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Buckland (Lymington)

Conservation Area

Buckland This is an area containing highly visible evidence of the relationship between social history and landscape over a long time span. Partly covered by trees planted since the 18th century are the impressive remains of the Iron Age hill fort of Buckland Rings. This Scheduled Ancient Monument forms the centrepiece of a conservation area to the west of Southampton Road stretching from Passford Farm (Grade II) to the Toll House Inn and including the 16th century manor house (Grade II). The beauty of the Rings is that they are still unspoilt and peaceful, full of rabbits, birds and other wildlife. The woodlands provide wonderful walks and as well as a place for local children to have adventures. Since 1989 the area enclosing Buckland Rings has been in the care and ownership of Hampshire County Council and it is now open to visitors on foot.

The hill fort was a focal point for the development of communication routes north-south and east-west. The lowest crossing point of Lymington River was at Boldre bridge until the 1730s so the manor was relatively prosperous until then. In 1858 the railway line following the valley of Passford Water just north of the hill fort was completed. At first the hill fort would have been very prominent, all trees would have been cleared from around about to give clear lines of vision in case of attack. Today the combination of tree cover and large open areas formed by the fields within the hill fort and immediately to the south contribute to the visual quality of the landscape. Close by, to the east of the conservation area, are the remains of another earthwork, Ampress Hole, beside the junction of Passford Water and Lymington River. The significance and relationship of this with Buckland Rings is not yet fully understood.

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These are key features in the conservation area:

  • Buckland Rings is a multivallate hill fort dating from the Iron Age period - 4th century BC to 1st century AD - early historians thought it was Roman. It has well preserved triple banks and double ditches but it may have started out with a single bank and ditch system. This type of site is rare in lowland areas and as such is the best preserved and most important in the Hampshire/Dorset basin. The east side which contained the entrance was partly ploughed up in the mid 18th century and in the present century two houses were built inside the west end near where the outer bank has been lost along Sway Road.
  • Records going back to the 13th century show that sometimes the manor was all under one owner and sometimes split into two. The core of the manor house probably dates from the ownership of John Button in the reign of Elizabeth I. His family lived there for four generations. The Hearth Tax of 1673 shows that it was the biggest house in Old Lymington with 19 hearths.
  • The avenue of limes leading from Southampton Road to the front of the Manor House are shown on early Ordnance Survey maps along the side of the driveway that has existed since at least the middle of the 18th century. The fields either side of the drive are important reminders of the original parkland setting of the manor.
  • Southampton Road and Lower Buckland Road (opposite the toll house) were turnpiked following an Act of Parliament in 1765. The old toll house has a recorded history from 1795 when the toll keeper was called James Stanley. The toll house was last occupied in 1952. The Buckland Trust was set up to focus attention on the historic worth of Buckland and the Iron Age hill fort. With the help of grants the building was turned into a museum with exhibitions explaining the history and archaeology of the area.

These are some of the things that make Buckland special - they need to be looked after:

  • History
    The road pattern which was already firmly established by the 17th century
  • Buildings
    Buckland Manor - possibly late 16th century with 18th century frontage and Victorian additions
    The farm group includes some unlisted 18th century brick cottages
    Passford Farm - 17th century timber frame with brick infill, of two bays and two storeys, with a thatched roof
    The old toll house (Grade II) - a small 18th century brick and tile hung house
    The Toll House Inn - an 18th century brick and tiled roof inn
  • Archaeology
    The Iron Age hill fort is a Scheduled Ancient Monument
    The fields surrounding the hill fort also contain much of archaeological interest, large quantities of medieval pottery have already been found
    The manor complex has a long history of habitation and may contain evidence of earlier settlement
  • Landscape/Townscape
    The avenue of lime trees
    The woodland cover of the banks and ditches is mainly of oak, beech, sycamore and birch with an underlayer of bracken and blackberry
  • Setting
    The view of the hill fort from the south
    The view from the centre of Buckland Rings east across the valley towards Vicars Hill
Updated: 1 May 2015
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