• Sarah


An ironclad stone near the small New Forest village of Minstead in Hampshire is a memorial to William Rufus, the third son of William the Conqueror, who was killed there in a hunting accident by Sir Walter Tyrell, although whether by accident or design is still a matter of much debate today.

Conveniently located next to some stunning forest scenery, it makes a great base for a stroll in the woods while learning more about this infamous Norman ruler.

The Rufus Stone in the New Forest
The Rufus stone is a three-sided monument in the heart of the New Forest

Outside the village of Minstead and in the heart of the forest, the Rufus Stone is a small stone which marks the spot where William Rufus is said to have died. Although many historians now believe that the actual spot is closer to Beaulieu on the south coast, this is the place that has been marked since the 18th century and is supported by local lore and legend.

There is more to this area than a stone to a historically dubious event though, as it is a truly lovely part of the New Forest. There is a huge area to explore nearby, with a mix of open land, forest and streams. New Forest ponies roam free, deer can be spotted in the undergrowth and the birdsong is all around. The area can get busy in the school summer holidays, but you will still be able to find areas without any other people in them if you wander off the beaten track.

If you get there early in the morning, you can have the whole place to yourself, making it a much more tranquil experience.