Beaulieu River

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Beaulieu River
Beaulieu river at longwater lawn.jpg
The Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn, near Lyndhurst
DistrictNew Forest
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationLyndhurst, Hampshire
 ⁃ location
Needs Oar Point, Hampshire
Length20 km (12 mi)

The Beaulieu River (/ˈbjuːli/ (About this soundlisten) BEW-lee), formerly known as the River Exe,[1] is a small river flowing through the New Forest in the county of Hampshire in southern England. The river is some 12 miles (19 km) long, of which the last 4 miles (6 km) are tidal. Unusually, the entire river, including its bed, is owned by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.

The Beaulieu River rises near Lyndhurst (SU295090) in the centre of the New Forest, and flows east and then south across the forest heaths to the village of Beaulieu. At Beaulieu the river becomes tidal and once drove a tide mill in the village. Below Beaulieu the tidal river continues to flow south-east through the Forest, passing the village of Bucklers Hard and entering the sea at the Solent (SZ4397).

The tidal river below Beaulieu village is navigable to small craft. Bucklers Hard was once a significant shipbuilding centre, building many wooden sailing ships, both merchant and naval, including Nelson's Agamemnon.

Since 2000 the navigable channel at the entrance to the river has been marked by a lighthouse known as the Millennium Lighthouse or the Beaulieu River Beacon.[2][3]

For its final kilometre, it is separated from The Solent by a raised area of salt marsh known as Gull Island.


The current name "Beaulieu" is French, meaning "beautiful place".

The original name, "Exe", is Brythonic, deriving from the Ancient British word *Iska meaning "fishes" or "fish-place" and cognate with the modern Welsh word Pysg (fishes).This derivation applies to many similarly named rivers throughout Britain including the Axe, Exe and Usk, with the names evolving local distinctions over the centuries.

Film appearances[edit]

The river was used as a backdrop for some scenes of the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons – the tree-lined waters were used to portray the 16th century River Thames.[4]



  1. ^ Lewis, S. (1848) A Topographical Dictionary of England: Southampton County in British History Online
  2. ^ Davison, Steve (2012). Walking in the New Forest: 30 Walks in the New Forest National Park. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 195. ISBN 9781849657075.
  3. ^ "60 years in the New Forest". New Forest National Park Authority. Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. ^ Gene Brown (1984) The New York Times Encyclopedia of Film: 1964-1968, ISBN 0812910532

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°46′N 1°24′W / 50.767°N 1.400°W / 50.767; -1.400