Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Step Back in Time at Bucklers Hard

River Cruise Boat
On the Bank Holiday weekend of 3rd- 5th May, visitors to the normally peaceful village of Buckler’s Hard, on the banks of the Beaulieu River, will hear the musical sounds of axes and saws on wood, just how the village would have sounded 200 years ago when it was a thriving centre for shipbuilding where ships for Nelson’s Trafalgar fleet were built.

Visitors can watch as archaeology students from the University of Southampton get hands-on experience of using tools and shipbuilding techniques from the 18th and 19th centuries, converting oak timbers from the Beaulieu Estate, into the main components of the framework of a ship, discovering the challenges faced by shipbuilders of the time, and how they overcame them.

Living History Guides will be on hand to tell visitors what life was like, living and working in the village during its shipbuilding years.  See how the humble labourer’s cottage and the shipwright’s cottage across the road would have looked in the early 1800s and in the New Inn, hear residents from the time, gossiping about local matters.

Learning Shipwright skills

The Maritime Museum reveals the story of this unique village and the ships that were built here for more than a hundred years. In its more recent history, Buckler’s Hard and the Beaulieu River played an important role during WWII. Sections of the ‘Mulberry Harbour’ were made here, and hundreds of craft sailed from the Beaulieu River in the D-Day landings.

The Beaulieu River was believed to be a major landing point for smuggled goods from the late 18th century, with the cottage that is now a chapel, a centre of operations.  A viewing window in the floor beside the altar reveals the cellar below, probably used as a store for smuggled

Following the Woodland Walk, children can learn how the local timber at Buckler’s Hard was used to construct ships in the 18th & 19th centuries and the whole family can enjoy a tranquil River Cruise*, which transports you on a journey along the river with a commentary revealing the history of the Beaulieu River and the abundant wildlife that inhabits its riverbanks.

Follow the fun family quiz trail around the village, with a daily prize to be won.

Buckler’s Hard is a place for relaxation, as well as exploration. The Captain’s Cabin Tea Rooms serves a range of light refreshments and drinks throughout the day, including a delicious Towey cream tea, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Towey, the last Naval Ship to be built at Buckler’s Hard, in 1814.

Buckler’s Hard is open every day from 10am. For more information visit

* Separate charges apply

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