It was the year that England won the World Cup, the year The Beatles released Revolver and in which the first British credit card was introduced.
But 1966 is remembered in the New Forest for very different reasons because it’s also the year in which the iconic movie, A Man For All Seasons, was released, featuring timeless images of the Beaulieu River and Buckler’s Hard, standing in for Tudor London.
The film’s most famous scene features actor Robert Shaw as King Henry VIII, leaping ashore from the royal barge, against the unspoilt backdrop of the Curtle Meadows.
A Man For All Seasons won six Academy Awards, including ones for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director and starred, Orson Welles, Vanessa Redgrave and Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor who stood up to Henry VIII when he wanted to break with the Roman Catholic church.
Remarkably you can still take in the same watery views from the film, by embarking on the river walk, a two-and-a-half mile footpath between Buckler’s Hard and Beaulieu, through the heart of the Beaulieu estate. You’ll pass woodland, tidal-river banks, salt marsh and grassland although don’t try and look for Sir Thomas More’s house. The one used in the film, Studley Priory, was actually north of Oxford and the wall King Henry is seen jumping over was re-created in Beaulieu for reasons of continuity!