June Walks Giveaway: Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard, Hampshire

June Walks Giveaway: Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard, Hampshire

This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Hampshire & the New Forest Pub Walks'.

📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!


Distance: 4.5 miles


This route follows the tidal Beaulieu River as it snakes between Beaulieu and the 18th-century village of Buckler’s Hard, taking you through shady woods and over boardwalks, with stunning views across the water. Both villages are well worth exploring and are very popular with visitors to the New Forest. Beaulieu dates back to the 13th century, and was built around the abbey, founded in 1204 by Cistercian monks. Buckler’s Hard was once a major shipbuilding village, and is now preserved with the opportunity to visit cottages and see exactly what life was like in the time of Nelson.

RECOMMENDED PUB (in case you’re reading this in the future, when pubs are open again) 

MONTY’S is the very classy bar of The Montagu Arms, in Beaulieu. It serves locally sourced, delicious food and local ale from the Ringwood brewery. montaguarmshotel.co.uk.

Alternatively, halfway round the walk is The Yachtsman’s Bar of The Master  Builder’s House Hotel, by the river at the end of Buckler’s Hard village. The view is stunning, with table service from their Breton-clad shipmates. They serve food all day with the menu ranging from salad and light meals to fish and chips. hillbrookehotels.co.uk/the-master-builders 


South-east from Lyndhurst, follow the B3056 into Beaulieu. Turn left onto Palace Lane and the car park is signed on the right, by the Village Hall. Sat nav: SO42 7YA.

Parking: Park in Beaulieu pay and display car park, walk out of the car park and turn right to get to Monty’s and the start of the walk.

Map: OS Explorer OL22 New Forest. Grid ref: SU387022


1. Starting outside Monty’s, walk a few metres along Palace Lane and next to The Montagu Arms Hotel turn right down Fire Station Lane, following the sign for the Solent Way. Pass the hotel car park and stay on the wide gravel path until you come to a wooden gate. Go through the gate then walk between houses on a gravel track, then by grassland and reed beds, with the woodland giving you occasional shade on a sunny day. Pass Bailey’s Hard and an information board and continue along the Solent Way.

2. When you come to a sign for the riverside walk, turn left to follow boardwalks by the salt marshes. The river is a designated National Nature Reserve and this shady stretch gives you fantastic views across the saltings and creeks. You join the main path again and turn left to walk through Burnt Oak Copse, where the oak trees date from the early 19th century. Follow the sign to Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour and maritime museum.

3. At a small road, cross over and follow the footpath to Buckler’s Hard, passing Beaulieu River Boatyard and Duke’s Bath House, a small thatched cottage built by the Duke of Montagu in 1760 for his son who suffered from arthritis.

4. Buckler’s Hard has a row of houses on both sides leading down to the river. Turn right and walk up the path, passing the Yachtsman’s Bar on your right. Then, at the top, turn left and pass the shop and café (this is where you can pay the entrance fee to visit the museum).

5. Walk through the car park and just as you come to the road, turn right through a kissing gate to walk back through Buckler’s Hard. Turn left at the bottom and retrace your steps back along the Solent Way. When you come to the riverside walk option, go straight on to walk by the side of Keeping Copse.

6. When you get to the edge of the village, go through a gate to follow the footpath signed to the village. This leads you out onto the High Street, with the village shop opposite you. Turn right to return to Monty’s.


Although you can walk through the 18th-century Buckler’s Hard, where the ships for Nelson’s navy were once built, to visit the workers’ cottages with their displays depicting life in the 18th century, St Mary’s Chapel and the maritime museum, you need to pay the entrance fee. Dogs are welcome on a lead in the grounds only. The village is open daily and it is well worth spending some time there to explore. bucklershard.co.uk

The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu has everything from F1 cars to Del Boy’s Reliant and the ‘flying’ Ford Anglia from Harry Potter. Once you’ve finished with the cars, there are also the grounds and gardens of Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey to explore. See their website for more details, prices and opening times. beaulieu.co.uk

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  • Alex Batho
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