Walking with; Dad
A slightly overdue report from the lovely New Forest, time to write having recently been curtailed by Mrs H managing to go and rupture her Achilles Tendon and my subsequent role as nurse! I feel slightly shamefaced in saying I’d never visited the New Forest, in much the same way as I feel bad about having never visited Cornwall or Dartmoor, but the facts can’t be changed and the situation has now been rectified.
I’d been attending the Camps International leadership training in Brockenhurst and so had already had a good exploration of the area en route. It’s a varied landscape of woodland interspersed with rough, Gorse heavy heath and beautiful villages crammed full of the kind of thatched, picturesque cottages that foreign tourists imagine the whole of England is full of. After a night in Burley staying at the YHA and sampling the delights of the Lamb and Mint suet pudding at The Burley Inn myself and Dad headed towards the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive on the recommendation of the hostel staff. We pulled off the main road and soon we’d found a parking spot beautifully shaded by a stand of mature trees.
Rhinefield Ornamental Drive contains some of the oldest trees in the New Forest and it wasn’t long before we were picking our way through the woodland, a mixture of modern Coniferous trees, Silver Birch and ornamentals planted in the grounds of what was once Rhinefield Hall. It wasn’t long before we came across a couple of New Forest Ponies grazing in a clearing, they seemed remarkably calm around people and barely batted an eyelid as we wandered past them. The Ponies which are owned by New Forest commoners have an ancestry thought to date back to before the last Ice Age and lead a semi-wild existence in the forest. The trees were alive with birds and as we made our way down the drive between the two largest trees in the New Forest, a pair of one hundred and fifty year old Redwoods two Great Spotted Woodpeckers flashed by.
Unfortunately due to the nature of Mrs H’s injury we had to cut our walk short but it’s an area I will definitely be returning to in the future.