10 things you didn’t know about Marchwood

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 April 2020

Marchwood - Village Life Illustration: Lucy Atkinson

Marchwood - Village Life Illustration: Lucy Atkinson

Archant

Discover the military port with a proud history of sacrifice, football and wild celery.

DON’T FORGET THE CELERY

Tucked between the New Forest and the River Test, Marchwood’s history dates back to Roman times. Coins dating from the era were found at Bury Farm – unsurprising since a Roman military road once passed through it. Its name is thought to come from the completely unpronounceable old English word merecewudu, meaning ‘smallage wood’. Smallage is Olde Englishe for wild celery, which was believed to flourish there.

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SOMETHING TO EAT AND DRINK

If you like your pubs traditional then you’ll love the Pilgrim Inn, a thatched pub and hotel in Marchwood’s Hythe Road. A Fuller’s hostelry, they serve food all day including a selection of dishes for brunch including London Porter smoked salmon and American pancakes with Mrs Owton’s bacon. For yet more breakfasts in the traditional Full English manner, try KJ’s Café on North Road in Marchwood’s Industrial Park.

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A MILITARY PORT

Around 229,000 rounds of ammunition and 127,000lbs of cordite were blown up at Marchwood’s gunpowder magazines in June 1940, seriously damaging local cottages. The facility is remembered in the name Magazine Lane. Mulberry Harbours for the D-Day landings were constructed at the Royal Navy Ordnance Depot and the village is home to the 17th Port and Maritime Regiment, part of the Royal Logistics Corps.

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INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE

Despite being a village nestled against a National Park, Marchwood has hosted the kind of facilities more historically seen in the industrial north. The village is home to a refuse incinerator known as Marchwood Energy Recovery. It also has a sewage works at Slowhill Copse and a gas-fired power station which replaced the old, oil-fired one dismantled during the 1990s.

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GARDEN OF REFUGE

Grade II-listed Marchwood Priory is now part of the private Priory Hospitals chain. Its garden is prized as one of historical importance, with a walled area, specimen trees and its own lake. During the war, Marchwood Park was a rehab centre for badly burnt pilots who had been through the rehab programme devised by the surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe. Villagers remember servicemen in rehab playing snooker at a nearby club.

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PROUD MILITARY HISTORY

As well as its traditional war memorials, just outside the Church of St John the Apostle is Marchwood’s Falklands Memorial. It commemorates the lives of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel lost on RFA Sir Galahad which sank, and the RFA Sir Tristram, which was badly damaged, during the 1982 South Atlantic campaign. In 2016 HRH The Earl of Wessex unveiled a plaque at the memorial’s rededication service.

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PREMIER FACILITY

Marchwood may seem an unlikely spot to glimpse a Premier League football player. But Staplewood Football Development and Support Centre in Long Lane is the training ground of Southampton FC. The ground was opened in November 2014 at a rumoured cost of £40m. It has facilities for sports science, scouting and recruitment, football administration and medical departments, as well as training, changing and dining.

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THE FIJI CONNECTION

The beautiful isle of Fiji maybe halfway round the world in the South Pacific. But Marchwood is home to a thriving Fijian community who are based there as part of the military. This connection thrives in the local schools where the ‘Love of Fiji Day’ has been successfully celebrated with food and discussions on Fijian culture, and the connection has even brought recognition from the Fijian Rugby Team.

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THE GHOST RAILWAY STATION

It seems impossible to believe that the bustling Waterside area doesn’t have its own railway line and that’s because it did – until Dr Beeching swung his axe during the 1960s and chopped the branch line off. Marchwood’s old station was on the south east of Hythe Road and had a single platform around 350ft long down its side. Plans to reopen the old line from Totton to Fawley have received strong support in recent years.

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WHAT’S GOING ON?

As a village Marchwood provides plenty of goings-on to help its residents to thrive. Every year there’s an annual fête and the Marchwood Prelude Orchestra plays a varied menu of light classical, showtime, film and other popular music at fund-raising concerts. There’s sailing available through Cracknore Hard Sailing club and Marchwood Yacht club, and a snooker club in the village.

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