|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||6.7 miles (10.8 km)|
|Meets:||A348, A341, A3060, A3049, A338|
|Old route now:||A341|
|Route outline (key)|
The A347 used to be the main route into Bournemouth from the north and east, but has long been superseded by the A338 route (which previously went to Christchurch not Bournemouth). Today the A347 is purely a busy local road, that follows a rather zig-zag course through the north of Bournemouth.
Ferndown - Bournemouth
The A347 starts at a traffic-light junction with the A348 in the centre of Ferndown and heads south through the suburbs on a road called "New Road", although it dates from around 1910. Crossing the B3093 Wimborne to Christchurch road at Parley Cross, the road then crosses the River Stour floodplain and over the river on Ensbury bridge, entering into Bournemouth.
After the river is Northbourne roundabout and the junction with the A341. The road here turns south-easterly for half a mile, before turning right (now south-westerly) at Redhill Roundabout, with the straight on route being the A3060. Running down through Redhill Park, the road comes to Ensbury Park area and runs around a gyratory system before carrying on down Boundary Road.
At the next roundabout, the A347 turns left (back to south-easterly) and multiplexes with the A3049, which comes in from the right. On the other side of the roundabout is Bournemouth University, which is actually in Poole as the Poole-Bournemouth boundary runs along the A3049 before turning south at this roundabout. The university felt that it would be better thought of as "Bournemouth University" rather than "Poole University" or "Dorset University".
After a short distance, another roundabout and the A3049 heads off to the left and the road carries on down to the traffic-light-controlled "Cemetery Junction", with Bournemouth Cemetery dominating one corner. The junction is built over the mainline railway here and was infamous as the first location in Dorset to get GATSOs. The A347 turns right to head southward, whilst the straight route becomes the B3064 and the B3063 heads off to the left. After half a mile, the road terminates on the grade-separated junction with the A338 “Wessex Way”.
So the A347, in theory the original route into Bournemouth, but today just a busy local road. With all those changes of direction, it was never a particularly good route because Bournemouth was a relative late comer to the area and the road network was already in place when a main road into the town was required. The A347 therefore took over bits of other roads, which is why it zigzags over all the place.
The A347 originally started in Merley on the A349, running along what is now the A341. The road was rerouted to Ferndown in the 1930s when Bournemouth started growing big enough to warrant a more direct link northwards. It took over "New Road" which had been built in 1910 to connect Bournemouth northwards, but whilst there was no physical change to the road when it was renumbered in the 1930s, it obviously wasn't important enough in 1923 to get classified as an A road then (although it was the B3072).
In the 1980s, the Winton & Moordown relief road scheme rerouted the road around the Winton and Moordown areas (and through the Ensbury Park area), with various bits of new route and reclassified roads. After the Northborne roundabout, a new formation built slightly north of the old road, with the old road, called "Wimborne Road", left as an access road. Redhill roundabout was also built as part of the relief road scheme - the A347 used to carry on for another quarter of a mile before turning right to run through Moordown and Winton as again "Wimborne Road". The road was re-routed along along Redhill Avenue, running through Redhill Park, which was unclassified before, but was classified as the A347 without any improvements necessary. The Ensbury Park one-way system was built using old roads without having to knock down any properties. After the one-way system, the A347 is a new build, although it used an old track called Boundary road for most of its length. At Boundary roundabout, the A347 took over part of Talbot Avenue from the A3049, and reclassified the rest from a previously unclassified road, again without any improvements. At the next roundabout, the old A347 Wimborne Road comes in from the left, marking the end of the relief road scheme.
The large, grade-separated junction with the A338 "Wessex Way" was built in the late 1970s. Prior to that, the A347 continued down Richmond Hill, to finish on the A35 in the centre of Bournemouth. As that area is all pedestrianised now, and only half a mile away, the A347 has not lost much.