The Beaulieu River of today is remarkable for several reasons, one being that it is one of the few privately owned rivers in the world.
It forms the south-eastern edge of the Beaulieu Estate, and the associated rights and obligations now exercised by Lord Montagu derive from those granted to the monks of Beaulieu Abbey by King John in 1204. The custodianship of the river by one family over four centuries has ensured that riverside development and the number of moorings have been carefully controlled.
The result is a river which is largely unspoilt, both in terms of its landscape and as a haven for wildlife.
The river has a 110 berth marina, over 300 moorings and a boat park with slipway and has recently been awarded the top rating of 5 Gold Anchors by The Yacht Harbour Association.
Approximately 7,500 yachts from the UK and overseas visit the river during the year; this includes the members of several eminent yacht clubs which hold meets on the river, notably the Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Cruising Club and the Royal Thames Yacht Club.
The river benefits from a double tide, and a secondary high water. The flood tide takes six hours coming in; then, after a gentle fall, there is a second high tide some two hours later followed by a period of slack water for about an hour. Then the ebb sets in, and low water is reached in just two and a half hours.
The navigation channel at the mouth of the river is defined with red and green piles and further upstream, branches of willow painted red and green known as ‘withies’ are used.
If your boat draws five feet, you can enter the river an hour and a half after low water springs.