THE Sandbanks Ferry service has resumed at the entrance of Poole Harbour.

Daily crossings between Studland and Sandbanks recommenced yesterday afternoon following six weeks of service suspension.

A spokesman for the Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company said: “We are pleased to announce the trials on the ferry have been completed successfully.”

The Bramble Bush Bay returned to Poole earlier in the week, but engineers still had to carry out vital work putting the vessel through its paces.

It will run as usual, every 20 minutes, from 7am-11pm, over the festive period, apart from Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day there will be a half-hourly service from 8am until 6.10pm, when the final crossing takes place from Studland back to Sandbanks.

The ferry was tugged to a Southampton dry dock at the beginning of November for a scheduled five-week maintenance programme.

It was meant to return to Poole Harbour last week but this biennial repaint and refit overran.

Ferry bosses say the refit can only take place in the autumn, as summer is the service’s busiest time and stormy winter seas can hamper the five-hour crossing to and from Southampton.

Drivers have been forced to take a lengthy detour around Poole’s Holes Bay Road and endure roadworks along the busy A35 during the ferry’s absence.

A ferry spokesman said: “We have now opened a Facebook page which will also be updated if we have any breaks in service or other important information that our customers need to know.”