We visited Burley in the New Forest for a pub lunch and a wintry walk with our friends.
Burley is a picturesque village mostly famous for its tales of smugglers, witches and even a dragon that was slain by a local hero dressed in glass coated armour. In fact, the hamlet was originally built in the sheltered lea of an Iron Age hill fort.
After stuffing ourselves with enough pub lunch to insulate us against the elements, we set off along the nearby Smuggler’s Road, over the sandy hills and heathland. This path is part of the network of routes that was involved in the distribution of contraband, into the forest, during the 18th century. Local legends abound, with tales of swinging lanterns and women parading on hills, wearing red cloaks, to warn of approaching excise men.
Looking back toward the village you can clearly see the embankments of the Castle Hill, although much of it has now been built upon.
It was midwinter and dusk was approaching, so we marvelled at the interplay of the thin sunshine and predominantly cloudy weather.
We took a boggy and waterlogged circular route. The children all enjoyed yomping along together, seeing if they could fill their wellies by fording ponds,ambushing each other and fighting imaginary enemies.
Eventually it was back to the cars, in order to replace soggy clothes with dry items, and then home for tea and a warm bed!