Friday, August 26, 2011

NEW FOREST: Buckler’s Hard

New ForestAnother motorway morning – four and half hours southwards past Birmingham and Oxford to a village in the New Forest. This large enclosed area of forest and heathland is no more new now (900 years) than Paris’ Pont Neuf  is neuf (400 years). We drove through here last year after another Welsh expedition, certainly not anticipating a return to this area so quickly.

We’re hear to see my old friends Manny and Dan who I see infrequently in time and widely separated in space: Fiji and Atlanta Georgia being the previous locations. They’re visiting friends down here and because alternate accommodation in the area has dried up over the summer holiday period, I’m gratefully accepting their offer of a mattress behind the sofa to park my sleeping bag.

Munson dips in the Beaulieu River

DANGER Soft Mud No EntryWe found everyone enjoying sun and lunch, and Munson was introduced to Merlin the resident canine – so named for his blue merle coat. When it had cooled down late afternoon, most of us set off for a long walk along the estuary of the Beaulieu River leading down to the Solent – that’s the body of water on the sheltered side of the Isle of Wight. Two points of interest are

1. that the river is entirely privately owned by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu; and

2. Beaulieu does not have the expected French pronunciation Beau+lieu (beautiful place) but simply Bewley. Nearby Beaulieu Abbey was originally a monastery called Bellus Locus Regis (beautiful place of the King). It was a particularly powerful institution whose abbot reported directly to the Pope.

Riverside Walk to Beaulieu

We spent some time in the ship-building hamlet of Buckler’s Hard. Around these Georgian cottages many fine vessels were built that saw action at Trafalgar and it served as a base for craft taking part in the Normandy Invasion.

Dan, Manny, Merlin & Munson @ Buckler's Hard

Mike & Munson at Buckler's Hard


  1. Manny wants to know where's the account of the Aussie versus Cute Outdoor Bartendar tatoo comparison. Huh? A few more moments and he was going to show us everything....

  2. In truth I couldn't quite recall how the entire conversation went. This is what I remember:

    We're ordering drinks from an outside bar at Buckler's Hard. One of the bartenders has some nautical-looking tattoo on his elbow that I asked about, and then he peeled back various bits of his shirt to show the work in progress.

    IIRC He said he was going to add some more ?slot machine symbols? across his stomach. I asked if he was going to stand in the corner of a casino, and he said something rather embarrassing and turned bright red.