Thursday, 26 February 2015
Home from the Forest
Above and below: "Wild" New Forest ponies grazing one of the "lawns" just outside Brockenhurst, on the way to Rhinefield and the Ornamental Drive. The ponies all belong to people, but their owners live on the New Forest and are called Commoners and have grazing rights for ponies and cattle, and also rights of pannage (turning pigs out on the Forest each autumn to fatten up on acorns and beech mast,. This also helps prevent the ponies from eating too many acorns, which they love the taste of but which are very poisonous and can cause death. There are rights of turbary too (collecting peat turves for fuel). The collars that some ponies have on are reflective and are to help them be seen by drivers at night, and prevent road traffic accidents/fatalities.
I have jumped straight into the photos without much explanation. I have been down to visit my best friend T who lives at the edge of the New Forest, now our smallest National Park in the UK. We know it well from childhood walks and rides across it. Unfortunately she is unwell at the moment, and undergoing Chemotherapy, and even more unfortunately the treatment has had side effects and the day after I arrived she had to go back to Hospital - just overnight we thought - to go on a drip for dehydration treatment. As luck would have it I arrived Sunday, and she spent Monday afternoon until Wednesday teatime in Hospital so I didn't see much of her at home. We kept her company in visiting times at the Hospital though so I think we still managed to catch up on chat and news : ) and it was so good to see her.
I had arranged to meet up with my friend Kim, and we went to Lyndhurst and then on to Rhinefield to get some fresh air. It was a while since we had seen one another, so several donkeys were in danger of having less legs! (For my overseas followers, this refers to the expression "talking the hind leg off a donkey" . . .)
This little pond was near the lawn where my parents always took me when I was a kid. Happy happy memories. They would park the car, get out the windbreak and set up the primus for a cup of tea to accompany reading the Sunday papers (News of the World scandals . . .) and I would go "pony chasing"!
Gravel and organized parking now - not like in our day . . . White Moor in the distance behind the car.
Then Kim and I drove a little bit further, onto the start of the Ornamental Drive, which has huge Sequoia trees as part of the plantings. We parked up at Poundhill Enclosure for our car picnic. This is Black Water.
As you can see, we were very lucky with the weather, and the almost spring sunshine was wonderful.
The road bridge across the stream.
We strolled into the Forest beside the stream, following its loops and meanderings.
Last year's Bullrushes provided shelter for wildlife of the insect kind in the Forest.
Fallen trees across the stream provided an excellent habitat too, and had we been (much!) younger we might have been tempted to tippy-toe across them . . . About 50+ years too late in my case . . .
A bit too cold to paddle too . . .
Then Kim spotted . . . a White Egret. My first definite sighting, and probably not exciting for bird spotters as they are apparently quite a common sight in Britain now, but we were pleased with it and managed to creep a little closer for another photo before he flew off.
One last glimpse. I do miss the Forest.