Monday, 19 April 2010

A morning in the New Forest

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.

16 comments:

Chris said...

Hi Jenny,
I would love to get this nice common redstart picture!!! You got a really nice day!! And it is fantastic to see the area blooming with flower like that!!

Roy said...

Hi Jen, yes it is a lovely area to visit. I'm not surprised about what you said regarding the lack of birds. I have never had much luck in that area observing birds either. I think you have to know the patch well to find birds there. Good to get the Redstart though.

Steve Borichevsky said...

I'm not sure when your fire was, but my experience from the fires in Colorado are that the brush fires can result in a nice greening. Depending on how long the snags last, they will be sort of ugly for a spell. But sometimes it is a boon for woodpeckers.

TonyC said...

Lovely post Jen. Another great spot - has something changed there - it was always chock full of birds in the late 90's/early 2000's?

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Controlled burning seems commonplace in various wild areas, including the recently visited Prairie Grove Glades Preserve. It helps the plants, although it's rather hard for us humans to take, eh? Lovely post! I enjoyed every fall of your foot, every photo!

Mosura said...

Great post. It's long been on my list of places to see (although I may never get to). ...and thanks for reminding me of that wonderful smell of gorse on a warm sunny day.

Mary said...

What an interesting area! Deer, ponies, birds...sounds great! I love that first pony shot. The gorse looks beautiful, but the stickers do a look a bit sharp! How interesting to know it smells like coconut.

Eve said...

Love the Redstart Jenny. Looks so different than where you're from. Love diverse landscapes so close to home!

Jenny said...

Hi Chris, that morning, I saw more Common Redstarts than I have anywhere else. They must have literally just been flying through on migration. Lovely!

Hi Roy, it wasn't bursting with birds, but we did see Tree Pipit and Stonechats and lots of Willow Warblers and one lone Cuckoo, so it wasn't barren either.

Hi Steve, I don't know when it was fired either. There was some small shoots of grass peeking through,but that's about it. It I get back there later in the year, it will be interesting to see what develops.

Hi Tony, I've not visited much in recent years, but it wasn't completely barren of birds, but not bursting either!

Hi Debi, so long as it's in smallish areas, I don't mind the burning and there were plenty of areas untouched to enjoy! (-:

Hi Alan, I don't suppose you get Gorse over there? It's such an evocative scent of our Heathland here. I love it!

Hi Mary, it is an interesting area and one that I should try and visit more often, specially as it's not too far away from home.

Hi Evie, I remember my first sight of a male Common Redstart about 12 years ago now. I was bowled over!

Marianne said...

What a coincidence! I just started reading "This Body of Death," the new novel by Elizabeth George, and one of the settings is the New Forest, which I had never heard of before. She includes information about the ponies as well. Seeing your beautiful photos makes the book come to life.

Jenny said...

Hi Marianne, thanks for dropping in on my blog and taking the time to comment. I'm glad the post made your book come to life. Maybe one day you will be able to visit the New Forest area.

The Early Birder said...

Hi Jenny. The New Forest always reminds me of a visit with Auntie as a youngster when a pony snaffled all her picknick!
The area I've visited the most for birding is Shatterford Bottom - Beaulieu Road Station and I have rarely been disappointed. FAB.

BTW the Euphorbia is E. amygdaloides 'Purpurea' (Rubra) also known as Purple Wood Spurge.

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Kelly said...

...very interesting. I'd love to see horses roaming free. You're so lucky to be only an hour's drive away. We have a high meadow here that is slowly turning over to succession. I wish there was money to burn the meadow so it would remain a meadow. I will miss the Henslow's Sparrows when they decided the grasses are gone and the habitat is no longer suitable.

Quiet Paths said...

This area has so much in common with the Wildhorse Island in the middle of the our big lake.

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