27th May: Gilbury Hard

At the time of the first Ordnance Survey in about 1811, Exbury village was still mainly at what is now Lower Exbury.  What we now know as Exbury was marked on the map as Gilbury.  William Mitford moved the village at about that time with the new Church opened in 1827. When Lionel de Rothschild was developing Exbury Gardens, having bought the Estate from the Mitford family, Gilbury Lane was a problem.  It bisected the gardens, and led down to some land and houses which he did not own.  The solution was the construction of the Exbury Bridge.

I was curious about this public road leading down through Exbury Gardens to the Beaulieu River and had once driven down it.  However it is single track and at the river the fencing around Exbury Hard and jetty does not leave space for parking.  I decided it would be best to park in the Exbury Gardens’ car park (I am a member after all), and walk down Gilbury Lane.

Having gone to Lepe early on Saturday the 27th May to see the start of the Myth of Malham race, I was not due on watch until noon.  It seemed a good opportunity to explore Gilbury Lane so I drove over to Exbury.

With Exbury Gardens on either side, the lane was itself quite atmospheric.  The small group of houses comprising Gilbury Hard are clearly well to do.  At the end of the lane a public footpath, which is clearly used, runs a short distance by the River to a gate leading to Gilbury jetty.  There are views down the river and across to Buckler’s Hard.  A thoughtful touch was that the wire fence was lowered at the end of the public path so as not to obstruct these views.