I have not been home for a few months and had not seen my brother in that time: it was probably the longest I have not seen him. Thus, as soon as I got home, I called him.  I am in Southampton, my parents still live in Portsmouth whilst he now lives in nearby Bournemouth. We are all Hampshire folks, the Hobbits of the Shires 🙂

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Map from Red Funnel Ferries

“Should we meet in Minstead?” He said immediately.

Minstead. We have so many memories of Minstead. It’s just a little place, but our father loved it. When I asked his advice as to which church he would like me to get married in, he said, Minstead (though I did not take his advice).

What’s so special about Minstead?

It’s in the New Forest, but it certainly is not the most stunning place in this enchanted forest.

“Where are the horses?” Asked my daughter, disappointed.  She is a visitor here and was excited by the sight of New Forest ponies streaming freely through the forest (they are magical).

But the ponies don’t hang out in Minstead that much.  Instead, it’s heart seems to be the church, a pub called Trusty Servant and the little village shop. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was buried in the churchyard of the All Saints Church (reinterred from Crowborough to Minstead by the family of his deceased first wife after the death of the second Lady Conan Doyle).

But it’s just a small church, built in the 12th century, and so very sweet to us because our father loves it, and it has such a rich history:

The most precious part of our Mistead memories is the little village shop,where we used to come to with our parents to pick up sausage rolls, cornish pasties and cold drinks if it is summer and a cup of hot tea on the colder months.

It’s really a sweet little tea room, serving home made English staples in the middle of a very English green. Unfortunately, it is closing later this month 😦

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You can visit its Facebook page here. This is the village green in winter:


Sadly, piece by piece of our past is being eaten up by changing times and development and ‘progress’ encroaches on our beloved Shires. But for that one sunny summer’s day, my brother and I took a little walk back to those halcyon times, when we swung off trees, foraged for edible plants and picnicked with our parents. Yes, we were so happy. Shame we had to grow up, really!

Related post: Learning with my brother