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Hamble-le-Rice is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire, UK. It is best known for being an aircraft training centre during the Second World War and is a popular yachting location. The village and the River Hamble also featured in the 1980s BBC television series Howards' Way. The village centre, known as The Square, Hamble, has a more traditional English village aesthetic which differentiates it from the small industrial areas (mostly marinas) close-by the village.

Bus in The Square - - 1464808.jpg
The Square, Hamble
Hamble crest.jpg
The village crest
Hamble-le-Rice is located in Hampshire
Location within Hampshire
Population4,695 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSU479066
Civil parish
  • Hamble-le-Rice
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSouthampton
Postcode districtSO31
Dialling code023
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
50°51′25″N 1°19′15″W / 50.85694°N 1.32084°W / 50.85694; -1.32084Coordinates: 50°51′25″N 1°19′15″W / 50.85694°N 1.32084°W / 50.85694; -1.32084



Hamble-le-Rice is located on the South coast of England, South-East of Southampton. The village is situated at the tip of the Hamble Peninsula, and is bounded by Netley, Butlocks Heath, Bursledon, Southampton Water and the River Hamble.


Although previously known as "Hamble", "Hamelea", "Hammel", and "Ham-en-le-Rice", the village's official name is now Hamble-le-Rice.[1] The name "Hamble" is still in common usage. To the south of the village, lies the site of an Iron Age promontory hillfort, Hamble Common Camp.

The area is home to the remains of a defensive structure dating to the reign of King Henry VIII.[2] Known as St Andrews castle, investigations suggest that it consisted of a rectangular structure fronted by a gun-platform with a semi-circular layout.[2] The structure was protected by a moat, with a two gun-platforms mounted on the Counterscarp.[2] The structure was intact as late as the early 17th century.[3]


Hamble-le-Rice was the home of an aircraft training centre during the Second World War for aircraft including the Spitfire, the Lancaster and the Wellington. In 1960 the Air Corporations Joint Training Scheme (later, British Airways) fixed wing and helicopter training school was established there, as the College of Air Training, Hamble. The South airfield has long since disappeared[4] and the North airfield has been partially developed as housing, the remainder is overgrown and owned by property developers Persimmon.

The aviation industry retains a large interest in Hamble-le-Rice, with the Hamble Aerostructures factory, now a subsidiary of GE Aviation in Kings Avenue.[5]

Industrial AreasEdit

Hamble-le-Rice is home to three main marinas offering marine services and goods to the boating industry. In addition, large factories and smaller industrial units off Ensign Way and Hamble Lane are used by CooperVision, BP, Hoyer, GE and others. Some of these businesses are 24 hour operations with extensive staff and commuters. The fuel terminal itself is not visible from the B3397: there was extensive development in the early 2000s when wartime hangars were demolished and high density housing built next to the road, near the terminal. The Royal Yacht Association, RYA, (a non-profit organisation) has its offices in Hamble.


There are two schools in Hamble-Le-Rice. The first is Hamble Primary School, and the second is a secondary school named the Hamble School (formerly Hamble Community Sports College[6]).

The River and EnvironmentEdit

Hamble-le-Rice is a boating mecca: the nearby River Hamble is often packed with marine traffic and during the summer the whole village is crowded with people out enjoying the water, local restaurants and many pubs. The village and its river is one of the many locations that made up the fictional village of Tarrant in the BBC television series Howards' Way, shown weekly on BBC1 in the late 1980s.

Hamble-le-Rice is home to a common, a variety of estuary wildlife, and other scenic walks.

Fuel terminalEdit

This WWII Anti Aircraft emplacement on Hamble Common protected the fuel terminal and jetty (both visible in background)

Hamble fuel terminal was opened by Shell in 1924, whilst BP were still afloat using a converted passenger liner as a fuel tender. In 1930 the two companies formed a joint venture and BP moved to Hamble. This partnership was dissolved in 1976, with the Hamble terminal passing to BP.[7]. A recent 2016 attempt to sell off the terminal, was not met with success, however Hoyer now handles BPs bulk fuel road transport operation. [8].

A pipeline runs under Southampton Water from the Fawley oil refinery which supplies the BP fuel terminal at Hamble. This fuel terminal was used to supply PLUTO, during the Invasion of Europe in World War II.[9] The PLUTO pipeline started at Sandown on the Isle of Wight and was supplied by ship from Hamble.[9] The jetty at this fuel terminal was extended in 1943/44 so that more ships could be loaded simultaneously.[9]

Fuel is transported from this depot both day and night, in particular early mornings (between 3am and 6am), by 44 tonne road tankers along the B3397, as well as by pipeline to major industry and airports. Markers showing the route of the pipeline can be seen at various points in neighbouring Botley. A now disused branch line ran from the terminal to the Portsmouth to Southampton railway. This is now the scenic Strawberry Trail.

Transport linksEdit

The Hamble Peninsula has one main access road, the B3397 (Hamble Lane) which is approximately 3 miles long and goes straight through the village. Hamble Lane has had numerous incidences of traffic accidents.[10] and at its intersection with Portsmouth Road an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) exists to monitor nitrogen dioxide traffic pollutants.[11] The B3397 is a very high volume road; the last traffic count in March 2003 shows around 16300 vehicles in a 24-hour period.[10] Daily traffic congestion and slow moving queues are due to the large number of inbound and outbound commuters, on staggered work shifts. Many businesses supply local companies as BP Oil UK, CooperVision and GE Aviation and minor industry and services within the 4 marinas and industrial areas off Ensign Way. Road oil and petrol tankers form the bulk of the Heavy Goods Vehicles along this road, numbering a few hundred vehicle movements per day. The village is served by Hamble railway station, about 2 miles from the centre of the village, which provides hourly services to both Southampton Central and Portsmouth Harbour.[12] It is also linked by a pedestrian ferry to Warsash, and has frequent bus services to and from Southampton and Eastleigh.


Sport and leisureEdit

Hamble-le-Rice has two non-League football clubs, Folland Sports and Hamble Club, both of which play in the Wessex League.

A speedway training track operated at Hamble in the early 1950s. There is now a sports college in Hamble to provide recreation and leisure.


  1. ^ "A brief history of Hamble". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Osborne, Mike (2011). Defending Hampshire The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present. The History Press. p. 57. ISBN 9780752459868.
  3. ^ Osborne, Mike (2011). Defending Hampshire The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present. The History Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 9780752459868.
  4. ^ "Hamble Airfields". Archived from the original on 6 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Composites are the future for GE Aviation, Hamble". Reinforced Concretes. 15 April 2009.
  6. ^ "The Hamble School – Achieving Excellence Together". Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  7. ^ "BP in Hamble". Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  8. ^ Martin, Ben (20 July 2016). "BP eyes sell-off of UK oil terminals and pipeline stake". Retrieved 20 April 2018 – via
  9. ^ a b c Hampshire and D-Day. Martin Doughty. 1994. ISBN 1-85741-047-5
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ van der Merwe, Pieter (15 January 2000), "Obituary – Michael Robinson 1910 – 1999", The Independent, archived from the original on 4 December 2010.

External linksEdit