Riverside walk re-opens for winter strolls with a treat at the end

December 12, 2023

The popular footpath from Buckler’s Hard to Beaulieu has re-opened with two riverside loops for walkers to enjoy stunning birdlife on the Beaulieu River.
The riverside walk had been closed for two years to allow time for the natural habitat to revive after constant use by walkers and cyclists, while nesting birds have also remained undisturbed.

Now two riverside loops have been created at either end of the 2.5 mile stretch, with an inland, woodland path joining both so that walkers can complete their journey. A more sensitive central area continues to be protected in order to safeguard the precious habitat, which provides a special area for breeding birds and feeding waders.

This is the way to celebrate the season! Call in for a bite with family and friends, then make the most of free access to Buckler’s Hard village with a winter walk along the riverside.

For stress-free shopping, you can even get Christmas gift inspiration at Buckler’s Hard Gift Shop from its selection of local artisan crafts and nautical themed keepsakes.

Borrow a lead

Dog lead boxes have been provided at both ends of the route so that dog owners can borrow a lead if they have forgotten their own. Keeping dogs on a lead is essential to preserve nesting sites in this important breeding area for birds.

Bird hide feeders

New feeders at the bird hide at Keeping Marsh will help walkers to spot inland birds, as well as some of the 125,000 wildfowl and wading birds which visit the Solent each winter.

The Beaulieu Estate’s coastline provides habitats for 50% of the Solent’s breeding pairs of ringed plover, as well as 40% of Hampshire’s breeding population of oystercatchers. The Beaulieu River and surrounding area form part of a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), providing habitats for more than 200 species of birdlife.

Spot on your way

Along the route, which forms part of the Solent Way, look out for:

  • The Duke’s Bath House, a thatched cottage built by George, Duke of Montagu for his son who suffered from arthritis – which can be booked as a holiday let.
  • The tall red brick chimney, which is part of the old estate brickworks built in 1790 at Bailey’s Hard. It last produced bricks in 1935 and is now a private residence.
  • Curtle Meadows, which was used as the backdrop for A Man For All Seasons in 1966 because the unspoilt river looked as the Thames may have done in the 16th century.

Download the route

Park at Buckler’s Hard, then walk down through the village to the river and turn left to follow the path towards the marina. Pass the thatched cottage and follow signs past the boatyard, bird hide at Keeping Marsh and Bailey’s Hard, before reaching Beaulieu village.

For the full route, download your map here.

For a preview, watch the video here.

Winter stroll with a treat at the end

Dip in to follow one of the loops for a winter stroll – or walk the whole path. Then treat yourself with a Hot Chocolate Orange winter warmer, topped with cream and marshmallows, Pumpkin Spice Latte or a sugar-free option with Gingerbread Latte and festive cake from the new winter menu at The Captain’s Table at Buckler’s Hard.

Buckler’s Hard village is now free to enter and will stay open for visitors throughout the winter this year. Dogs on a lead are welcome in the village and you can also take them inside Buckler’s Hard Museum.

Free entry to the harbourside village includes access to the Shipwright’s Cottage, St Mary’s Chapel and the Agamemnon Exhibition in the Shipwright’s Workshop, as well as the Master Builder’s House with its tasty pub menu.

A parking charge contributes to the upkeep of the historic village and tickets to Buckler’s Hard Museum are available at www.bucklershard.co.uk/plan-your-visit/tickets-prices/. For more details see www.bucklershard.co.uk or call 01590 616203.

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