Linking with last weeks Black Route outlining the bike/ train links in my area, todays post illustrates another super West-East ride that misses out the motormess and takes in the best. Lets jump off the train at Hamworthy on the western end of the Bay, here there are some of the farthest reaches of the Poole Harbour the second biggest inland harbour in the world (after Sydney) to explore, Hamworthy common and the beach, youll also see some of the more obscure islands in the bay, and over to Arne and the superb Purbeck hills area. On the bike you’ve also got this Dark Blue Route choice, which goes to Westbourne in a generally Eastern direction. Leaving front of the station from the Poole-London bound platform and dropping down the hill you can drop through Goathorn close and exit finding the A350. Crossing the road under the railway bridge, either head right around the newly opened 2017 route alongwaterside to join Hole Bay or head straight ahead into Upton Country Park and a wide trail. Youre now on an offroad route to Poole, used by tons of people for the Park, the Council owned historic house and café. Theres lots to do for families and is also one of Wessex Orienteering Club Permanent courses, you can download a map to explore the courses with here. The photo here shows an area the route passes which was cleared of masses of Rhododendrons in 2015 which is Grove Wood and contains some play equipment, super place.
Reaching the concreted entrance road you turn right at the end back onto the dirt, rather than heading left towards the A35 underpass and Castleman Trailway route to Broadstone, my Grey Route detailed elsewhere, follow on and the trail brings you alongside the Holes bay next to Pergins Island. There are wooden bridges and it snakes around between the trees to join an offroad concrete track. Many people run, walk and bike this as one of their favourites in the area with the superb bird life and wintering flocks of waders, ducks and geese. Recommended. In around 5 Kilometres or 15 minutes riding you arrive next to Poole station and town centre. Poole has one of the biggest out of town supermarkets built right in the town, I cant pretend it’s a town centre made for cycling so making youre way over to the Dolphin Leisure centre is sometimes more pleasant to walk for 5 minutes and re-mount, otherwise negotiate underneath the station underpass finding Kingland rd to its end by the Poole Park Lake. Directionally here alongside the railway is the best way to reach the Sandbanks road first passing underneath train tracks. This following 6.8 km section to Westbourne is covered from Dolphin Leisure centre on the Strava link here. Takes about 20 minutes to Westbourne.
Im concentrating next on the signed Sustrans route 25 which is available all year, provided to compensate for the seafront cycle ban during July/ August. Heading along the Sandbanks road which has a marked cycle route surface, you turn off to signed again route marked for Westbourne. Turning into Elgin road follow the signs through residential areas, without tracks painted on the ground, these roads are wide enough to enjoy along with the forested canopy. After hard days working in summer this area really rewards with trips to and from the beach, real treat destination away from the queues on Sandbanks at the peak of summer holidays. Have mentioned previously that this area reminds me of previous trips to San Diego, fantastic pine forests and luxury plots for houses, in Summer youll see what I mean. Crossing the main Canford Cliffs road and heading up some up slight hills to Wilderton road west, the choice here is to Branksome Station along a short section of Lindsay road, or turn to Westbourne a short distance away. Many people regard Westbourne as the best area of Bournemouth to live, have to agree as I live here and benefit from a strong independent shopping destination with great restaurants, café culture and a growing nightlife. Enjoy youre riding.