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Lymington, Hampshire, England-2Oct2011.jpg
The Yacht Basin and the New Forest
Grid reference: SZ3295
Location: 50°45’0"N, 1°33’0"W
Population: 14,608
Post town: Lymington
Postcode: SO41
Dialling code: 01590
Local Government
Council: New Forest
New Forest West

Lymington is a port town on the south coast of Hampshire, standing on the west bank of the Lymington River as it opens into the Solent. To the west begins the conurbation formed around Bournmouth and Poole, but Lymington has so far resisted absorption. Across the Solent lies Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, also in Hampshire, to which Lymington is connected by a car ferry.

The town has a large tourist industry, based on proximity to the New Forest and the harbour. It is a major yachting centre with three marinas. According to the 2001 census the Lymington urban area had a population of about 14,000.


Cobbled streets in Lymington town centre

The earliest settlement in the Lymington area was around the Iron Age hill fort known today as Buckland Rings. The hill and ditches of this fort still remain, and an archaeological excavation of part of the Walls was carried out there in 1935. It has been dated to around the sixth century BC. There is also another supposed Iron Age site at nearby Ampress Hole. Evidence for later settlement (as opposed to occupation) however is sparse before Domesday.

Lymington itself began as an Anglo-Saxon village. It is believed that the village would have been calle d limentun, of which limen is from the Ancient British word reconstructed as *lemanos, meaning elm-tree.[1]

The town is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Lentune". About 1200 the lord of the manor, William de Redvers created the borough of New Lymington around the present quay and High Street whilst Old Lymington comprised the rest of the parish. He gave the town its first charter and the right to hold a market.[2] The town became a Parliamentary Borough in 1585 returning two MPs until 1832 when its electoral base was expanded. Lymington continued to return two MPs until the Second Reform Act of 1867 when its representation was reduced to one. On the passage of the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 Lymington's parliamentary representation was merged with the New Forest Division.

From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century Lymington was famous for making salt. Saltworks comprised almost a continuous belt along the coast toward Hurst Spit.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century Lymington possessed a military depot that included a number of foreign troops - mostly artillery but including several militia regiments. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars the King's German Legion was based here. As well as Germans and Dutch, there were French émigrés and French regiments[3] were raised to take part in the ill fated Quiberon Invasion of France (1795), from which few returned.

From the early nineteenth century Lymington had a thriving shipbuilding industry, particularly associated with Thomas Inman the builder of the schooner Alarm, which famously raced the American yacht America in 1851.[4] Much of the town centre is Victorian and Georgian, with narrow cobbled streets, giving an air of quaintness. The wealth of the town at the time is represented in its architecture.

Lymington particularly promotes stories about its smuggling history; there are unproven stories that under the High Street are smugglers' tunnels that run from the old inns to the town quay.

Lymington was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835. In addition to the original town, 1932 saw a major expansion of the borough, to add Milton and the parishes of Milford on Sea and Pennington, and parts of other parishes.

Lymington today

The High Street and Church

Many traditional areas of the town have been redeveloped; older houses have been demolished and replaced with new blocks of flats and retirement homes. Nevertheless, it remains a charming town.

In a Channel 5 programme, Lymington received the accolade of 'best town on the coast' (in front of Sandbanks) for living, due to its beautiful scenery, strong transport links and low crime levels.

Buckland and Lower Buckland

The northern neighbourhoods of the town are named Buckland and Lower Buckland, the latter adjoining the Lymington River. The poet Caroline Anne Bowles (1786–1854) was born at Buckland Manor and died at Buckland Cottage.[5]

Pennington and Upper Pennington

Pennington is a village now joined with Lymington, forming its south-western part and partly separated by its several schools with playing fields. Upper Pennington is the northern residential offshoot of Pennington, more rural in character, almost entirely surrounded by heath and farmland.


Lymington Yacht Basin and mudflats comprise the former docks area known as Waterford.


All Saints Church
Woodside is made up of a small southern triangle of residential roads, large gardens and cricket]] ground but includes a Manor House, a church-led community hall and All Saints, Lymington, built in 1909 by W H Romaine-Walker, architect of Danesfield House, Moreton Hall and the Tate Gallery extension and student of High Victorian architect George Edmund Street.


This is a coastal hamlet by a very small dock, salterns and estuary. This includes the buildings Normandy Garth, Little Normandy and Normandy Farm which backs onto De La Warr House, an imposing early nineteenth century listed building.

Sport and leisure amenities

The town's leisure amenities include several parks, a 9-hole golf course, a rowing club, a community centre, a library, the St Barbe Museum and Gallery, two swimming pools (one of which is Lymington Open Air Sea Water Baths built in 1833), a sports centre and a very small cinema/theatre. There is also a Skatepark (skateboards), several tennis courts and Youth Football pitches

Located near the New Forest, Lymington is also a good location for walking, cycling and riding.


Lymington is famous for its sailing history, and in recent years has been home to world famous regattas such as the Royal Lymington Cup, Etchells Worlds, Macnamara's Bowl, and Source Regatta. The strong tides make it a challenging race track, and together with the shallow depth of the river has resulted in Lymington losing a lot of regattas to the Central Solent, principally run from Cowes. Nevertheless, Thursday Evening Racing takes place with up to 100 boats registered to race every Thursday night during the summer, hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. Started in the 1990s, it has become increasingly popular.

There are two Sailing Clubs in the town, both active. The Royal Lymington Yacht Club, founded in the 1920s as the Lymington River Sailing Club, now has over 3000 members, and now plays host to major keelboat and dinghy events. The Lymington Town Sailing Club, founded in 1946, plays host to the popular Lymington Winter Series known as the Solent Circuit.


Lymington has a Non-League football club Lymington Town F.C., which plays at The Sports Ground.

Lymington in fiction

Lymington is mentioned in The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat. It also features in the historical novels of local writer Warwick Collins (namely The Rationalist and The Marriage of Souls) and The Forest by Edward Rutherfurd.

In Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, a Wightlink ferry heading from the Lymington ferry terminal is intercepted and a prisoner is extracted in heavy seas. Several men on board the ferry are murdered.

The 1980 Christmas special of the ITV children's show Worzel Gummidge was filmed in the town during the summer of that year. During filming a sudden wind blew the titanium dioxide that was being used as a replica of snow into homes, shops and businesses, causing damage and a large compensation bill for the producers, Southern Television.

Lymington was also occasionally featured in the 1980s BBC series Howard's Way.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Lymington)


  1. Coates, R 1993.The Place-Names of Hampshire. Ensign Southampton
  2. R.Bearman (ed.), Charters of the de Redvers Family and the Earldom of Devon,1090–1217. Exeter: Devonshire Records Society, 1994
  3. Huchet Patrick. 1795 - Quiberon, ou le destin de la France. Rennes: Ouest-France. 1995
  4. L B Mackinnon. Atlantic and Transatlantic: Sketches Afloat and Ashore. 1852
  5. ODNB entry: Retrieved 24 June 2012.