Beaulieu River

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For other uses, see Beaulieu.
Beaulieu River
Beaulieu river at longwater lawn.jpg
The Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn, near Lyndhurst
Country England
Region Hampshire
District New Forest
 - location Lyndhurst, Hampshire
 - location Needs Oar Point, Hampshire
Length 20 km (12 mi)

The Beaulieu River /ˈbjuːli/, 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 through the Forest, passing the village of Bucklers Hard and entering the sea through 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 and 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]


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

The earlier name, "Exe", is Brythonic, deriving from an original Ancient British word '*Iska', which is also at the root of other Exe and Esk river-names in England, and also the Usk in Wales (Wysg in Welsh). Its root meaning may be "fish" or "fish-place", as it seems to be cognate with the Latin "pisces" and Greek ιχθύς "ichthus", as well as English "fish".

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. 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