This pretty New Forest village is located just north of Lyndhurst. The little village is very attractive with a photogenic village green, thatched cottages, a popular local pub and a historic 13th century church. It also has literary connections with novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who is buried in the churchyard here.
This walk from Minstead visits some of the highlights of the area including Furzey Gardens, the Rufus Stone, Castle Malwood Walk and the Long Beech Enclosure.
The walk starts in the village and follows a footpath north west to visit the lovely Furzey Gardens. Here you'll find a picturesque lake, Azaleas, Rhododendrons and woodland glades.
After exploring the gardens you continue north toward Stoney Cross where you cross the A road on the underpass. Head north east and you will soon come to the Rufus Stone. This historical stone apparently marks the spot where King William II was fatally wounded with an arrow, during a royal hunting outing in the Forest, in the year 1100. It is so called because the King's nickname was Rufus, due to his ruddy complexion and red hair. He was the son of King William I who was responsible for designating the area as the royal hunting ground that we know today as the New Forest. It's a lovely peaceful spot ideal for short walks and a picnic.
From the stone you then head north west to visit Tom Pook's Hill, the Long Beech Enclosure and Castle Malwood Walk. There's some nice woodland trails to follow around here before returning to the village on the same paths via Stoney Cross.
Minstead Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Minstead Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Minstead OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Minstead Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Back in the village the Trusty Servant is a fine choice for some post walk refreshments. It's in a lovely spot overlooking the green, with its own stocks and memorial. They have a large outdoor seating area where you can often see ponies ambling through the unspoilt village. There's a charming interior with beams, roaring log fires and lots of local pictures on the wall. They do great food and can be found at 2 Compton Cottages with a postcode of SO43 7FY for your sat navs.
Near the Rufus Stone there's The Sir Walter Tyrrell to consider. It's aptly named after the Anglo-Norman nobleman who apparently shot the arrow that killed King Rufus. They have a very good menu and a cosy interior with log fires. Outdoors there's a garden area for finer weather. You can find the pub just a short stroll north from the stone at a postcode of SO43 7HD.
The woodland trails are ideal for dog walking but only assistance dogs are allowed in Furzey Gardens. The Trusty Servant mentioned above is dog friendly.