PART of a busy road through the New Forest was closed for several hours yesterday after a level crossing developed a fault.

The barriers at the crossing beside Brockenhurst railway station locked in the down position, preventing motorists on the A337 from driving through the village.

Motorists were diverted through Beaulieu, forcing them to take a long detour via Hatchet Pond.

The fault triggered an automatic failsafe response, which resulted in the barriers coming down to prevent motorists from driving across the track, but it took engineers several hours to trace the defect.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We’d like to apologise to motorists and thank them for their patience.”