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Buckler's Hard and the Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum

Buckler's Hard

Buckler's Hard - a charming watercolour by E.W. Haslehurst (1866-1949)
Buckler's Hard - a charming watercolour by
E.W. Haslehurst (1866-1949)

Located alongside the Beaulieu River, close to the end of its journey from Lyndhurst to The Solent, the charming, historic ship building hamlet of Buckler's Hard is situated 3.25 kilometres (2 miles), or so, south-east of Beaulieu.

There, twin rows of picturesque red brick cottages face each other across a wide, grassy corridor, little hinting at the significant part that they once played in Britain's heroic sea-faring past.

Originally conceived in the first half of the 18th century by John, second Duke of Montagu, as Montagu Town, a settlement and docks intended for use for ship building and refining sugar, it is for the former that Buckler's Hard was to become best known. (The Duke apparently lost access to his principal source of sugar on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent).

Ship building, though, became an extremely successful enterprise and between 1753 and 1809 no fewer than forty-three warships were constructed and launched at Buckler's Hard, including notable vessels for use by Horatio Nelson's navy.

Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum

Today, the Buckler's Hard Maritime Museum and Buckler's Hard Story provide a fascinating insight into the history of the village and its ship building past, whilst the re-created interior of a shipwright's cottage demonstrates living arrangements in those far off days.

Lots more to do

Those in need of refreshment will welcome the presence of a tea room and a pub - the latter, the Master Builder’s House Hotel, offers a choice of food, drink and accommodation. Visitors who wish to further sample the nautical life can take a trip on the river, whilst others might simply prefer to enjoy woodland or riverside walks.

Directions to Buckler's Hard

To reach Buckler's Hard, the energetic with time to spare can enjoy a pleasant walk from Beaulieu village along a section of the Solent Way. (1 - from Beaulieu High Street, turn right, past the Montagu Arms Hotel; 2 - after a short distance, before the road bridge / causeway over the river is reached, turn right and continue along a service road that passes the village fire station, bends to the right and passes the rear of the hotel; 3 - follow the service road until it gives way to a narrower path; 4 - follow this path all the way to Buckler's Hard - there are a number of minor route options along the way, but none that should cause undue confusion: simply continue broadly parallel to, or follow beside, the river).

Others might prefer to drive along country lanes to Buckler's Hard. (1 - leave the village heading south along the High Street - travelling away from the Montagu Arms Hotel; 2 - turn left at the first 'T' junction; 3 - after a short distance, take the first turn on the left; 4 - go left at the first fork in the road; 5) ignore a further road to the right and continue on until Buckler's Hard is reached).

(Zoom in on the Beaulieu section of the New Forest map for a larger scale view of the routes).

References:
A Guide to the New Forest: Heywood Sumner

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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%.
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley