The village of Brockenhurst is a popular attraction for visitors to the New Forest and the the football club’s Grigg Lane ground is very much a part of the local community.
Known as the Badgers for obvious reasons, Brockenhurst were founder members of the Wessex League in 1986, but the club has a much longer history, having been founded in 1898. Until the formation of the Wessex League they alternated between the New Forest League and Hampshire League and were members of the latter from 1947-86.
Although ever-present since its formation, Brockenhurst have never really set the Wessex League alight, and the club’s first four seasons were spend struggling in its lower reaches. In 1994/95 they finished sixth, a best-ever placing that was repeated in 2001/02.
Brockenhurst have reached the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on three occasions, most recently in 2004/05 when they upset Conference South club Lewes away from home before going out to Bath City. Similarly, the club has enjoyed some good runs in the FA Vase - reaching the 4th Round in 2000/01 for the third time; and having made the 5th Round back in 1974/75.The record attendance for Grigg Lane is 1,104 when St. Albans visited in the FA Amateur Cup the same season.
In 1950 the club purchased the Grigg Lane site from the Morant Estate, having previously played at as many as nine lcoal venues including Rhinefield Road and Brookley Road; the first ground having been behind the Baptist Chapel in Lyndhurst Road. Over the past 50 years or so the ground has been developed into one of the better venues at this level of the Non League Pyramid.
Work began with draining the site, and laying down essential water and electricity supplies. Dressing rooms and a small stand followed. Volunteers built the social club in 1972 at a cost of £4,000, with floodlights erected at the same time.
The long flat-roofed stand is of brick and breezeblock construction, and straddles the half-way line. In common with everything else, is painted in the club’s blue and white livery, which gives the ground a nice homely feel. It dates from 1978 and seats 200, mainly on benches situated on its upper level with the dressing rooms underneath. This provides spectators with an elevated view, albeit partially obstructed by the roof supports. In addition, in common with stands of this nature that are situated close to the touchline, the view of the latter is obscured.
The aforementioned Social Club, which is open every evening and at lunchtimes during the weekend, is adjacent to the stand on the far side of the pitch. A nice touch is a six foot tall cut out of a bipedal badger on the wall, which brought back memories of reading Rupert annuals as a child!
The remainder of the ground is open, with hard standing most of the way ‘round, and the two brick/uPVC dugouts facing the stand. There is a small car park just inside the main gate.
From J1 of the M27 take the A337 to Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst. Turn right at Carey’s Manor Hotel into Grigg Lane. Ground is 200 yards on the right. Make allowances for heavy traffic on the A337 into the New Forest.