Serving the Poole and Bournemouth areas


+++  Shamrock Buses ceased trading on 6th July 2011  +++

Please note - this is a site of historical record and does not contain current service information

Based originally at a workshop unit and depot on an industrial park in the Newtown district of Poole in Dorset, Shamrock Buses was formed in 2002 primarily to operate contract and schools services. The operation of their buses was intended as a valuable contribution to the maintenance and restoration of the museum fleet of the BPTA (Bournemouth Passenger Transport Association), first established some forty years ago. Perhaps reflected in the company name Dorset Heritage Transport Services Ltd, trading as Shamrock Buses.

This museum fleet comprised some twenty five vehicles having connections with the area - both trolleybuses and motor buses - and had been built up over the years through the enthusiasm and dedication of local people like Keith Baynton, the Shamrock Buses manager. Several previous operating entities have run on local roads at various times in support of the museum venture, including the famed Routemaster Bournemouth buses of the mid-1990s. 

There were at autumn 2007 thirty five buses in the orange and cream liveried Shamrock fleet - a livery which recalls the famous Bournemouth coach operator Shamrock & Rambler of years gone by, with their programme of tours and excursions and an express service to London. By April 2011 the Shamrock fleet size was 39. The majority of the fleet were seventy to eighty-seater Olympian double deckers, whilst others included the only single deckers in the then current fleet,  four Dennis Darts. 

Sadly we report that Shamrock Buses ceased trading on 6th July 2011 following financial difficulties and loss of tendered work. The museum fleet has been dispersed with some vehicles going to WHOTT (West Country Historic Omnibus & Transport Trust) at Winkleigh in Devon. Some other ex-Bournemouth vehicles are with Yellow Buses Devon.

Shamrock Olympian

Shamrock Buses dual-door Olympian waiting at Poole for the next departure on service 32.

Over twenty daily school runs were operated in an area stretching from Wimborne to Verwood and New Milton.  Operations were based on a depot at Holton Heath, between Poole and Wareham.  There were also free supermarket buses for Tesco. These were the main Shamrock public bus routes:

Christchurch via Broadway, Southbourne and Pokesdown to Boscombe Bus Station
(introduced in March 2007 running Christchurch to Bournemouth Hospital and Castlepoint; diverted via Southbourne Broadway 23rd July 2007; extended to Christchurch Hospital from 29th September 2007; revised to route above from 14th April 2009.  Further revision from 26th October 2009, omitting Pokesdown and running via Wentworth and Beechwood Avenues instead. Passed to Wilts & Dorset from 7th July 2011)

Poole via Broadstone, Merley and Kinson to Castlepoint and Bournemouth Hospital
(introduced in September 2006, replacing Roadliner of Poole, and extended eastwards from Merley to Castlepoint and Bournemouth Hospital. Operation passed to Wilts & Dorset from 1st May 2011, and combined with route 22 below)

Westbourne via Glenferness Avenue, Winton and Charminster to Castlepoint
(introduced on 23rd July 2007, replacing withdrawn Transdev Yellow Buses route 29. Operation reverted to Yellow Buses from May 2010)

Throop via Castlepoint and Queens Park to Boscombe
(introduced on 26th May 2008 to replace Yellow Buses; extended to Boscombe Pier from 20th August.  Passed to Wilts & Dorset from 7th July 2011)

Two Olympians parked in Bourne Avenue

Two Shamrock Olympians parked in Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth (December 2007).   Photo HF
Boscombe to Boscombe Pier circular
(summer only open top service, started 30th June 2007, ran during July and August only. Reintroduced 1st June 2008 between Boscombe Pier and Pokesdown, runs until 29th August 2008. Service was provided by Shoreline Travel for summer 2009).

2 / 22

Kinson via Redhill Drive and Ensbury Park to Bournemouth Square and Triangle
(introduced from 14th January 2008, after withdrawal of Wilts &  Dorset services 134 and 135; extended from Kinson to  Holloway Avenue and Poole Lane 15th October 2008. From 28th September 2009 renumbered 22 and diverted via Slades Farm, to replace Yellow Buses route 25. Operation passed to Wilts & Dorset from 1st May 2011 and combined with route 32 above)

C1 / C2
River Way - Hospital - Christchurch - Mudeford - Somerford Sainsburys - Highcliffe Castle - Woodhayes Avenue circular
(started on 25th May 2009, previously run by Wilts & Dorset; replaced by Shamrock route 111 from 26th July 2010, covering similar routes as the C1 / C2 but extended to serve Hurn and Highcliffe as well. Operation passed to Yellow Buses from 7th July 2011).

From  29th August 2009 Shamrock took over the operation of the Rossmore Flyer route 8 in Parkstone, following the demise of previous operator Roadliner.  Linking Alderney and Rossmore, Penn Hill and Spur Hill, to the Upper Parkstone shopping area. Continuing a long tradition of independent operation along Rossmore Road which started back in the 1920s.   Change again from 1st April 2010 when the  Rossmore Flyer passed from Shamrock to Dolphin Coaches of Wimborne.
Nowadays in 2017 provided by Damory Coaches as their routes 7a and 7b.

First day of Shamrock Buses on Rossmore route

Upper Parkstone: Shamrock Dart on first day of operating the Rossmore route.     Photo HF

March 2010, a few days before Shamrock Buses passed the Rossmore Bus baton to Dolphin Coaches. This picture by Henry Frier
finds their Olympian F85MJH approaching the Upper Parkstone end of Albert Road, nearing the end of its journey, and
coincidentally passing the end of the road (Spring Gardens) where I lived for many years.

Shamrock in Albert Road, March 2010

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Routemaster to Shamrock - the intervening years