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South East Dorset conurbation: Map


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Shown within Dorset: the towns of Poole (yellow), Bournemouth (blue) and Christchurch (red) form the main centres of the conurbation, which also spreads into East Dorset (grey) to the north and the New Forest district of Hampshire (not shown) to the east.

The South east Dorset conurbation (also known as the South Dorset conurbation, Poole-Bournemouth urban area and Bournemouth urban area) is a multi-centred conurbation on the south coast of Dorsetmarker in Englandmarker. The area is rapidly becoming an amalgamation with the area of South West Hampshire immediately on the fringe of the newly formed New Forest National Park. The main population centres are Bournemouthmarker, Poolemarker and Christchurchmarker however, the urbanised area spreads as far east as Barton on Seamarker in Hampshire. There are a number of satellite towns peripheral to these main urban centres. In clockwise rotation these include: Warehammarker, Uptonmarker/Lytchett Minstermarker, Wimbornemarker, Ferndownmarker, Verwoodmarker, Ringwoodmarker (Hampshire) and New Miltonmarker (Hampshire). The urban area is generally surrounded by a Green Belt.

The 2001 census gave a population of 383,713 for the conurbation, defined by the Office for National Statistics as the Bournemouth Urban Area, and divides into five parts: Bournemouth, Burton, Christchurch, New Milton/Barton on Sea, and Poole. The equivalent population according to the 1991 census was 358,321. The South West England Regional Development Agency and the Highways Agency, which maintain's England's trunk roads, define a larger South East Dorset Conurbation, with over 400,000 people. The term has also been applied to the Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch boroughs, excluding the surrounding towns, for example, in their recent Joint Local Transport Plan.

Nearby places

There are a number of nearby towns and villages that are only separated from the conurbation by narrow gaps. These include


The conurbation is served by a number of main roads. The M27 motorway, which feeds the M3 to London, ends on the eastern edge of the New Forest near Southamptonmarker, but extends west as the A31 trunk road. The A31 serves as a bypass for the conurbation, north of Poole and Bournemouth but south of many of the satellite towns, and is dual carriageway for most of its length. To the west the A31 merges with the A35 at Bere Regismarker where they continue west to Dorchestermarker and Exetermarker. The A35 runs through the centres of the main towns in the conurbation. The A338 is the main arterial route in Bournemouth, running as a dual carriageway from Bournemouth town centre to the A31, and as a single carriageway north to Salisburymarker. The A350 is Poole town centre's main artery, running north along Holes Bay to the A35, and as a single carriageway to Bathmarker and Bristolmarker. The A337 runs east to Lymington and the New Forest.

The conurbation is served by the South Western Main Line which runs from Londonmarker to Weymouthmarker via Winchestermarker, Southamptonmarker and Dorchestermarker. There are stations at New Miltonmarker, Hinton Admiralmarker, Christchurchmarker, Pokesdownmarker, Bournemouthmarker, Branksomemarker, Parkstonemarker, Poolemarker, Hamworthymarker and Holton Heathmarker. The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway to Bath had its southern terminus here, until its closure in the Beeching Axe.

Bournemouth Airportmarker is the conurbations closest airport and lies 5 miles north of the town centre. The airport is currently undertaking a £45million redevelopment and serves over 50 destinations worldwide; Ryanair, Thomson Airways and Palmair operate frequent services. The Bournemouth Airport Shuttle Bus serves the airport from Bournemouth Square.


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