One thing anyone reading from the beginning will know is that I am a naval history buff.
So, to begin.
I’ve posted briefly about Bucklers Hard before, here! But, in summary? It’s a beautiful old shipbuilding village on the Beaulieu River. Quiet, serene, idyllic.
A number of famous ships were built here. Notably, the Agamemnon, captained by Nelson for around 3 years. She is known for being Nelson’s ‘favourite ship’ and saw service at Trafalgar as part of his weather column.
Also, among many other ships, built at Bucklers Hard were the ‘Surprise’ but not of Master and Commander fame and the Euryalus, which (albeit for a very brief time period) became the flagship of the fleet under Collingwood after Nelson’s death.
The Bucklers Hard Website tells us that
it became a shipyard because of its protected location, tidal access to the sea and the ready supply of timber from the Beaulieu Estate and the surrounding New Forest. It took up to 2,000 loads or 40 acres of 100 year old trees to make one 64 gun ship such as the Agamemnon.
The museum at Buckler’s Hard is of a reasonable size, with a number of model ships and artefacts salvaged from the vessels built there. Including some belonging to Nelson himself. Sorry, I had to get him in somehow 🙂
There’s also a very nautical gift shop. I spied some amazing Geoff Hunt prints, which I’ve had my eye on for a while. Unfortunately, what with climbing mountains, I don’t have a spare £275 right now!
The Riverside Walk
Heading out of the museum you wander down past the old workers cottages. ]
Now, if I could own any house it would be one of these.
The setting, the views, the history.
Unfortunately it won’t be happening in my lifetime, but I will share a photo so that we can all appreciate how adorable they are.
It’s approximately 2 and 1/4 miles each way.
You can’t miss the trail, it’s signposted for the entire length and you can either take the riverside walk, past the marina, Baileys Hard and through some of the same trees that stood when vessels such as the Agamemnon and Euryalus were built.
Or there is also another path which is flat, gravel lined and suitable for bicycles, but I’m a sucker for a scenic wander and a chance to look at yachts!
This route is a relatively easy walk.
For those who prefer more solid ground, as I said, there is the gravel track through the forest. For those who want to look at yachts and be surrounded by silence and water lapping below your feet, then the riverside walk is perfect.
Just make sure you wear reasonably sensible shoes (especially if it has been raining). There was one girl complaining about her stiletto boots.
I wish I was kidding, but unfortunately it seems to be the norm in the New Forest…
Also, be aware of the tides, the Beaulieu River is tidal and part of this walk can be very damp at times!
For those of you interested in visiting Bucklers Hard, it’s around ten minutes (if that) from Beaulieu and costs £6.50 per adult (prices here) or you can buy a season pass for £10 and visit as many times as you like.