
Wareham Road -
Having crossed the lights from Wareham Road into Sandford Road, we are into another long and
straight stretch with little to see.
Approaching the next roundabout junction, we are into the dreaded school crossing zone, and
also into a 30mph speed limit. Morning, lunchtime, and evening, children come to and leave Sandford
Middle School on the right on the other side of the roundabout. While this is a necessary evil, it is
another cause of traffic back ups in both directions.|
This is not just children walking and/or crossing, but also the ever-increasing numbers of
parents on the school run.
An unfortunate observation has to be made that while schools claim to give their pupils
suitable road safety education, there are a few who neglect it, even when they have a lollypop lady
and a pedestrian crossing to use.
||from Bakers Arms 2.1m 12.4m to Swanage and the sea
TO THE LEFT:-
Woodlands Drive - BH20 7QA
Cedar Drive - BH20 7QB
Maple Close - BH20 7QD
Holly Close - BH20 7QE
Ash Close - BH20 7QF
Chestnut Close - BH20 7QG
Rowan Close - BH20 7QH
Laburnum Close - BH20 7QJ
Alder Close - BH20 7QL
Cherry Close - BH20 7QN
Sycamore Close - BH20 7QP
Larch Close - BH20 7QQ
TO THE RIGHT:-
Sandford Middle School - BH20 7QA
As we leave the Sandford roundabout over where the school lollypop lady operates, we see the first
pedestrian crossing. Also the fullest extent of the Sandford Middle School.|
A little further and we see bus-stop laybys on both sides of the road. These are something of
a godsend to through traffic.
What is something of a letdown is the upcoming entrance on the right to St. Martins CE First School
(BH20 7BN) where cars in and out tend to get stuck in the main traffic flow. Not only an irritation
to it, but also a danger to themselves. The school run culture strikes again.
We are now running into what might be called Sandford, except much of it tucked away behind some
nice thick shrubs, until the highways people ripped down great swathes of it on the right hand side.
Quite why, we do not know. What we do know is it opened up a lot of residents to noise and light
pollution from the traffic. Not very fair to our way of thinking.
On the right you can make out a yellow box on a post - a speed camera for traffic from
the other direction. The speed limit is 30mph through Sandford. Given this is a residential area this
seems quite justified to make safe for one and all. If of course you took away the traffic, it would be
||from Bakers Arms 2.3m 12.2m to Swanage and the sea
TO THE LEFT:-
Keysworth Drive - BH20 7BD
Keysworth Drive - BH20 7BH
Keysworth Drive - BH20 7BQ
Keysworth Farm - BH20 7BH
Tyneham Close - BH20 7BE
Tyneham Close - BH20 7BG
St Martins Road - BH20 7BA
Brian Close - BH20 7BJ
St Helens Road - BH20 7AX
Bryn Road - BH20 7AY
Tamlin Street - BH20 7AZ
The Beeches - BH20 7AQ
Further into Sandford there is the Garage/small store. This in itself is most useful, but when
the traffic levels do build up it does prove troublesome getting in and out, and a lot of the time
such manoeuvres are performed blind.
TO THE RIGHT:-
MORDEN ROAD - B3075
MORDEN ROAD - BH20 7AA
Filleul Road - BH20 7AP
Filleul Road - BH20 7AW
Elwood Close - BH20 7AU
Rodgett Crescent - BH20 7AR
Miles Avenue - BH20 7AS
Miles Avenue - BH20 7AT
Miles Avenue - BH20 7BL
Gore Hill - BH20 7AN
Gore Hill - BH20 7AL
Forest Edge Road - BH20 7BU
Forest Edge Road - BH20 7BX
Shaw Drive - BH20 7BS
Shaw Drive - BH20 7BT
At the other end of Sandford there is laid back the large "Sandford" pub, which is just
before the Morden roundabout.
> > > >
||from Bakers Arms 2.8m 11.7m to Swanage and the sea
Not surprisingly, at the Morden roundabout we can turn right on to the B3075 and head
for Morden. This road is in fact two-way and narrow, and although useful as a back-road
come shortcut to take us back to the A35 and places such as Morden, Bere Regis and beyond
it cannot handle any more traffic than the A351 and has been bizarrely suggested as a bypass
for Sandford and Holton Heath.|
To successfully achieve that status it would need a major upgrade, which is more than
the highways departments will ever give it. If such a degree of roadwork/improvement were to be
considered, surely it would make more sense to create a new road from the existing Wareham
bypass/north roundabout which would be straighter and more level.
If the junction remained where it is now the Morden roundabout would just clog up as
it does now with back ups in all three directions.
At the other side of the roundabout, we see what is the Ghurka Restaurant. How the name
came about we are unsure, it was originally called The Forest Edge which is "where" it is built,
on the edge of Wareham Forest.
After the restaurant, we drop downhill towards the first Wareham roundabout leaving on the
right a glimpse of what was the original A351/Morden Road and replaced by the new.|
Hidden away on the left is a road to Keysworth.
As you continue to the bottom and climb back up you see the old A351/Sandfordford Road to
the left now replaced with the slightly better road. It is actually slightly wider but
cannot handle any more traffic, this does seem a bit of a shortfall in forward planning
at the time of its construction.
Out of sight to the right is Northmoor Way which takes you on to Northmoor/Northmoor Park
which is a large housing estate and must have near doubled the population of what is called
Wareham but would sensibly be called Northmoor, in its own right.
Northmoor and Wareham are divided by a roundabout, the railway, its bridge, and Wareham Station.
TO THE LEFT:-
Sandford Road - BH20 4DH
Sandford Road - BH20 4DQ
Ryan Close - BH20 4JJ
Drax Avenue - BH20 4DJ
Northport Drive - BH20 4DL
Northport Drive - BH20 4DN
Northport Drive - BH20 4DP
Northport Drive - BH20 4DR
Northport Drive - BH20 4DS
Northport Drive - BH20 4DT
Northport Drive - BH20 4DW
Admirals Way - BH20 4DU
Courtenay Close - BH20 4ED
TO THE RIGHT:-
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EE
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EF
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EG
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EH
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EQ
Northmoor Way - BH20 4ES
Northmoor Way - BH20 4ET
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EU
Northmoor Way - BH20 4EX
Northmoor Way - BH20 4RY
Northmoor Way - BH20 4RZ
Northmoor Way - BH20 4SA
Northmoor Way - BH20 4SB
Northmoor Way - BH20 4SH
Northmoor Way - BH20 4SJ
Seven Barrows Road - BH20 4BQ
Trent Drive - BH20 4DF
Avon Drive - BH20 4EL
Sherford Drive - BH20 4EN
Tarrant Drive - BH20 4EP
Great Owens Drive - BH20 4ER
Stour Drive - BH20 4EW
Wellstead Road - BH20 4EY
Stockley Road - BH20 4EZ
Sherford Close - BH20 4JL
Daniel Drive - BH20 4RU
Willow Way - BH20 4RX
Middlebere Drive - BH20 4SD
Bourne Drive - BH20 4SE
Norden Drive - BH20 4SF
Fairway Drive - BH20 4SG
Burns Road - BH20 4SQ
Tantinoby Lane - BH20 7PQ
||from Bakers Arms 3.4m 11.1m to Swanage and the sea
As you rise up to the Northport roundabout, yet again, we see something that is too small
for its purpose.|
Most of the traffic is through traffic with a small amount to and from the right for
Wareham Station, some industrial sites, and a useful short-cut out to Bere Regis. That
is a narrow country road through Wareham Forest, and with its fair share of
undulations which would have been fine for a horse and cart, but are uncomfortable for a car even at low speed.
At Wareham it was once normal to cross the railway by level crossing, which if the
journey was an everyday chore, did little for the humour if you got there as a train was approaching.
Of course, if it was the first time as a visitor it did have a novelty value, usually only once though!
The bridge you see now, which on face value should eliminate the problem, only helps,
because it gets so congested.
The Wareham bypass can sometimes take the south moving traffic quickly away from the problem,
but, if travelling north the end of the bypass can be a queue of traffic back to the Worgret roundabout
and further, not just from the Swanage direction but also out of Wareham and from Wool.
When you get to Wareham the bypass needs to continue all the way to the Bakers Arms or
thereabouts as shown on the map.
You run off the railway bridge on to a down slope to the Wareham north roundabout.
||from Bakers Arms 3.5m 11.0m to Swanage and the sea
As you get down to the roundabout hidden off to the right is the exit to Wareham Station
and the Sandford Lane Industrial Estate.
This is the third of the industrial estates we will have seen since leaving the Bakers
Arms. Another source of heavier traffic in and out which would be taken off the small roads
if there were a bypass.
It is a little difficult to explain if you are not familiar with the terrain, the industrial
estate traffic has to leave its estate, drive out under the railway bridge, on to the roundabout you
see in these pictures, and then this upslope to escape to the
north where the majority goes. In so doing you have done 270°.
If there were a Sandford Bypass the vehicle need only have travelled a few yards straight
on to the bypass.
To the left is the exit into Wareham, and ahead on to the existing Wareham Bypass.
The Wareham Bypass was opened in 2 sections
North from the Worgret
roundabout to the North Wareham roundabout on 1 April 1980
South from the Worgret roundabout to the Stoborough roundabout on
26 September 1988.
The road over railway bridge was opened on the 3 April 1980.
TO THE LEFT:-
Wareham (Old) Town
Wareham Bypass to
Corfe and Swanage
TO THE RIGHT:-|
North Causeway -
Sandford Lane - BH20 4DX
Hibbs Close - BH20 4BP
Wareham Station - BH20 4AS
Estate - BH20 4DY
||from Bakers Arms 3.7m 10.8m to Swanage and the sea
If there were a bypass that continued north from the end of the Wareham Bypass that ends here,
the traffic from that estate would not have to make that short but slow journey, it would
literally have to drive a few yards straight on to the bypass section that could link this
section to Sandford and then ultimately the Bakers Arms.
In fact, this roundabout could immediately be continued to the left / north because
there is little in its way. If you climbed into your earth moving machinery you could drive
yourself to the Bakers Arms with your only problem being getting over the railway somewhere
around Holton Heath Station/Industrial Estate.
Many local folk have to travel out of Purbeck to work, usually along this route rather than
through Studland and across the ferry. That route during the holidays is a story all on its own! It has
been calculated by some that it is cheaper to use the ferry, a shorter journey, and save petrol. It
isn't that simple. Sitting in a queue of traffic, stopping starting, etc.. It is not so cut and dried,
some will win, some will lose.
(Go to end section on cost of journey.)
Much has been said about the bypass not going ahead because of the damage it would do to the
environment, the plants and the animals, some being almost unique to the area. That concern
is quite justified, and in the light of other road schemes around the country it has proved
to be the case that such an environment has in fact always been improved, contractors see
it as their duty and obligation to at the very least, match, and hopefully improve the lot
of this beautiful countryside.
We leave the Wareham north roundabout on to the first section of the existing Wareham bypass.
This takes us to the Worgret roundabout where you turn left into Wareham, right onto the
A352 Wool / Dorchester road, which takes you to the A353 Weymouth road.
Straight ahead is Stoborough, Corfe Castle and village, Harmans Cross, Kingston, Worth Matravers,
Acton, Langton Matravers and Swanage.
Whilst the existing bypass is a great boon to Wareham, it is also something of a letdown because
it is not a dual carriageway. It is single file each way, with long tailbacks of stop start traffic. Whilst
one can appreciate some of the side exits/entrances at intersections might create tailbacks, the through
traffic would get a better deal.
TO THE LEFT:-
Worgret Road - BH20 4PF
Worgret Road - BH20 4PH
Worgret Road - BH20 4PJ
Worgret Road - BH20 4PL
Worgret Road - BH20 4PN
Worgret Road - BH20 4PP
Worgret Road - BH20 4PQ
The Purbeck School - BH20 4PF
Purbeck Sports Centre - BH20 4PH
Wareham Middle School - BH20 4PH
Lady St Mary
CE First School
Magistrates Court - BH20 4PH
Police Station -
Fire Station - BH20 4PL
Council Offices - BH20 4PP
Wareham (Old) Town
TO THE RIGHT:-|
Weymouth A352 - A353
Worgret Hill - BH20 6AD
||from Bakers Arms 4.5m 10.0m to Swanage and the sea
< < < <
The A351 sweeps down and left away from the roundabout and seems quite a clear
piece of road with good visibility.
This may well be the case but unfortunately, as you leave the roundabout, or approach
it your vision is limited round the embankment on the east by the embankment itself. It is quite
common for vehicles to leave or approach the roundabout at a rate of knots, quite often
overtaking at the same time. This makes for easy collisions.
After crossing the River Frome the road takes a swing to the right as it approaches
a staggered junction at Stoborough / Holme Lane. This in 2008 had some new islands painted on
The reason for these is very valid because this staggered junction is two opposing
right turns, which, when approached from either direction, especially at speed, is an accident
waiting to happen.
||from Bakers Arms 5.5m 9.0m to Swanage and the sea
TO THE LEFT:-
West Lane - BH20 5DA
Oak Tree Close - BH20 5BP
Hollow Oak Road - BH20 5AH
TO THE RIGHT:-|
West Lane -
Grange Road - BH20 5AJ
Grange Road - BH20 5AL
Springfield Country Hotel - BH20 5AL
Springfield Country Club - BH20 5AL
Holme Lane - BH20 5DH
The end of the bypass approaching the Stoborough roundabout is a long sweeping bend ending
with a tight turn on to the roundabout. This bend is drivable at high speed but is so very dangerous if
you attempt an overtake, or if you do not slow down in time for the roundabout. Speed and overtaking
applies in both directions, the most vulnerable being motorcyclists.
The roundabout itself is an epicentre for quarry lorries from all directions and whilst not
perceived as dangerous, do remember they do need that much more room to negotiate the roundabout,
on and off.
It is also an epicentre for caravans, especially during the holiday season, where they are
for a lot of the time being driven blind because they are articulated, and even with their extra sticky
out mirrors have limited vision. This of course neglects the many who seem to have a problem getting
the right balance between car and caravan.
The Stoborough roundabout is a little tight 'size-wise'.
To the left is what was the original road that takes you back through Stoborough
and Wareham to emerge at the Wareham north roundabout. One has to be grateful that the newer
Wareham bypass can take the traffic off the old road.
TO THE LEFT:-
Corfe Road - BH20 5AY
Corfe Road - BH20 5AZ
Lookout Caravan Park - BH20 5AZ
Stoborough Meadow - BH20 5HP
Oval Garden - BH20 5HR
Old Furzebrook Road - BH20 5AX
The Drove - BH20 5BA
New Road - BH20 5BB
Scott Close - BH20 5BZ
TO THE RIGHT:-|
Furzebrook Road - BH20 5AR
Furzebrook Road - BH20 5AU
Blue Poole - BH20 5AT
||from Bakers Arms 6.0m 8.5m to Swanage and the sea
Something that has become a puzzle is how slippery the road is when wet on the exit
towards Corfe Castle. We suspect it does attract a lot of dirt and grit from the quarry lorries. The Exit to
Corfe Castle seems to be the worst possibly because of the slight downcline water not being able to drain
to the side.|
The Furzebrook Road to the right is the way to the Blue Pool, but that in terms of
traffic is quite minimal. It does have its fair share of large lorries carrying the local output
of stone, much of it coming in from the Furzebrooke Road, but again, not enough to be a problem
and much of it heading away towards the A35.
As you run away from the roundabout, there is a layby to the left large enough for
After a long 'S' bend the A351 again, is a long straight length of road with undulations,
which makes it very easy to speed. This is made more dangerous by the distraction of the Halfway
Inn on the right.
Accidents are quite common on this length of road. Although the road is sufficiently
wide for three cars, many drivers are quite content to drive towards the middle of the road
oblivious to oncoming overtakers. Motorcyclists are very vulnerable.
||from Bakers Arms 6.9m 7.6m to Swanage and the sea
Unfortunately, folk new to the road suddenly notice the Halfway Inn and decide that is
where they want to go, but with little regard to other traffic. It is a case of non-drunk drivers
Naturally, folk leaving the Inn make their own contribution to accident statistics,
partly because they are partly blind to fast traffic from Corfe.
We feel sure however, drunk drivers do also contibute.
||from Bakers Arms 7.6m 6.9m to Swanage and the sea
Having climbed up from Cats Eye Cottage, you see the last straight and fast section to the
Many find this has a sting in the tail because you 'suddenly' get to the roundabout and
leave braking a little late. If you are still a bit quick on to the roundabout you find it is a very
strange drive because heading towards Corfe you have to take a long swing to the left, whereas in
the opposite direction you can almost drive through at full speed.
A very sad and serious accident, or perhaps, incident, occurred April 28 2008, when a
husband and wife in a Toyota car towing a caravan from Swanage to Dorchester pulled in to change a
punctured car tyre.|
Having made the change, and whilst re-hitching the caravan the caravan was hit from behind
by an Audi Estate. The caravan spun into the wife and their car and threw her into the air. She died
at the roadside with serious chest and leg injuries despite the efforts of two passing nurses
who had stopped. The husband and the driver of the Audi received more minor injuries.
The Audi driver was prosecuted April 2009, found guilty of driving without due care
an attention, but escaped a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. He was fined
£1,200 and given five penalty points. A driver close behind the Audi had said "The Audi
continued on its course straight along on its side of the road. It didn't pull out and it
didn't brake. It drove directly into the back of the caravan. Asked after the accident why
did he not see the caravan the Audi driver said words to the effect 'I must have been
Prosecuting council had said "He was flicking between preset stations on the
radio to see if there was anything interesting." Many drivers had successfully passed the
car and caravan before the incident, some observing it was visible for a quarter mile.
To the left is the way to Norden Park & Ride, a very useful facility to take the
pressure off of Swanage for parking.|
Many travellers coming to Swanage for a ride on the train do make the mistake of driving
into Swanage to park and then take their train ride. It is a far better move to park at Norden and do
it the other way round.
||from Bakers Arms 8.4m 6.1m to Swanage and the sea
It may be apparent from this picture that there is a lot of grit / debris at this side of
the roundabout. Quite why, we do not know, possibly farm vehicles, but we do know it makes for a
slippery surface and since this is quite a tight drive in this direction extra caution is worthwhile.|
The road drops down towards Corfe, with the National Trust Car Park / Information Centre
on the left. As you can see from the sign, it has everything any tourist should need, except food.
For those on the road, a word of caution. From the Information Centre there are often
pedestrians crossing the road to get to the fields and footpaths on the other side. Some quite often
so engrossed that they are oblivious to being on a road.
Just a few yards further on the right is the turning for Creeche, Church Knowle, Steeple,
Kimmeridge, and all places out to Tyneham and Lulworth if the ranges are open.
As you enter the road you will see 'Range Boards' which specify which ranges are actually
open to traffic otherwise you can get no further than Kimmeridge.
Back on the A351 just a few more yards on the left is the B3351 'main' road to North
Swanage and Studland. This is a very twisty backwater but very popular. Sat Navs show this as 0.1m
further to Swanage and the sea than the A351, but faster.
It had been suggested at various times that this road could be used as part of a Corfe Bypass.
You will notice it is marked with the national speed limit. That is wishful thinking since it is narrow
and winding with much of it best driven at 40mph.
This staggered junction does make for something of a problem if you are trying to join
the A351 from the left or right because there is little opportunity to find an opening in the traffic
especially when there is an abundance of visitors. Naturally, this does also cause a very long
tailback down both roads.
The opposite of this is trying to make a right turn off of the main road when you
generate a tailback on the main road back into Corfe, while trying to get into the B3351 side road,
because there is already a tailback up to Norden trying to get into Corfe. Gridlock sometimes
springs to mind.
Although it rarely happens, quite a dramatic event, by country standards, is the flood.
This sometimes occurs during the rainy season when the Corfe River, which runs under the road here,
to meander to Poole Harbour and is heavy with water draining from the hills to the west, is backed up with
a high tide in the harbour to the east. Depths of three feet have been known with a duration of several hours.
Purbeck can also be snowed in with drifts around Corfe, although instances are getting to
be something of the past.
It is at this point you begin to wonder to yourself, why isn't there a bypass starting
somewhere back around Norden to take you round Corfe. There is the Norden roundabout to start things
off, but you would then have to cross the railway, then link into the B3351 below Corfe Castle,
but as mentioned above that is too narrow anyway.
It would take the pressure off Corfe and make it such a nicer place - it deserves it.
When the railway to Swanage ceased in January 1972, Dorset County
Council purchased much of what was the trackbed and track was taken up. It was suggested they would
utilise it as a road/bypass.
It never happened, and we do have a very nice railway back with hopes it will eventually
be linked to the main line at Wareham.
||from Bakers Arms 8.8m 5.7m to Swanage and the sea
As you run into Corfe which is very narrow complete with its 5mph hairpin, the traffic
can quite easily grind to a total halt. It only takes one vehicle trying to turn into The Square
for this to happen. If it is an articulated delivery lorry with a driver who has never
experienced the delight of Corfe before the wait can be long.|
As you turn the bend at the base of the castle you may notice the 'Overhanging Building'
sign, and think to yourself, how a building can overhang a road and also low enough to be a problem?
Well, it is the case, and you can see in the picture a yellow and black striped plate,
above and between the blue and red cars. While we have no expert advice in this respect, we
think that the newer generations of coaches with all their fancy bodywork and excessive mirrors
could hit that building. There are probably some lorries that could get it as well.
At this point in the street it is also very narrow, coaches and lorries have to take it
in turns to drive past each other. Any vehicle pulling wide to avoid the building will also block
the traffic from the other direction.
As a distraction from traffic, there is the matter of the public toilet which is hidden
away on the left just past the red car in shot. The property was originally purchased with a covenant
saying that it could only be a toilet. It was very useful, but for reasons unknown it has been shut down
for several years.
It has however become significantly difficult to use over the years because of the
increase in traffic levels, especially during the holiday season. It is always precarious for
pedestrians to cross the road and virtually impossible for the disabled. If you manage to get up
past the square, cross at the crossing, you cannot get back down the hill because there is no
footpath by the Bankes Arms corner.
The left turn through Corfe village, and the right turn into the square ahead of you
are such tight turns that a commercial vehicle needs all of the corner to get round them. If it is
a driver who has never visited before, they can get themselves in quite a pickle negotiating in
Not apparent in these pictures, but very apparent to a commercial driver in the square,
is the memorial in the centre, which makes it very difficult or impossible to turn around.
Reversing back out into East Street is not a sensible option, but it does happen in desperation.
Some vehicles cannot actually get into the side streets at the back of the square, especially
if there is an odd car parked.
The traffic light sign is to warn you of what is coming round the corner. Besides the
tight left turn into Station Road with the car park to The Bankes Arms, and of course, the
station with its car park, there is a set of pedestrian lights. On face value not a problem,
but when there are more than usual folk around, like an influx of visitors, the crossing is in
constant use and does not take much time to generate a tailback.
Like most of Corfe village the road is very narrow, particularly a little ahead where
a house is virtually the edge of the road, and two cars passing is comfortable, but a lorry or
coach needs it to itself. At this point pedestrians are a hazard to themselves and the traffic
because a bunch of people invariably walk into the road, often oblivious where they are.
The street ahead is perhaps not a problem, but add parked cars and you do have a
problem. This street, called East Street and the main road through Corfe, has sections of parking
and no parking, which really do not make any sense.
As might be apparent, with one car parked there is room for two cars to pass, but not
for all motorists on this road. Many are inexperienced, nervous, bad judges of width, all manner
of reasons, and have to wait until there is nothing coming the other way before they will proceed.
You may be able to see the bus stop ahead, it/they are a fact of life, but take account
of how long they take to unload and load passengers, it seems to be a very long time. Add a parked
car, and nothing moves.
Not too many yards down the road and you have a school, the usual problems, a lollypop
lady, the school run brigade.
Allied to the lollypop lady, we have recently noticed that her lollypop stick has two
children depicted on it. So why, in the absence of children, does she suddenly take to the road to
shepherd a single adult across.
Having survived the main bottlenecks in Corfe including the pedestrian crossing, and progressing
mid East Street past the school, Castle Inn Public House and library, one needs to be reminded that there
have been many suggestions over the years that a pedestrian crossing is badly needed here.|
Whilst one can sympathise with pedestrians having trouble crossing the road when the traffic builds
up, one also has to sympathise with the motorist, especially those that have no choice but use this road every
day, too and from work.
There are remedies. Create a bypass, or build a pedestrian bridge. The suggestions have been
bandied back and forth for many years, including creating another conventional crossing.
Corfe is an old village with history going back over a thousand years, much of it encompassing local
trades, particularly the quarrying of Purbeck stone. Now take a look at the last few pictures and you see the
closest you get to a reminder of that history is a shiny new lorry carrying a bit of Purbeck stone. Beside
that there are cars on the road, parked on and off the road. That sort of image of a thousand years of history
are they? Also, do not forget the 10th century telephone box, right next to what was the telephone exchange.
How nice it would be to clear the road of cars and the like, and just see rows of classic Purbeck
stone cottages with stone or thatch roofs.
One often hears complaints from residents about the limited parking space in Corfe, not only on the
road, but at their own houses. They seem to forget we have only had a need to park for less than mere hundred
years. That long ago most folk did not need to drive the horse and cart back from the office, put the cart in
the garage and the horse in the stable. Most people did not have such things. Some would have the company horse
and cart to pick them up in the morning and drop them in the evening. The majority actually did walk to work,
and quite a few miles each way. Also, most if not all children walked to school. Nowadays most seem to jump
in the car for the quarter mile trip to get a pint of milk and loaf of bread. How sad is that?
Leaving the village one sees the signpost for Harmans Cross and Swanage, this of course
being the road ahead. This is for the most part called Valley Road, for the obvious reason it is partly
in a valley between two hills. Strangely perhaps, going through Harmans Cross, it becomes a hill
between two valleys.
Once-upon-a-time, the road ahead did not exist, it was Corfe Common and some tracks. Harmans Cross
as a village did not exist a hundred years ago. To get to Swanage you had to turn right and climb Kingston Hill
to Kingston, then left turn along the top of the hill, B3069, passing Worth Matravers, through Langton Matravers,
down Coombe Hill and meeting the A351 before it passes though Herston into Swanage town.
One has however, to bear in mind even Kingston Hill was not a metalled road, quite how long ago
we do not know.
||from Bakers Arms 9.7m 4.8m to Swanage and the sea
The A351 progresses through Corfe Common and up to Peake House where it bends sharp left as it
flattens out, quite an easy corner to misjudge and come to grief. The road is then quite straight with tame
undulations and very easy to speed along for a few hundred yards.|
Because there are no pavements, just verges round the bend, it has always been a cause of concern
for walkers, because when walking down the hill for instance you would sensibly walk into the traffic, but in
so doing you are invisible to traffic climbing the hill and tending to cling to the verge.
You are here approaching a rather famous bridge, The Afflington Bridge.
While there are accidents here and abouts, this has two more famous than usual.
One was in 1999, when a 62 year old motorcyclist, riding along the Corfe-Swanage road towards
Harman's Cross, who for reasons unknown left the busy main road at the bridge and dropped 30ft
to the cutting and railway line below.
It is uncertain whether he just rode off short of the bridge wall, touched the wall
and toppled over, or had stopped and toppled over the wall leaving his bike on the edge
of the embankment.
Assistance was given by passers-by, and an ambulance called, but because the location is
not easily accessible for lifting of the injured, the man was stretchered on to a train that
was close, first aid given, and then taken to Norden where he was transferred to an ambulance and
on to Poole Hospital. His injuries were quite severe and he spent some time in intensive care.
||from Bakers Arms 10.3m 4.2m to Swanage and the sea
Another incident was 15 June 2002, about 3am. An elderly couple driving to Swanage, left
the road in their car ploughing through the skinny hedge (before the bridge) and plunging down
into the railway cutting.
They were not found for 7 hours when a train out of Swanage found the debris on the
The man was dead, and the woman, his wife, had serious neck and other injuries. She
was transported to Dorchester Hospital by Air Ambulance. It was much later reported that the man
died of his injuries but may have left the road in the first place as a consequence of having had
a heart condition for some 12 years and perhaps having a dizzy spell, losing consciousness,
falling asleep or losing attention. The car had just drifted off the road, not veered.
How lucky was it there was a train in service. The couple could have been there for days
because they were invisible to passing traffic.
Afflington Bridge is part of a relatively straight and flat section of road and this
accident could have occurred before, or after the bridge. In fact such an accident could have
happened anywhere, so perhaps we should have barriers along every stretch of road in the country
because, "Accidents will happen"
Many have said that because of the accident Dorset County Council replaced the pleasant
over century old Purbeck bridge with two hideous concrete monoliths, with barriers either side.
Dorset County Council subsequently said that the installation of barriers, a would
be improvement identified by a highway audit following the October 2001 Selby crash, had been
delayed until next September to avoid the tourist season traffic. They also said it was one of
ten bridges in Dorset needing improvement, and is to create a new budget to fund improvements
to these ten bridges.
A hundred yards or so and there is Woodyhyde Farm / Campsite which seems nothing unusual,
the track is to private property and the camp site. But it is on a rise. and can be blind to
approaching vehicles. Would be visitors often don't see it until the last minute and suddenly brake.
Add to that some water, mud and the like, the sort of thing that quite normally comes off of farm
tractors, and it gets very slippery.
Somebody in a rush can easily loose control with dire consequences, even if there
is no other vehicle on the road.
||from Bakers Arms 10.7m 3.8m to Swanage and the sea
for 1 mile
Harmans Cross is a little unusual in that it is a very recent village/hamlet, and it has no
church, pub or school.|
Neither are there any shops except at Moonfleet Cars / Garage, or beyond the village at
St Michaels Garage which have mini stores. Moonfleet does also have a Post Office facility, occasionally,
and St Michaels Garage both a cash machine and a lottery terminal.
It evolved at the 'crossroads' of farm tracks that became roads, and the straighter route
between Corfe and Swanage. It might just be a simple matter of so much traffic having to trek uphill to
Kingston, through Acton and Langton Matravers before dropping down into Herston and Swanage, demanding
an easier route.
Driving into and through the village can give you a false sense of security because there are
residential properties on both side of the road, but with many of them hidden away. Some of the residents
do actually walk on the road at some time or other. There is not a continuous footpath on either side
of the road.
As you approach the middle of the village and the crossroads there is traffic from both sides,
but the most from the right/south, which is Haycrafts Lane. This meanders uphill for about a mile to the
Kingston Road, which again means Worth Matravers, Acton and Langton Matravers.
There were two significant camping sites, the first now (2008) being developed from what was
a flower meadow into a housing estate. The second and larger, is still very active, but further up and
over the hill.
||from Bakers Arms 11.1m 3.4m to Swanage and the sea
Much leads off Haycrafts Lane, most significantly the soon (2009) to be rebuilt Village Hall,
and immediately next to that, Harmans Cross Railway Station, which was opened in 1989 to serve the newly
formed Swanage Railway. There are of course tracks into a number of farms and private property.|
Back on the A351 / Valley Road and just ahead of you is Moonfleet Cars and Garage with
Spar Store, which was before 2006, known as Foleys Garage. Foleys Garage, as workshop and pumps, started
life back in 1934 without the showroom you now see, which followed in 1984.
Those trying to find Moonfleet Cars by Sat Nav and postcode BH19 3DZ need to know that
postcode is a long stretch of road so the garage is often out of place on the map, it is sometimes
not shown on the A351. It does however have all night lighting. By the garage grounds you will see
the only street light in Harmans Cross.
Talking of postcodes, a curiosity is that to the west of the cross roads to Corfe is a
Corfe/Wareham postcode BH20, and to the east and Swanage, a Swanage postcode BH19. As far as the
Post Office is concerned, Harmans Cross does not exist.
As you may realise from the picture the garage is in rather an unfortunate position in being
at the top of a rise and on a slight bend. Vehicles leaving the near end of the forecourt are blind to
traffic coming up the slope away from Swanage and are very vulnerable. That same traffic trying to right
turn into the forecourt, if a little delayed, is quickly caught by following vehicles also blind over
Although Harmans Cross has a 40mph limit it does not stop folk speeding. Not just cars and
motor cycles, but also larger commercial lorries and coaches, which given the bends and undulations makes
for easy accidents, and a very precarious exercise for pedestrians trying to cross the road. Emergency
vehicles are usually speeding for good reason, but that still makes it dangerous.
Naturally, there are motorists who do obey the limit, but that unfortunately does produce long
streams of traffic in both directions, more often in the holiday season. This makes the pedestrian even
Pressure has over the years been put on the usual authorities to reduce the limit to 30mph
- but too no avail - until somebody is killed.
Past the garage, there are again, properties to both sides.|
Some that do stick out above the rest, not because of size, are on the left and are
predominately built of brick.
The first being Bower Close where three houses were built in 2008 on the plot of a very secluded
cottage called "Maytide".
Quite how planning permission was permitted does come as something of a mystery since they
are so out of character with the local building material. The same goes for the next curious house
with the curious name of "Wulfruna" which was built about 1977, sporting in the front garden the newly
chosen (2008) flag of Dorset.
After "Wulfruna" is North Instow which is an unmade side road with a number of mainly classic
properties. North Instow does have another entrance/exit a little further down the road.
A few yards further on is the entrance to South Instow, also unmade, which also has mainly classic
Whilst Harmans Cross is not the sort of place that can get flooded because of its height,
it is quite common during a good rain shower to generate a large puddle to the left of the road which
can easily catch you out, especially at night, and in a rush.
Leaving Harmans Cross takes you through an 'S' bend with the road to Quarr Farm coming up
on the right in the near distance. North Instow is immediately on your left with one of its exits just apparent.
From this direction, you are also dropping from a slight rise, which together with the bend
can make you blind to both North Instow and Quarr Farm. Quarr Farm does of course have slow farm machinery
in and out, a fact of life, but still slow and also leaving various farm-related debris on the road.
||from Bakers Arms 11.7m 2.8m to Swanage and the sea
Having left Harmans Cross behind and still in the 40mph speed limit, you are approaching
St Michaels Garage with its Londis shop. The garage is on the start of quite a shallow bend which also
drops downhill and is flagged early as a 35mph maximum limit. |
This is quite justified since you loose adhesion when you drop and swing right. Any
deviation over the line to the left takes you on to dirt and/or grass. If the road is dry and you can
stay on the tarmac - 70mph is possible but it does mean very steady driving and a good set of tyres.
Something that is a matter of great debate, and some danger at the garage is
drivers who approach from the other/Swanage direction/side of the road to enter the garage, which
means crossing the oncoming traffic, which can be in something of a hurry until it
actually gets near or alongside the garage, if at all.
Such vehicles are blind to the oncoming traffic and good sense says that they should
come past what should just be an exit and enter this end when they are likely to be stationary
to assess the oncoming traffic. What can happen is traffic from Swanage entering the other end is
often still on the move and unable to see or judge the oncoming traffic, also on the move.
The two entrance to the garage causes heated discussions to take place on the
forecourt because two vehicles can easily meet by the pumps with both determined that they
have the greater right to be there.
The proprietors have defied any suggestion that there be a distinct entrance and
exit, possibly because some of their valued regulars like to use what should be the exit as their
entrance. Another reason cited is that the pumps are on the wrong side for some vehicles.
There in fact appears to be pumps to suit all vehicles except perhaps those using gas.
Some folk consider it strange that the 35mph sign is placed before the 40mph sign
found just before the garage.
Another sign now (May 2010) causing some amusement or irritation is the cardboard
policeman on the 40mph sign.
This is a Police Notice|
| Police Notice|
|EMPTY YOUR CAR|
It has long been our belief these signs are multi-purpose. Since there are few police
around to apprehend criminals, it is hoped this will stop the general public leaving property in
their vehicles, something they should be able to do without fear of theft/crime. Police in Purbeck
are a bit thin on the ground. In Swanage the Police Station (to the best of our knowledge) is
only open 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday. It has always been our belief policing should be 24 hours
per day, that is what many of us pay taxes for.
Leaving St Michaels garage behind you, on the left behind a fence is Seekings Farm,
and on the right after some regular houses is what is known as Pondarosa, a private house and campsite.
The oncoming bend, perhaps because folk see they can speed up, has its fair
number of cars through the hedge. It could in fact just be down to the usual problem with roads
that undulate and meander.
Around another 'S' bend we come to the next hazard which is known as Nursery Bridge,
is very narrow and humpty and should be taken with caution. If you take it at speed you can
easily loose traction, and also being on a slight bend can send you off into the kerb or bushes.
There is no footpath and pedestrians are very vulnerable. Both cars and commercial
vehicles become used to it and can easily touch anybody on foot, they are just not used to
seeing them around.
What has always been a source of amazement is been how fast the large tourist
coaches unscathed get over the bridge given how narrow it is.
Something that can also be disconcerting and distracting is the steam trains that
pass under the bridge because they do come with quite a bust of steam and smoke when they exit.
Having crossed the bridge you drop into a dip, which during the rainy season there is
invariably a large puddle on the right side, and something of a surprise for traffic out of
Swanage not used to it.
The crossroad sign is for the almost invisible junction with the left turn into
what is known as Knitson Lane which takes you under the railway, past New Barn Farm, North Lease, and out
to Knitson village. The village is in fact on the Sandy Hill Lane (in Corfe), to Swanage back road.
The right turn is only for Wilkswood farm.
The whole junction is something of a safety issue. From either direction, you are
approaching uphill with no chance of seeing what is coming towards you over the hill. It is
also on a slight bend. Add to that traffic trying to creep out blind from either side and it
is a ready-made accident spot.
If the road is wet or icy, vehicles lose traction having hit the top and can
easily slide going down the other side. Speed is very much the enemy here from either direction. The one
redeeming feature is the SLOW sign on the road, if anybody takes any notice of it.
Over the hill and down the hill takes you down to a swing left and back uphill
toward Swanage, and the junction with Crack Lane. This is a very narrow back road past part
of the Langton Cemetery and up into The High Street in Langton Matravers.|
The two signs make it quite clear as to its suitableness, or not, but it is quite
often the case somebody thinks it will make a short-cut for something too big.
The junction itself is a very interesting place since there appears nothing
untoward about it, but it plays host to quite a few accidents including single vehicles.
Perhaps it is a matter of speed being the enemy again, combined with poor road conditions.
Whilst there is drainage to the side, much of the road is level and it tends to remain moist
quite long after rain has stopped.
A human failing that does sometime come into play is traffic coming down Crack Lane
'misjudging' entering the main road. They are blind to the traffic from Swanage until it
is too late.
We have here an example of a car that took a flight over the fence on the left. Quite
how it went off on the inside of the bend, and not the outside, remains a mystery.
It would seem, perhaps, a good idea to slightly bank the road, but you could offset
that against a natural inclination to take advantage of such a banking and drive faster.
Having left the bend and started climbing the hill the wet weather
obviously makes the road wet, and it drains down the road. What does become a problem for some
while after the rain is long gone is the water draining off the verges bringing with it some
grit. Anybody trying less than careful braking can achieve a good slide.
And yet another, neatly parked in the ditch (7 Sep 09). This seems to have come off
the outside of the bend. Whether another car(s) was involved we do not know, although there was
debris in the road nearer the junction.
||from Bakers Arms 12.4m 2.1m to Swanage and the sea
Hidden away behind the bushes and trees to the left is Yard's Brake, a residential property.
This is not immune to accidents and did get a car through their front wall with fatal consequences.
Having left Swanage through Herston it is quite usual for many drivers to become
oblivious of the dangers that await them.
This is rural Dorset and has its fair share of wild animals who have not learnt, or been taught
the highway code. Given the bends and undulations a driver can easily be caught out by an animal
on the road and by braking and/or swerving, especially during inclement weather, and leaving the
road and/or colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
A collision with a larger animal such as deer can cause quite serious damage to a car,
neglecting all other consequences.
||from Bakers Arms 12.8m 1.7m to Swanage and the sea
Before Coombe and Gully you pass Nine Acre Lane on the right. This is effectively a
short cut across to Coombe Hill/Langton Matravers and has housing on one side.|
Another 80 yards down the road you pass "through" a farm where there appears to be
nothing, unless the cows are being brought in for milking "across" the road, or farm machinery
is on the move. In normal circumstances, this is a small problem, but during the season it can
produce a significant back up, with the last in the queue and round a bend, wondering what is going on.
There is quite a simple explanation for why this is the case. A hundred years ago
the road from Corfe to Swanage went via Kingston, Langton, and then down into Swanage.
This was quite satisfactory is those days but pressure was brought to bear to
create a flatter and more direct route, which was once bits of farm track meandering around
but is now the road that is The Valley Road. It does not always give the impression
of being in a valley.
The Valley Road does of course continue through Harmans Cross, all the way out through
Corfe Common until it meets the original road at the bottom of Kingston Hill where it originally
swung into Corfe Village.
On a pleasant spring afternoon with excellent road conditions, there is little traffic
around. Quite by coincidence there seems to have been an altercation involving bicycles, cars, and
a commercial vehicle. The van "appears" to be driving out in front of an oncoming car.
This is not unusual at this junction because it is such a sharp junction with traffic
in and out of Swanage from the High Street, and also from The Valley Road and Harmans Cross, and
Coombe Hill down from Langton Matravers to the right. It just takes one vehicle for instance to
forget or not bother to use their indicators and you can have a major incident.
It is quite often the case that commercial traffic or local cars want to come down from
Langton and turn left back on to the Valley Road towards Corfe. That means swinging wide across the
Valley Road and it does not take much to be heading into the oncoming traffic.
A major problem with this junction also stems from the matter that it is below a hill,
especially ahead, which is known as Gully, and after a period of rain, for about a hundred yards,
the water can run across the road for days and make it slippery. If of course there has been snow,
or the weather is icy, the whole road can become a skating rink and it does not take much to slide.
Not surprisingly cars and bikes freed from the 30mph speed limit in Swanage are inclined
to open up round this bend, oblivious to what is heading their way into Swanage, possibly
also at speed before slowing down for the 30 limit in the High Street rather than the 40 limit
you see here.
Nice when there is nothing around!
||from Bakers Arms 13.0m 1.5m to Swanage and the sea
As you run away from the Langton junction you are driving out of The Valley Road from
Corfe, into The High Street and into Swanage passing the welcome sign on the left. Ahead of you
there is on the left The Swanage Middle School.|
All seems quiet, but unfortunately, the afternoon obviously produces the outsurge of
children, which with the pedestrian lights all should be well.
Again we have to remind ourselves of the nationwide problem at this school - "the school run".
Long gone are the days when most children walked to school.
Some while before chucking-out time, where you see a nice empty or near empty road, there
is a line of cars parked along this left footpath from the school gates down to the bus-stop, and
sometimes as far as the next left turn, which is Washpond Lane. Not a very satisfactory state of
affairs for safety and traffic flow.
Many of these cars are invariably parked half on what is known as a public footpath.
It is apparent that some drivers do wait in the bus lay-by on both sides of the road
You might be tempted to think that cars half on the footpath not a problem since there
appears to be little pedestrian traffic, but at the time of schools disgorging their pupils. besides the pick-up
with the car parents are matched. they are matched with the pick up with pushchair and child parents to pick
up older brothers and sisters.
Not as quiet as you might think. With these few parkers on the main road, it is apparent
there are many more who park on the service road parallel to the main road, which does make some sense.
Add to that the matter of some of the older children who seem to favour running a little further
down the road and then across the road between the traffic when it has stopped for the crossing lights which
at the very least can be disconcerting for the waiting drivers.
Back in the not so distant past there used to be a crossing lady, who much to the annoyance of passing
traffic would take her life in her hands and step off the kerb to hold the traffic for a bunch of children to cross.
Those days have long gone and there is now a traffic-light crossing which obvoiusly serves for pedestrians
in general as well as the children.
As you may realise, the road is a comfortable two cars wide. With cars parked on just one
side, two cars passing is tight, if one is a commercial vehicle the traffic can easily clog up.
One should be grateful that somebody thought to incorporate laybys at the bus stops.
Sadly, some actually use them as parking spaces.
As is the case for most of the roads that comprise the A351, they are narrow. That does
not however mean there will be parking restrictions, and this section of The High Street in Swanage
is no exception. As you will see there are without exception cars spread along it. These are the
same car owners/drivers who complain that they are losing wing mirrors to passing traffic.
There is a very simple response, what do you expect. The road is three cars wide. Park a
car or van and it is only two cars wide, Many drivers are nervous of it, and those that take the
plunge ocassionally misjudge their cars width. If you bring a wider commercial vehicle or caravan
into the equation it becomes a one way street.
Adjacent to the oncoming white van there is in fact a layby for houses on the street,
but only a very short stretch. On this side of the street there is a regular footpath with a wide
stretch of grass, quite popular for dog walking, but little else. Could that not be utilised for
car parking spaces?
No doubt that will be met with responses like ruining the look of Swanage. Sorry, that's
been done already, in practicaly every road in the town.
It is quite popular for folk to complain about this country being the most signposted
in the world. It may well be the case. You've ruined the look of Swanage in just this one picture.
||from Bakers Arms 13.55m 0.95m to Swanage and the sea
This is where the original High Street splits to the right while the A351 / Victoria Avenue
continues left until it reaches the sea.
The High Street to the right also goes to the sea at Swanage Pier, more as a residential
street by appearance, but still carrying much commercial traffic especially coming out of the town because
of the one-way road layout.
This is another instance of the road being rather narrow, yet there being no parking
restrictions. It is quite often the case of drivers having to take the initiative and holding back
to let traffic through. Another mini-traffic jam!.
Having swung left and away from the original High Street you are heading for the bridge
over Swanage Railway.|
On the right is the turning into Kings Road West which is a residential road and with
parking both sides for most of its distance into Swange Town, but is very popular as a rat-run
when the High Street or Victoria Avenue is clogged, or when the railway bridge is gaining more than
Just before the bridge is a small garage which in itself is quite untoward, but vehicles
that decide to pop into its very small forecourt find themselves stationary and sticking out
into Victoria Avenue, and in the path of oncoming traffic.
This very narrow bridge was constructed over the railway about 1884 and given the traffic
then, was quite satisfactory.
Times have moved on and it is wide enough for two cars to pass, but anything bigger has
to take it in turns. Given it is a steep rise from either side, two vehicles can catch each other
out, especially if in something of a hurry.
A major improvement for pedestrians was made in 199? when a separate footpath was added
to the side. A great deal safer for the pedestrian.
Realistically the bridge should be widened or another added, although it would be sad
to loose a classic Purbeck stone bridge.
||from Bakers Arms 13.8m 0.7m - to Swanage and the sea
Over the bridge you drop down towards The Triangle Garage. Just before the garage there
is also the almost invisible entrance/exit to the Victoria Avenue Trading Estate.|
This junction can be rather dangerous since traffic coming off the bridge cannot see
vehicles trying to get on the main road. The vehicles trying to get on to the main road have to
stick their noses out to see what is coming. Altogether rather a dangerous junction and some
drivers are not so careful by just "forcing" the traffic to stop and let them out.
Just round the bend the road crosses an almost invisible flat bridge over the Swan Brook and on to the
straighter sections of Victoria Avenue.|
As of early 2012, after what was a very long period of work, the public rubbish tip that was for
many years at the top of Panorama Road to the south of Swanage next to a quarry, was eventually relocated to it's new site here which is a left turn immediately after The Old Gasworks/Greystone Garage. This is very commendable but does give
another junction which may well mean a lot more traffic, both car and lorry.
Victoria Avenue should be able to sustain a gentle free-flow of traffic, but it only
takes one vehicle to foul things up since the road is two cars and a bit wide, a car and a lorry
or coach have to stop and let the other pass. This van or course is also obstructing a public footpath.
If there is one or more cars actually fully parked in the road the problem is worse.
There is often a line of cars.
This neglects the not insignificant matter of cars half parked on the pedestrian footpath.
TO THE LEFT:-
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PN
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PP
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PR
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PS
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PT
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1QJ
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1QT
Rabling Rd -
Rabling Ln -
Walrond Rd -
Sch - BH19 1PR
Harrow House - BH19 1PE
Beach Gdns - BH19 1PG
Tennis Courts - BH19 1PG
Bowling Club - BH19 1PG
Cauldron Av - BH19 1PQ
Battlemead - BH19 1PH
Cauldron Barn Fm
TO THE RIGHT:-
Northbrook Rd - BH19 1PY
Ilminster Rd - BH19 1DZ|
Cranbourne Rd - BH19 1EA
Gilbert Rd - BH19 1DU
Gilbert Rd - BH19 1DX
Court Rd - BH19 1JB
As you progress down Victoria Avenue, you find the main car park on the right. For a main
car park, it has surprisingly few spaces, just 265, plus coach spaces. The car park is in fact at the
end of what is known as the King George V Fields, which is basically a large green field. Further
back is the Swanage Pitch & Putt.|
If you continue a couple of hundred yards just after the traffic lights you can turn
left into De Moulem Road which is popular but limited for parking and at the end there is "North
Beach Car Park".
At the end of the road and turning left only takes you on to "Shore Road" where there
is parking with limitations.
||from Bakers Arms 14.25m 0.25m - to Swanage and the sea
The A351 now reaches its end as we get to the sea. Having progressed down Victoria
Avenue, coaches have passed the main car and coach park in Swanage and here turn right into the
narrow Rempston Road and then Gilbert Road to disgorge their passengers, carry on round the block
to park up for the rest of the visitors day until they drive round the block again to collect.
This takes no account of a few coach drivers, often local, who see fit to stop in Rempston Road
itself to collect and drop, thus stopping the traffic flow for some minutes. What is the point
of dedicating a sideroad (Albert Road) for the purpose and then have it ignored?.|
You are adding those coaches to the rest of the traffic that is converging on the
centre of the town you create a bottleneck. Whilst the centre of town is a one-way system, it
is only single lane, and any one vehicle trying to do a quick stop, or a taxi making a pick-up,
generates a very long tail back to Victoria Avenue where you really need a non-stop flow of traffic.
When you reach the seafront/Shore Road, during the season the right turn is actually
shut off, and the road to the left does allow parking one side on an already narrow road, meaning
anything larger than cars causes a traffic stop.
There have over the last few years been many suggestions that all of Shore Road be
closed during the season. That of course begs the question, where does all the eastbound traffic
go. The only two roads available are Northbrook Road and De Moulham Road which are very much
residential roads and fall far short of through traffic capabilities.
Like many roads in and approaching Swanage, there are limited parking restrictions where
there should be NO PARKING. It all adds to congestion.
TO THE LEFT:-
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NP
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NR
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NS
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NT
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NU
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NX
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1NY
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1PA
De Moulham Rd - BH19 1PX
Swanage Town & Herston
North Beach Car Park
Rabling Rd -
Walrond Rd -
Gannetts Pk - BH19 1PF
Beach Gdns - BH19 1PG
Tennis Courts - BH19 1PG
Bowling Club - BH19 1PG
Cauldron Av - BH19 1PQ
Battlemead - BH19 1PH
Vivian Park - BH19 1PJ
Clifton Rd - BH19 1NW
Seaward Rd - BH19 1LP
Bonfields Av - BH19 1PL
TO THE RIGHT:-
Swanage Station - BH19 1HB
Swanage Medical - BH19 1HB
Station App - BH19 1HB
Swanage Bus St
Swanage Pier - BH19 2AR
Swanage Hospital - BH19 2ES
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DB
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DJ
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DN
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DR
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DS
Rempstone Rd - BH19 1DW
Cranbourne Rd - BH19 1EA|
Gilbert Rd - BH19 1DU
Gilbert Rd - BH19 1DX
Station Rd - BH19 1AB
Station Rd - BH19 1AD
Station Rd - BH19 1AE
Station Rd - BH19 1AF
Mermond Pl - BH19 1DG
Kings Rd - BH19 1ER
Kings Rd - BH19 1ES
On the signpost you see that the right turn is for the seafront. Not always the case for
vehicles, because from May, for the season, that half of the seafront is shut of for the day with a
gate so it is totally traffic free all the way into the town.
As previously mentioned it has been suggested that all of Shore Road be
closed during the season.
||from Bakers Arms 14.5m 0.0m - to Swanage and the sea
Many local folk have to travel out of Purbeck to work, usually along the A351 rather than
through Studland and across the ferry. That route during the holidays is a story all on its own!
Let's suppose you live in the middle of Swanage and work in the middle of Bournemouth.
If you drive there via Wareham and Poole you do about 25 miles.
If you drive via the ferry you do about 13 miles.
Let's also suppose your car does 30 miles per gallon, and petrol costs £4.50 per gallon.
The 25 mile journey will cost you 25/30 x 4.50 = £3.75
The 13 mile journey will cost you 13/30 x 4.50 = £1.95
The ferry crossing will cost you £3.00 (2007-09), possibly increasing to £3.20
On pure face value the long route costs £3.75, the short route £4.95
Not surprisingly the long route introduces about twice as much traffic on a very slow road, this is of course
looking at it as traffic miles, not number of vehicles. There are few fast sections between Swanage and Bournemouth.
By the time you get into Bournemouth you have a journey time over an hour.
The short route has no fast sections. When you get to the ferry, and if you are lucky enough to get straight on to
it, by the time you have got off the other side you have added 20 minutes to your journey. By the time you have
meandered through the back roads of Poole and found your way to Bournemouth you have a journey time over an hour.
Neither of these examples of course takes into account the time of day. If its an early start, whichever way you
go you are mixing with everybody else going to work.
We need to clarify that most of the pictures on this page have been taken in one of the few windows of opportunity
in a day when there is a lull in the traffic.
Tourists are not early starters, by the time they have had there breakfast, and got their kit together, it can be
10 o/clock. By that time most workers are at work.
If you travel by the ferry, by 10 o/clock, the tourists are growing the queue, and you are liable to miss getting on the
first, or second ferry. This can be a very significant delay.
Now consider the end of the day. Let's suppose you pack up work at 5 o/clock and set out on the reverse journey.
You have the same folk doing the same thing as the morning, BUT, you now have the late starting tourists
returning mixed with you, because like you, it's time for them to get back for their teas and dinners.
Because of this the ferry is taking more traffic, which of course makes for a longer queue at Sandbanks. Naturally,
the long route users are having a slower journey as well.
Much has been made of the matter of depreciation of your car value. Well, it is a valid point, but no two types/makes
of cars are the same. It is rather more of a case of assessing how it works for your particular car. If your journey
to work is a significant part of your annual mileage, it becomes very important, and the ferry charge is a more
significant part of your annual driving cost. If a lot of your mileage is leisure and/or shopping, your
consideration can be very different, partly because the ferry charge becomes a less significant part of your annual
If you are somebody who likes to have a new car every two or so years, then your depreciation is massive, you probably
say goodbye to a couple of thousand as soon as you take the car out of the showroom. The likes of us who prefer a car
that is two or more years old, the depreciation is far less.
One is of course tempted to presume tourists are more likely to use the ferry because they are only doing it for two weeks
a year and it has a novelty value, compared to the worker who is using it forty-eight weeks a year and
doesn't find it a novelty.
Of all of this we are inclined to suggest there is no simple answer to short route or long route. Everybody should
make up their own mind and not be pressured by the few who think they know all the answers.
Much has also been made about the ferry charge itself. Apparently it is a lot more than others in the UK, although
there aren't many of them about to compare with, and no doubt their operating infrastructure is different.
Yes, it is a lot to travel a very short distance. We however are not privilege to the how the cost is made up, so unable
to make any judgement in that respect. We just know that for us personally, the longer/cheaper route is preferred.
(return to Wareham North)
|A351 Traffic Growth for the period 1983-2000.|
Figures derived from Dorset County Council Local Transport Plan 2001.
||Average Daily Flow
Here we lose traffic turning/stopping before and in Wareham, and west to Wool and beyond.|
Here we lose traffic turning/stopping before and in Corfe.|
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