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Riders enjoying the freedom of the New Forest
Riders enjoying the freedom of the New Forest

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Route No 228 Monday - 1 October 2007
The Rufus Stone to Minstead circuit - 9 km
New Forest, Hampshire . . .

Map: OS Explorer OL22 New Forest at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base map from OS Open Space service

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The inscription on one side of the "Rufus Stone"
The inscription on one side of the "Rufus Stone"

From the Rufus Stone we walked about 200m along the road to the Sir Walter Tyrell pub at map ref. SU268126. We crossed the road in front of the pub and set off across the cropped grass for about 500m to cross a stream called Coalmeer Gutter at map ref. SU263127.

This morning we drove a few miles to the car park at the "Rufus Stone", map ref. SU270124. There is now a cast iron monument to replace the stone vandalised in the nineteenth century by souvenir hunters.

The inscription on one side of the "Rufus Stone"
The inscription on one side of the "Rufus Stone"

The pub in Upper Canterton
The pub in Upper Canterton
Pony grazing the short cropped grass
Pony grazing the short cropped grass

A pony resting by a fallen branch
A pony resting by a fallen branch

After about 800m we reached another stream crossing at King's Garn Gutter and on the other side was a golf course. We followed the track around the edge of the golf course for about 350m to map ref. SU266138.

Once across the stream we turned right to head roughly north along a strip about 100m wide between two enclosure boundaries. There is a decent grassy path once you get going.

My wife on her mobile phone!! Urggggh!
My wife on her mobile phone!! Urggggh!

Gorse, bracken and heather that blend into the New Forest heath
Gorse, bracken and heather that blend into the New Forest heath
Pigs & cattle foraging together
Pigs & cattle foraging together
A New Forest glade
A New Forest glade, just an ordinary bit of the New Forest
Pigs looking for acorns, chestnuts, crab apples etc.
Pigs looking for acorns, chestnuts, crab apples etc.
Cattle heading off at a determined pace
Cattle heading off at a determined pace
Track around the edge of Bramshaw golf course on Brook Common
Track around the edge of Bramshaw golf course on Brook Common

The ford on the road through Canterton
The ford on the road through Canterton

At this junction we turned left to walk along a track for about 800m to map ref. SU277132. There were a few houses here on the edge of the open forest land.

From the golf course we turned down a track to turn right on to the road. We followed the road across a ford and to a junction with a small red letterbox on a wooden post.

The track out to Lower Canterton
The track out to Lower Canterton

Ponies grazing at Lower Canterton
Ponies grazing at Lower Canterton

Bracket fungus on an oak tree
Beefsteak bracket fungus on an oak tree

It's a very busy dual carriageway and the noise from the road just builds and builds as you approach it through the trees. From the underpass we followed the road into the village of Minstead.


We turned right to follow a track in front of the houses. At the last house we headed due south through the trees for about 650m to an underpass beneath the A31.

Stocks on the village green in Minstead
Stocks on the village green in Minstead

The church in Minstead
The church in Minstead

At the church gate we took the path on the right hand side down the side of the churchyard. The path emerged on to the road in Newtown at map ref. SU278107.

We stopped at the village pub for lunch which turned out to be a rather ordinary affair. From the pub we walked along the road up a slope that felt quite steep to me to reach the church at map ref. SU281108 where Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle (author of Shirlock Holmes) is buried.

The churchyard in Minstead
The churchyard in Minstead

Footpath from Minstead Church comes out at Newtown
Footpath from Minstead Church comes out at Newtown

At the bend the turned right over a stile and followed a footpath for about 900m to Furzey Gardens, an ornamental garden open to the public.

From here we followed the road for a few hundred metres to a junction at map ref. SU276109 where we turned left and followed the road for about 500m to a sharp left hand bend.

Boardwalk on the way to Furzey Gardens
Boardwalk on the way to Furzey Gardens

Woodland path from Furzey Gardens towards the A31 underpass
Woodland path from Furzey Gardens towards the A31 underpass

Through the underpass we followed the track for about 150m and then took the path across the grassland back to the Rufus Stone and the car park.

We stopped at their coffee shop for some welcome refreshments before walking along the footpath from the gardens to another underpass beneath the A31 at map ref. SU268119.

Underpass beneath the A31
Underpass beneath the A31

I took this route from a book we bought from the tourist information office. It's called "Mike Power's Walks In The New Forest". It has some good route ideas but I found it best to use the book to find the route on my Explorer map and use that to navigate. The route descriptions do not give any distances to the next landmark or any map references to tie down the position.

Grassland & woodland sloping down to the Rufus Stone and Upper Canterton
Grassland & woodland sloping down to the Rufus Stone and Upper Canterton