The first day of major roadworks coinciding with the closure of the Sandbanks Ferry for four weeks starts on Monday.

There will be a large diversion route in place for motorists travelling around Corfe Castle amid the five-week water main replacement project which begins on Monday, October 31.

Sandbanks Ferry is also going to be out of action for four weeks for its routine maintenance from Monday as well.

Here’s everything you need to know about where is open, closed and which diversion to take.

What’s happening with Sandbanks Ferry?

Ahead of undergoing a major refit, the last service will be on Sunday, October 30, before the vessel is towed to Falmouth on Monday, October 31, for a period of four weeks.

Operators have previously said they hope the service will be back by early December and an exact date will be released nearer to then.

Every two years, the chain ferry undergoes a refit, alternating between major and minor refits.

Bournemouth Echo:

What about the bus services?

The maintenance work also spells service changes for Morebus, which has altered its Purbeck Breezer route for the duration of the closure.

A Morebus spokesperson said: “Due to the closure of Sandbanks Ferry from the 31st October for five weeks, the Purbeck Breezer route and timetable will be changed during this time period.

“While this work is being carried out, we are splitting our Purbeck Breezer 50 into two separate routes. Routes X50 and 51.

“Route X50 will run two hourly through Studland, Swanage and Poole for connections to Sandbanks on route 60. It will run non-stop between Swanage & Poole, then non-stop to Westbourne then serving all stops to Bournemouth Square. It will do the same coming back.

“There will be no service between Studland, Heath Green Road and Shell Bay Ferry offices or between Bournemouth Square and Bournemouth Rail Station during the ferry closure.

“Customers wishing to travel between Bournemouth Square and Bournemouth Rail Station will need to connect at Bournemouth Square with an m1, 4, 5, 5a, 6, 6a, 13 or 17.

“Route 51, from Bournemouth to Sandbanks, will run hourly.”

Bournemouth Echo: The changes to Morebus servicesThe changes to Morebus services (Image: Morebus)

What’s the work near Corfe Castle?

Wessex Water is replacing a degrading water main near Corfe Castle to enhance water quality and cope with increasing demand. The £500,000 project will see a new pipe relocated to fields adjacent to the B3351 to minimise impact on the community.

Work will commence on October 31 – which is also the first day without the Sandbanks Ferry being in operation ahead of five-week refit repairs.

It is planned for a short section of the B3351 just north of Corfe Castle, near the entrance to Dorset Adventure Park, to be closed.

The scheme is expected to be completed by Friday, December 2, but Wessex Water said it would do everything it could to complete the work as quickly as possible.

Read more:

What’s happening with the traffic?

A signposted diversion route will be in place via the A351 and Ulwell Road in Swanage.

The total diversion route totals more than 12 miles.

For example, in order to access Corfe Castle from Studland motorists will need to bypass the B3351 New Road by turning left at Swanage Road onto Ulwell Road and then ultimately the A351 – travelling through Harman’s Cross.

Bournemouth Echo:

What else do we need to know?

Well, concerns have been voiced by Studland Parish Council about the closure.

Studland Parish Council say the closure of the B3351 Studland Road for water main works should be postponed until January to prevent the “double whammy” of having the key road and ferry shut at same time.

Nick Boulter, council chair, said: “[We] recognise the need for the road to be closed at some stage to allow the essential work to be conducted, but we have proposed on numerous occasions that this happens in early January – when the ferry is back in service.

Cllr Boulter added: “For some people having an illness, such as a stroke, [it] could be made fatal by the extra delays in responding.

Bournemouth Echo:

“We request that Wessex Water ensures that the emergency services can reach Studland residents in a comparable time to now – otherwise there may be real suffering to residents, even potentially deaths.

“We are greatly disappointed by the Wessex Water decision and ask them to reconsider, and to move the road closure to January.”

In a later update, they said: “The council is calling on the water company to move the date of the closure to January when the ferry is not closed; for emergency services to reach Studland “speedily” and for residents in the area to be compensated for the “extra costs involved in travelling longer distances”.

What have Wessex Water said?

“Following advice from Dorset Council, work has been timed to take place away from the busy summer holiday season and during a period in which the Sandbanks chain ferry is closed for maintenance so there’s less traffic passing through.

“We contacted parish councils in both Corfe Castle and Studland, as well as businesses and organisations directly affected, to advise them of the closure and no concerns were raised.

“We are happy to hear about any specific concerns and will look to see what we might be able to do to help.”

Are any businesses closed?


The Bankes Arms in Manor Road will close for two weeks from Monday, November 14, until Saturday 26 due to travel constraints brought on by the closure of the B3351 and the temporary cessation of the Sandbanks Ferry service.

Bournemouth Echo:

A spokesperson for the country inn said: “Just a heads up for next month when The Bankes Arms will be temporarily closing both the pub and hotel for two weeks.

“During this period, the Sandbanks Ferry is having its annual refurb and will not be running, and Wessex Water have decided that this is the best time to close the B3551 road to Corfe for major works.

“So, since we're going to be somewhat cut off from civilisation for a fortnight, we've decided to take some time out, draw breath and recharge.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused but will look forward to seeing you all again soon.”