A man has died after his car left the road and ended up in dense woodland some 30 metres from the carriageway.

An investigation has been launched by Dorset Police following the tragic incident off the A35 near Charmouth.

The car was discovered in the area near Wood Farm Caravan Park, Dorset Police said.

The A35 between Charmouth and Bridport was closed for several hours and was not reopended until early today.

It is not clear when exactly the crash happened as the vehicle was obscured by trees.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "At 6.05pm on Thursday Dorset Police received a report from a member of the public that a car had been discovered concealed in dense woodland about 30 meters away from the A35.

"Sadly, the driver of the car – a Hampshire man in his 60s – had died.

"At this time it is not clear how long the vehicle has been at the location as it was completely obscured from the road."

The spokesman added: "The man’s next of kin have been informed and the coroner notified.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious, but an investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.

"The A35 was closed in both directions to enable emergence services to deal with the incident."

The air ambulance was reported to have been at the scene last night.

The road was closed between A3052 (Charmouth turning) and the Crown roundabout in Bridport.

A diversion was in place.

Highways England said eastbound traffic approaching from Devon was being diverted at Axminster up the A358 to Chard, the A30 to Crewkerne then the A356 towards Misterton then onto the A3066 southbound to Bridport.

Westbound traffic was diverted following the reverse route.

For traffic approaching the closure locally, drivers had to consider an alternative route, allow time for their journeys and follow guidance from on-road variable message signs.

The road reopened about 1am.

Further east, a separate crash occurred on the A35 Dorchester bypass last night and the road was closed.

The incident in Dorchester happened on the bypass and the road was closed between the Football Ground Roundabout and the A352 junction.