We always enjoy Autumnal walks in the New Forest and one of our favourite places to visit at this time of year is Rufus Stone.
The towering Beech trees stand like sentinels, possible witnesses to the "accidental" slaying of King William the Second (Known as Rufus for his red hair) by Sir Walter Tyrell. Hunting mistakes do seem to be a common theme in medieval regicide.
We checked out the memorial plaque but we were not here for a history lesson so much as to wander amongst the mist wreathed splendour of the forest.
Every inch of the mossy, boggy landscape beneath our feet seemed turned to bronze by the falling leaves, while those remaining on the trees shimmered in the gentle wind.
A thin dappled sunlight glimmered through after our lunch time picnic, bringing an ethereal beauty to the russet and green glow.
I don't know how many miles we walked, it must have been at least five but nobody seemed to notice the distance as we wondered at the view.
The children kept pace with us for most of the time and there was very little questioning about how far we still had to go. They were kept busy working out how to jump streams and negotiate bogs.
I think we timed it just about perfectly, both with regard to the time of year and the duration/distance of the walk because everyone still seemed deeply satisfied on our return. I even had the opportunity to gather another bag-full of Sloes.
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Author: Alan Gibson
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