Marina Projects complete a £2 million-pound reconfiguration & extension of Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour

Marina Projects Limited, a UK based marina consultancy business has overseen a £2 million reconfiguration and extension of Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour on the Beaulieu River, located in the heart of the New Forest National Park. The redevelopment of the facility has been designed and project managed by Marina Projects to introduce notable improvements at one of the most iconic marinas on the south coast.

Arial Beaulieu River

The Beaulieu River has been in the private custodianship of the Montagu family for over four centuries and one of the few privately owned rivers in the world and is the subject of extensive local, national and international environmental designations.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour was first opened in 1971 and has remained largely unchanged since 1980. The nature of vessels and demands of boat owners has changed significantly since the introduction of the marina and the ageing life of the pontoon equipment and the need for either replacement or refurbishment provided an opportunity to consider the most appropriate design solution for present & future demand.

Delivered over two consecutive winter phases, the new marina responds to existing & future market demand and brings a modern approach to berthing arrangements that include an increased number of larger & wider berths, increased provision of convenient walk-ashore pontoons and improved customer services & facilities. Notwithstanding the requirement to cater for the demands of the modern recreational boating customer, it was imperative to the client that the character and charm which makes Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour so unique was preserved.

Bucklers Hard Pontoons

During the initial stages of the commission, Marina Projects provided a broad range of specialist marina consultancy advice to include research analysis of the local & wider market, a detailed review of the site constraints, development of concept design options and the development of the business and funding case. Due to the sensitive environmental setting of Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour and the complex consent regime that exists, a detailed consent & approval strategy was required that considered the interaction between river users and designated habitats along the river to introduce a net benefit in disturbance and a positive ecological impact. Subsequently, Marina Projects successfully secured Planning Permission and a Marine Licence for delivering the associated works.

The redevelopment for the marina has been undertaken in a sustainable manner and where possible, existing marina equipment has been refurbished and reused to maintain the character of the location. Notably, the reuse of Greenheart timber piles has been a cornerstone to this initiative, reusing the piles in their original form where possible or using a section of the existing timber to create a new ‘hybrid’ pile which utilised a lower steel encasement for the below-water-line section. This approach offered an environmentally sympathetic approach to the design and helps to maintain the overall look and feel of the marina. Likewise, a significant proportion of pontoons were refurbished and reused as part of the project.

The improvements include 66 new marina berths, including larger berths to suit vessels up to 18m, as well as upgraded electrical services, improved WiFi and a new dedicated visitor area.

To ensure the redevelopment of Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour was delivered in accordance with the client’s vision & requirements, Marina Projects managed & coordinated the procurement and contract negotiations with the selected Contractors, before acting as the client’s representative for the Project Management & Contract Administration from award through to completion. Specialist UK Contractors Walcon Marine completed the redevelopment works, having carried out the original build some 40 years ago.

Beaulieu River

Beaulieu Enterprises’ Managing Director Russell Bowman said: “Marina Projects have diligently managed the project from start to finish and the results speak for themselves. Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour is without question one of the prime marina locations in the Solent and I am pleased that we are in a position to provide a high-quality berthing product to our customers for years to come. Buckler’s Hard is a special place for all who visit and the new marina will improve the experience for everyone while maintaining the natural beauty and character which makes it so unique”.

Commenting on the project, Mike Ward, Managing Director of Marina Projects said “Having been involved in this project since its inception, it is extremely pleasing to see the redevelopment of the marina complete. This project is especially rewarding, not least because of the iconic location, but the challenges that the project team have had to navigate and overcome through the COVID 19 pandemic. I would especially like to extend our thanks to Walcon Marine, Rolec Services & ML Dredging UK for their committed work during these challenging times.

Harbour Master Wendy Stowe said: “Our new facilities are truly market leading and we are very much looking forward to welcoming our berth holders and visitors back to the marina to enjoy over the forthcoming boating season. Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year so having the redevelopment completed to coincide with this important milestone makes this an extra special celebration.”