'Unstable slopes' close main Melbury Abbas route

St Thomas' Church in Melbury Abbas Image copyright Miss Steel
Image caption Work to stabile loosened rocks below the St Thomas' Church will also be carried out

A main route through a Dorset village has been shut due to "unstable slopes".

Dorset County Council has shut Dinah's Hollow which runs through Melbury Abbas, near Shaftesbury.

The council said the soil and rock slopes, which line the road, were "sufficient to engulf a small vehicle" if a slip occurred.

Work will now be carried out to make the banks safe, the county council said. The work is expected to take months to complete.

'Protect safety'

The authority said rocks had also loosened below St Thomas's Church and work will be carried out to stabilise the area during the road closure.

A two-mile (3km) diversion, via the A350 Blandford to Shaftesbury road, is in place.

The council said it would monitor the effects of the extra traffic on the route and "make adjustments if needed".

Mike Harries, the authority's director of environment and economic development, said: "We appreciate the diversion is a long route and apologise for the inconvenience, but we have to protect the safety of drivers and other road users."

He said a report on the slopes was carried out in December, but due to heavy rain and storms over the winter, inspection teams had only just been able to return to normal duties.

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