The New Forest in the county of Hampshire is just an hours drive south for me. It's a distinctive mix of Woodland and Heathland which was preserved as a hunting ground for King William 1st back in the 12th Century. Click on the link for a website about the Forest. As you can see from the photo below, deer still roam the Forest.
New Forest ponies have had the run of the New Forest for centuries. The link above tells more about 'Verderer's rights' I think.
There is alot of active management of the forest including burning of the Gorse on the Heathland. It makes for some stark grazing areas for the ponies.
I liked this burnt bark from a large Gorse bush. Hopefully recovery doesn't take too long!
Here are some areas of Gorse and Heather untouched by flame.
The Gorse bush is an extremely prickly affair, but the golden yellow flowers have the most gorgeous scent of coconuts which wafts through the air as your walk amongst it.
The woodland areas have alot of Holly trees in them giving a distinctive dark and evergreen feel to the otherwise deciduous woods.
The only bird photo I managed to take was of this distant male Common Redstart. It's a stunning bird! There were plenty about in the Forest, just coming through on migration from the south.
I'll finish with a view over a stretch of Heathland. The path winding up through the middle leads to our parked car way in the distance.
It was a beautiful spring morning for a walk in this lovely part of the country.