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Character, history and location - a 'beautiful place'

Beaulieu: Palace House and the mill pool
Beaulieu: Palace House and the mill pool

Beaulieu is located on the south-eastern edge of the New Forest, 12 kilometres (7½ miles) from Lyndhurst, and well lives up to Beaulieu Abbey’s original Anglo-Norman, Latinised name Bellus Locus Regis, ‘the beautiful place of the king’.

Beaulieu has, in fact, a strong claim to be amongst the most attractive, most pleasantly situated, most historically interesting of all the New Forest villages.

Beaulieu - first impressions

Visitors entering Beaulieu from an easterly direction – from Hythe and the A326 – pass first on the left, the picturesque Beaulieu River, whilst Beaulieu’s 13th century parish church can be seen on the right, set well back from the road. The Beaulieu Abbey Outer Gatehouse, a structure dating back to the 14th century, is also on the right, beside the road as it bends left to enter the village; and beyond the gatehouse, again on the right, is Palace House, an imposing building that is the home of Lord and Lady Montagu.

Those coming into Beaulieu from the opposite direction - from Brockenhurst, Lymington or Lyndhurst – are likely to first notice the large, reed-fringed tidal mill pool that dominates the north-western edge of the village. This was created in medieval times by Beaulieu Abbey monks who built a dam to provide water power to drive their corn mill.

Beaulieu Mill

Now owned by the Beaulieu Estate, the mill is one of a small number of relatively intact tide mills that survive in Britain. It is unlikely, though, that it will ever be returned to full working order.

Beaulieu Mill
Beaulieu Mill

Beaulieu - the village street

Beaulieu’s narrow village street, High Street, is lined on either side by brick-built properties dating mostly from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Shops are relatively few in number – this is a village of modest size – and include a post office and general store, delicatessen, garden centre, hair and nail studio, tea rooms and a picture gallery featuring original works and limited edition prints of local and other subjects.

The Montagu Arms Hotel dominates Beaulieu’s main through route. Described as a luxury country house hotel, it provides accommodation as well as featuring a popular restaurant and bar.

Beaulieu - wanderers along the way

Ponies and donkeys graze Beaulieu mill pool’s grassy borders, others wander the High Street, whilst yet more loiter around the village car park, waiting hopefully to be fed by passers-by.

Cattle can also often be seen nearby, roaming free, enjoying access to the village and surrounding common lands.

Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House

Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House and the National Motor Museum collectively offer the opportunity to walk around what remains of the Cistercian Abbey ruins and learn about the life of the monks; explore the historic stately home and gardens; view the extensive collection of motor cars and motoring memorabilia, and enjoy a variety of rides and drives.

Buckler's Hard

The tiny hamlet of Buckler's Hard is nearby. Situated amidst delightful scenery alongside the Beaulieu River, Buckler’s Hard allows visitors to experience and learn about life in an 18th century ship-building village, cruise on the river and enjoy woodland and riverside walks. The Master Builder’s House Hotel offers a choice of food, drink and accommodation, and there is also a tea room present.

Beaulieu places to stay

Bed and breakfast facilities are available within Beaulieu village and in a number of outlying properties. The nearest 'Camping in the Forest' campsites are at Roundhill, 8 kilometres (5 miles) away on the Brockenhurst road; and at Denny Wood and Matley Wood, 9.5 kilometres (6 miles) distant on the road leading from Beaulieu to Lyndhurst.

Hampshire Place Names: Richard Coates
The New Forest: Jack Hargreaves and Terry Heathcote
An Album of Old Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard: Susan Tomkins

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New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies in the road
New Forest ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but in 2015, 55 were killed on the roads.
Always take care when driving
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
November 2017
Friday, 10th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film night - The Sense of an Ending (15), 7.00pm - 10.30pm.
Saturday, 25th - Burley Village Hall, Christmas Bazaar, 2.00pm.
Saturday, 14th October to Sunday, 14th January - New Forest Centre - Lyndhurst, Special Exhibition: From the Charter of the Forest to the Present Day, 10.00am - 3.30pm. Free entry.

December 2017
Friday, 1st - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Brockenhurst 50+ Keep Fit Club, Annual Barn Dance, 7.30pm - 11.00pm. Contact Keith on 01590 622275 for tickets.
Saturday, 9th and 16th, Sunday, 10th and 17th - Exbury Gardens, Christmas Postal Express, 10.00am - 4.00pm. Train ride - £6 per person which includes entry to the gardens. No pre-booking so make sure you arrive early. Gardens open subject to weather permitting.
For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley