banner

DORCHESTER

The county town of Dorset was served over the years by many independent bus operators



Immortalised by Thomas Hardy as Casterbridge, the county town of Dorset has been for many years the centre of a vigorous radial network of bus routes.  Falling between the spheres of influence of two of the 'network' companies (Hants & Dorset and Southern National) this was fertile ground for the independent bus operator.  Thus many of the routes around Dorchester were formerly operated by an enterprising range of smallish operators, many with their origins dating back to the early carriers.  Their number was to decrease following the 1939-45 war as a larger independent company, Bere Regis and District Motor Services, began to meld a comprehensive interurban network of services from earlier village-to-town market and shopping services.  The Council Yard in Trinity Street was the focus of many of the services, and it was especially busy on Wednesday and Saturday market days. As the years went by towards the 21st century there was further contraction in the numbers of operating companies, until today most services are in the hands of First Southern National based in Weymouth and Yeovil and / or Wilts & Dorset based in Poole (as successor to the old Hants & Dorset company).  The following eight listings serve to illustrate the developments and changes of the independent operators over the years, from 1930 to 2001.

 

List of independent operators serving Dorchester in 1930

Many of the villages in the list were served by two operators at this time - but vehicles were very small and typically might have less than 20 seats.

     Operator     Village served     Days of operation
  G  Goult   East Chaldon   Wednesday and Saturday
  J  Ironside   Winfrith Newburgh   Wednesday and Saturday
  T H  Coleman   Winfrith Newburgh   Wednesday and Saturday
  W  Chaffey   West Lulworth   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Bishop   Broadmayne   Wednesday and Saturday
  N  Russell   Broadmayne   Daily except Sunday
  E J  Bale   Hurst   Wednesday and Saturday
  P  Brake   Moreton   Wednesday and Saturday
  Davis and Son  (of Bloxworth)   Poole - Bere Regis - Dorchester service   Daily except Sunday
  R W  Toop   Bere Regis   Wednesday
  J  Laws   Briantspuddle   Wednesday and Saturday
  S  Loveless   Tolpuddle   Monday Wednesday and Saturday
  G  Caundle   Puddletown   Daily except Thursday
  L  Sprackling   Milton Abbas and Winterbourne Stickland   Tuesday Wednesday and Friday
  R J  Vacher   Winterbourne Stickland   Wednesday
  S  Harmer   Milton Abbas   Monday and Saturday
  L  Cutler   Dewlish   Monday Wednesday and Saturday
  A  House   Hilton   Daily except Thursday
  Mrs B  Coombes   Hazelbury Bryan   Wednesday and Saturday
  G  Lugg   Hazelbury Bryan   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Trim   Marnhull   Wednesday
  J E  Pickett   Buckland Newton   Daily except Thursday
  C E  Jeanes   Henley   Daily except Thursday
  H  Hawker   Piddletrenthide   Daily except Thursday
  W H  Charles   Leigh   Wednesday
  F  Thorne   Cerne Abbas   Daily except Sunday
  W H  Yearsley   Cerne Abbas   Daily except Sunday
  J  Crabb   Sydling St Nicholas   Wednesday and Saturday
  F  Terrell   Sydling St Nicholas   Wednesday and Saturday
  F  Legg   Evershot   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Pearce   Cattistock   Wednesday and Saturday
  B  Cox   Frampton   Daily except Sunday
  A  Pitcher   Litton Cheney   Wednesday and Saturday
  E  Markey   Winterbourne Abbas   Monday Wednesday and Saturday
  C H  Ralph   Martinstown   Wednesday and Saturday
  R  Deacon   Dorchester town service   Dail
This is a link to a copy of a poster with list of times and routes - it was published by the Dorchester and District Carriers Association in 1932 - and it's a large file so allow time for it to download!

List of independent operators serving Dorchester in 1939

Already the number of operators is declining from the 1930 listing above but there are still a few villages with two operators.  Bere Regis and District have been on the scene for a few years now, but have yet to start on their trail of acquisitions.

    Operator     Route     Days of operation
  P G  Webb   East Chaldon - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  N  Russell   East Knighton - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  E J  Bale   Hurst - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  P  Brake   Moreton - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  R W  Toop,  W J  Ironside and  P W  Davis

   (Bere Regis and District Motor Services)

  Bere Regis - Dorchester

  Winterbourne Zelstone - Dorchester

  Winfrith Newburgh - Dorchester

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  J  Laws   Briantspuddle - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  G  Caundle   Puddletown - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday
  L  Sprackling   Milton Abbas - Dorchester   Tuesday Wednesday and Friday
  S  Harmer   Milton Abbas - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday and Sunday
  L  Cutler   Dewlish - Dorchester   Monday Wednesday and Saturday
  A  House   Hilton - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday and Sunday
  Mrs B H  Coombes   Hazelbury Bryan - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  G  Lugg   Hazelbury Bryan - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Trim   Marnhull - Dorchester   Wednesday
  J E  Pickett   Buckland Newton - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday and Sunday
  C E  Jeanes   Dorchester - Henley   Daily except Thursday and Sunday
  H  Hawker   Piddletrenthide - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday and Sunday
  F  Thorne   Cerne Abbas - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday
  Mrs E E  Yearsley   Minterne Magna - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday
  J  Crabb   Sydling St Nicholas - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  F  Terrell   Sydling St Nicholas - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  F  Legg   Evershot - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Pearce & Co.   Cattistock - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  Mrs  Platt   Frampton - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday
  J  Willcox   Litton Cheney - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  A J  Pitcher   Swyre - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  E  Markey   Little Bredy - Dorchester   Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday
  C  Dean   Chickerell - Dorchester   Wednesday

List of independent operators serving Dorchester in 1948

Now the number of operators has declined, many businesses having been bought by Bere Regis and District in the years since 1939.

    Operator     Route     Days of operation
  P G  Webb   West Lulworth - Chaldon - Winfrith - D'ster   Wednesday and Saturday
  B  Stone   Dewlish - Dorchester   Monday Wednesday and Saturday
  A  House   Hilton - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday
  J  Crabb   Sydling St Nicholas - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Lovell   Sydling St Nicholas - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  F  Legg & Sons   Evershot - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  Pearce & Co.   Cattistock - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday
  R W  Toop,  W J  Ironside and  P W  Davis

   (Bere Regis and District Motor Services)

 

  

  Bere Regis - Dorchester  (route 1A)

  Winterbourne Zelstone - Dorchester  (3)

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne  (4)

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Yeovil  (5)

  Dorchester - Sturminster Newton  (6/7)

  Dorchester - Sherborne Market  (8)

  Dorchester - Bridport  (route 9)

  D'ster - Little Bredy - Compton Valence  (10)

  Dorchester - Frampton  (route 11)

  Dorchester - East Knighton  (route 12)

  Dorchester - Bovington Camp  (13)

  Dorchester - Moreton - Hurst  (14)

  Dorchester - Came  (route 15)

  Hazelbury Bryan - Dorchester  (route 23)

  Winterbourne Whitechurch - Dorchester  (26)

  Puddletown - Dorchester  (route 28)

  Marnhull - Dorchester  (route 31)

  

  

  Daily

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Daily

  Daily

  Daily except Sunday

  Thursday

  Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Daily except Sunday  (C/Valence Wed only)

  Daily except Thursday and Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Monday and Thursday

  Daily except Monday and Thursday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Daily

  Daily except Sunday

  Wednesday and Saturday

 


List of independent operators serving Dorchester in 1958

The number has of operators has gone down again and there are changes since 1948: Pearce has absorbed Legg, Crabb and Lovell and House has absorbed Stone.  Bere Regis have simplified some of their route structure.

    Operator     Route     Days of operation
  P G  Webb   West Lulworth - Chaldon - Winfrith - D'ster   Wednesday and Saturday
  A  House   Hilton - Dorchester   Daily except Thursday
  A  Pearce & Co.   Yeovil - Evershot - Cattistock - Dorchester

  feeder Toller - Maiden Newton - (D'ster)

  Up Sydling - Syd. St Nicholas - Dorchester

  Monday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  R W  Toop,  W J  Ironside and  P W  Davis

   (Bere Regis and District Motor Services)

  

  Bere Regis - Dorchester  (route 1A)

  Winterbourne Zelstone - Dorchester  (3)

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne  (4)

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Yeovil  (5)

  Dorchester - Sturminster Newton  (6/7)

  Dorchester - Bridport  (route 9)

  Dorchester - Little Bredy  (10)

  Dorchester - Frampton  (route 11)

  Dorchester - East Knighton  (route 12)

  Dorchester - Bovington Camp  (13)

  Dorchester - Moreton - Hurst  (14)

  Dorchester - Came  (route 15)

  Marnhull - Dorchester  (now route 26)

  D'ster - Milton Abbas - Blandford  (29)

 

  Daily except Sunday

  Wednesday

  Daily

  Daily

  Daily except Sunday

  Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Daily except Sunday

  Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Daily except Sunday

  Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Tuesday Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Daily except Sunda



List of independent operators serving Dorchester in 1978

The number of providers has increased again - and there are some new names (and routes).

    Operator     Route     Days of operation
  Brutonian Bus Company   Bruton - Stalbridge - Dorchester   Wednesday
  Mid Dorset Coaches  (House of Hilton)   Hilton - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday
  Shaftesbury & District Motor Services   Shaftesbury - Gillingham - Woolland - D'ster

  Shaftesbury - G'ham - Wint.Stickland - D'ster

  Wednesday (alternate weeks)

  Wednesday (alternate weeks)

  Dorset Queen Coaches  (Webb of Chaldon)   West Lulworth - Chaldon - Winfrith - D'ster

  Coombe Keynes - Lulworth - Dorchester

  Daily except Sunday

  Friday

  A  Pearce & Co. Ltd.  Yeovil - Evershot - Cattistock - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday

  (including Sydling service on Wed and Sat)

  Bere Regis & District Motor Services

  (the executors of R W  Toop, deceased)

  

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Duntish

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Hazelbury Bryan

  Dorchester - Bovington Camp

  Dorchester - Hurst

  Marnhull - Dorchester

  Dorchester - Came

  Dorchester - Little Bredy - Swyre

  Milborne Port - Dorchester - Weymouth

  Marnhull - Dorchester - Weymouth

  

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Daily except Sunday

  Summer only "beach service"

  Summer only "beach service"



List of independent operators serving Dorchester in summer 1985

This table is for the last year before bus deregulation in 1986 - and the changes that would bring.  It is also the last year before Bere Regis pulled back from many of the routes it had served over the years.  Their trunk route from Dorchester to Sherborne was to pass to an unusually named operator for a while, Air Camelot of Wincanton.   Only one new operator in this table, the short-lived Stanbridge service from Wimborne.

   Operator     Route     Days of operation
  Barrys Coaches Ltd.  (of Weymouth)   Wyke Regis - Abbotsbury - Dorchester

  Littlemoor - Osmington - Dorchester

  Dorchester town services ("Interbus")

  Bovington - Wool - Winfrith - Dorchester

  Wednesday

  Wednesday

  Weekdays

  Weekdays  (joint with Dorset Queen)

  

  Bere Regis & District Motor Services

  (the executors of R W  Toop, deceased)

 

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Duntish

  Dorchester - Piddle Valley - Hazelbury Bryan

  Dorchester - Bovington Camp

  Dorchester - Hurst

  Marnhull - Dorchester

  Dorchester - Little Bredy - Swyre

  Milborne Port - Dorchester - Weymouth

  Marnhull - Dorchester - Weymouth

  Sturminster Newton - D'ster - Weymouth

 

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Wednesday Friday and Saturday

  Summer only "beach service"

  Summer only "beach service"

  Summer only "beach service"

  Brutonian Bus Company   Bruton - Stalbridge - Dorchester   Wednesday
  Dorset Queen Coaches  (Webb of Chaldon)   West Lulworth - Chaldon - Winfrith - D'ster

  Coombe Keynes - Lulworth - Dorchester

  Wool-Dorchester (joint with Barrys Coaches)

  Daily except Sunday

  Friday

  Monday to Thursday

  Mid Dorset Coaches  (House of Hilton)   Hilton - Dorchester   Daily except Sunday
  A  Pearce & Co. Ltd.  

  Yeovil - Evershot - Cattistock - Dorchester

  Dorchester - Batcombe - Sherborne

  (Bridport) - Maiden Newton - Dorchester 

  Daily except Sunday

  (including Sydling service on Wed and Sat)

  Thursday

  Connections on weekdays

  Shaftesbury & District Motor Services   Shaftesbury - Gillingham - Woolland - D'ster

  Shaftesbury - G'ham - Wint.Stickland - D'ster

  Wednesday (alternate weeks)

  Wednesday (alternate weeks)

  Stanbridge & Crichel Bus Company   Wimborne - Broadstone - Dorchester   Wednesday


List of independent operators serving Dorchester in winter 1993/94

The last year before Bere Regis would split into two companies.  A few changes too since the last list, with Oakfield Travel of Blandford now a substantial player in the Dorchester area (but this was short-lived).  Of the 'traditional' operators Pearce has gone, as has also House of Hilton.

    Operator     Route     Days of operation
  Barrys Coaches Ltd.  (of Weymouth)   Wyke Regis - Abbotsbury - Dorchester

  Littlemoor - Osmington - Dorchester

  Weymouth - Dorchester

  

  Wednesday

  Wednesday

  Monday to Friday (one journey each way)

 

  

  Bere Regis & District Motor Services

  (the executors of R W  Toop, deceased)

 

   Dorchester-Wool- Bovington (101/102/103)

   Dorchester-Tincleton-Woodsford  (104)

   West Bay/Portland-D'ster-Bournemouth

   Dorchester town service  (125)

  

  Weekdays

  Wednesday

  Thursday

  Monday to Friday

  Comfy Lux Travel (Yeovil)   Wincanton - Stalbridge - Dorchester

  Beaminster - Cattistock - Dorchester (212)

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne (216)

  Wednesday

  Wednesday

  Friday

  Wakes Services Ltd (of Wincanton)   Mere - Wincanton - Pulham - Dorchester

  Wincanton - Marnhull - Dorchester (109)

  First Wednesday of month

  Wednesday

  Oakfield Travel (of Blandford)   D'ster-Piddle Valley-Stur. Newton (107/108)

  Marnhull - Stur. Newton - D'ster (109)

  Dorchester - Cerne Abbas - Sherborne (216)

  Weekdays

  Wednesday and Saturday

  Weekdays

  Dorset Queen Coaches  (Webb of Chaldon)   

  Coombe Keynes-Lulworth-Winfrith - D'ster

  

  

  Wednesday and Friday

  

  Blandford Bus Company   Blandford - Hilton - Dorchester (111)   Daily except Sunday
  Shaftesbury & District Motor Services   Shaftesbury - G'ham - Wint.Stickland - D'ster   Wednesday


List of independent operators serving Dorchester in summer 2001

Now at the start of the 21st century, there are changes again, and none of the names from the 1948 and 1958 lists appear, and only one from 1978.  In this last list, Royal Mail and Damory Coaches are included as "independents" but the latter is a subsidiary company of Wilts & Dorset, but separately operated.

   Operator     Route     Days of operation
  Barrys Coaches Ltd.  (of Weymouth)   Wyke Regis - Abbotsbury - Dorchester

  Littlemoor - Osmington - Dorchester

  Wool - Lulworth - Winfrith - Dorchester

  Wednesday and Friday

  Wednesday

  Wednesday  (ex-Dorset Queen)

  Coach House Travel  (of Dorchester)   Dorchester - Charminster - Forston

  Dorchester town service - Manor Park

  Daily except Sunday

  Wed and Sat (First S'thn N'tnl other days)

  Damory Coaches  (of Blandford)   B'fd - S.Newton -  Piddle Valley - D'ster

  B'fd - Milton Abbas - Hilton - Dorchester

  D'str - Milton Abbas - Wimborne - Poole

  D'str - Duntish - S.Newton - Blandford

  Daily except Sunday

  Daily except Sunday

  Friday

  Monday

  Linco Travel  (of Marnhull)   Marnhull - Dorchester - Weymouth   Summer only "beach service"
  Mike Halford  (of Bridport)   Bridport - Swyre - Little Bredy - Dorchester   Wednesday and Friday
  Royal Mail Postbus   Dorchester - Askerswell - Bridport   Daily except Sunday
  Shaftesbury & District Motor Services   Shaftesbury - G'ham - Wint.Stickland - D'ster   Wednesday
  Wakes Services Ltd.  (of Wincanton)   Wincanton - Marnhull - Dorchester   Wednesday and Saturday



The one service not mentioned in the tables above is the long standing service which ran between Dorchester and Herrison Hospital, extended in later years to Forston Clinic.  This has run continuously since at least the early 1930s, as the then Dorset Mental Hospital was listed as holding a Road Service Licence for the route at that time.  In later years the service was run by the West Dorset Health Authority, seemingly exempt from road service licencing (!) and then by the West Dorset Community Health NHS  Trust.  The hospital lies just north of the village of Charminster, and in recent years - since 24th October 1994 until September 2011 - it was operated as a normally registered route hourly by Coach House Travel of Dorchester. Following the run-down of the hospital (the NHS left Herrison in 1992) there has been substantial development of housing in the old hospital grounds, the area is now known as Charlton Down and has a population of some 1400 people.

So the wheel turns full circle, but somehow todays operations do not seem to hold the charm and interest of the services run by the `traditional' private operators of yesteryear ..............


(with grateful acknowledgement to Roger Grimley and the late Ryan Carpenter for many of the earlier details)

DORSET (RURAL)
DORSET (URBAN)
SOMERSET
WILTSHIRE
HAMPSHIRE
FAROE ISLANDS
NORMANDIE
ISLE OF SKYE
LINKS
LINCOLNSHIRE