WORK on the £2million redevelopment of a marina in the New Forest will start next month.

Over the next two winters, Buckler's Hard Yacht Harbour on the Beaulieu River will be reconfigured and extended in order to improve its facilities.

The project will be carried out in two off-season phases. The first phase will start in October and those behind the works say it will offer improved facilities and a greater number of more convenient walk-ashore berths by March.

The second phase will begin next autumn, and will see an extra 66 berths and additional large moorings by March 2020. The total number of moorings will rise to 264.

Since opening in 1971 and one subsequent extension, the yacht harbour has remained largely unaltered.

The new plans have been approved by the Marine Management Organisation and New Forest National Park Authority.

Beaulieu Enterprises Managing Director Russell Bowman said: “We are looking forward to starting work on this exciting redevelopment which will offer greater choice and accessibility in the future, while keeping a similar look and feel to the existing yacht harbour.

“We recognise that the Beaulieu River is a very special place and are committed to undertaking the project in a sensitive and sustainable way. Its unique character remains of paramount importance to us.”

Beaulieu River has been under the ownership of the Montagu family for over four centuries and is one of the few privately owned rivers in the world.

The Beaulieu Estate is working with agencies including Natural England and the Environment Agency to continue to protect its unique habitats and species.

Specialist marina consultancy Marina Projects, based in Gosport, has been appointed to help oversee the project and the work will be carried out by Fareham-based Walcon Marine.

Buckler’s Hard Yacht Harbour was recently awarded The Yacht Harbour Association’s coveted Coastal Marina of the Year (for under 250 berths) trophy.

Round the World race winner Mike Golding OBE recently opened its five-star facilities after a further investment.