The Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn, near Lyndhurst
|• location||Lyndhurst, Hampshire|
|Needs Ore Point, Hampshire|
|Length||20 km (12 mi)|
|• left||Beaulieu Abbey Stream|
|• right||Hatchet Stream|
The Beaulieu River (// (listen) BEW-lee), formerly known as the River Exe, is a small river draining much of the central New Forest in Hampshire, southern England. The river has many small upper branches and its farthest source is 8 miles (13 km) from its 4 miles (6 km)-long tidal estuary. Unusually, the river, including its bed, is owned by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.
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.
The Beaulieu River rises near Lyndhurst in the centre of the New Forest, a zone where copses and scattered trees interrupt the relatively neutral sandy heath soil, however with insufficient organic uneroded deposition over millennia to prevent an upper charismatic dendritic drainage basin of many very small streams. This explains the multitude of tiny headwaters across the New Forest. Many coalesce into the flow southeast and then south across the forest heaths to the village of Beaulieu. There the river becomes tidal and once drove a tide mill in the village. Below, the tidal river (estuary) continues to flow south-east through the Forest, passing the hamlet of Bucklers Hard and entering the Solent at Needs Ore. For its final kilometre, it is separated from The Solent by a raised salt marsh known as Gull Island.
Below Beaulieu village the river 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.
The river has two main tributaries, the Beaulieu Abbey Stream to the left and the Hatchet Stream to the right. In addition there are a series of artificial lakes near the mouth of the river, known as the Black Lagoons.
The water quality of the Beaulieu River was as follows in 2019:
|Beaulieu River||Good||Fail||Moderate||20.0 km (12.4 mi)||3.075 km2 (1.187 sq mi)||Heavily modified|
|Hatchet Stream||Moderate||Fail||Moderate||7.916 km (4.919 mi)||9.523 km2 (3.677 sq mi)||Heavily modified|
|Beaulieu Abbey Stream||Moderate||Fail||Moderate||2.535 km (1.575 mi)||2.253 km2 (0.870 sq mi)||Heavily modified|
|Black Lagoons||Good||Fail||Moderate||0.119 km2 (0.046 sq mi)||Artificial|
- Lewis, S. (1848) A Topographical Dictionary of England: Southampton County in British History Online
- Davison, Steve (2012). Walking in the New Forest: 30 Walks in the New Forest National Park. Cicerone Press Limited. p. 195. ISBN 9781849657075.
- "60 years in the New Forest". New Forest National Park Authority. Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
- "Beaulieu River". Catchment Data Explorer. Environment Agency.
- "Hatchet Stream". Catchment Data Explorer. Environment Agency.
- "Beaulieu Abbey Stream". Catchment Data Explorer. Environment Agency.
- "Black Lagoons". Catchment Data Explorer. Environment Agency.
- Gene Brown (1984) The New York Times Encyclopedia of Film: 1964-1968, ISBN 0812910532
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