Sunday, January 14

New Forest Hideway, and A Good Deed Done

Recognise this spot in the New Forest?

It's about 20 minutes walk along a good heathland track, near to one of the main tourist car parks just outside Burley.
You know the one I mean surely?

By the side of the old railway line from Ringwood, now a shale track infested during the summer with kids, bicycles and folks in 'stout walking shoes' stubbornly plodding along the flat and narrow to the nearby Tea-Rooms at Holmesley.

Still not recalled the spot? No surprise really. I've wandered throughout this area at least a couple of times a month over the last 15 years. Following deer and horse tracks and generally seeing how far I can go before I get wet feet in the boggy ground thereabouts.

A few weeks ago I tried a different direction, having spotted a new track, now regrowing after forestry work to reduce the invasive pine scrubland.

This time I found a quiet spot, terminating in a very tricky few hundred metres hopping from grassy tussock to lichen bound stone to cross its termination in the middle of bog and a small stream. Of course I was wearing a newly washed pair of trousers. Sods Law.

This time, after the past few weeks of torrential downpour I wisely opted away from that part of the route, but in the glorious sunshine I decided to explore nearby and found ...... nothing.

No people, no litter, no sign of footprints; Just myself, two dogs, and the landscape.

Now the forestry workers have left nature is quickly reclaiming its own, covering over the ragged scars left by heavy machinery but leaving alone the tracks that were formed.

Another secluded spot for me to enjoy on a busy Sunday afternoon; Perfection; And a lovely place for a wildcamp at some point in the future, if a night under the Spring stars calls out. There's even a clean running water source, which has to be astounding compared to the normal supply on the forest. Most I wouldn't normally consider, but this runs cool and clear (I'd still boil/filter it thought - perhaps even try out my recent Aquastraw toy courtesy of Backpack Bob)

And on the way back to the car, as I again started coming across various groups of people, I was approached by a pair of strangers playing with their collie. Yet again my dogs had blown my cover. Never make MI6 material with this pair in tow.

"Oh I thought I recognised the dogs - are you the partner of Mrs Johnhee?" I was asked.

And then out tumbled a story of how with my wife's assistance, and her contact with a local vet friend, a rescue collie desperately seeking a new home after abuse by travellers (dog on a chain scenario) had discovered a couple seeking to recover from the loss of their own special animal that had died a few months ago.

We chatted for a few minutes the dogs all playing 'fetch the stick', the bonding of the new animal and owners already apparent even after such a short time. The dog eager to please, obedient and full of life.

"It was as if this was meant to happen this way" they said.

And as said my goodbyes, I understood what they meant.

Happiness is sometimes just so much a state of mind. And not just for humans.

A good day

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I think I was in this area a few weeks ago, on a very foggy day. I parked at Burbush, S of Burley, W to Brown Loaf, NW to Kingston Great common via the 54 spot height, S along the boundary fence to cross the railway, S then W to the other 54 spot height, across Bisterne Common, Dur Hill Inclosure to the trig point. E to Whitten Pond, Holmsley Ridge, Greenberry Bridge and back along the railway. Once away from the CP I only saw one person in the distance.
oooooo near Jon, but not quite there.

I know the woody knoll @ kingston well - keep it up my sleeve for a bivvy one day in the future. after that if you swung N rather than S along the boundary fence you would have been more in the area (if you know the rail bridge crossing at the bottom of dur hill, cross that N and then swing left along the tracks)

If u need a GR I'll take the GPS out next time and try to work out whereabouts in the middle go the bogland I ended up ;-)

Thanks for making me look at the map though - i've just spotted a FB therabouts, so something else to go and explore. It suggests there was a path through in the past. Wonder where it goes???
Good hunting
I always record my track with a GPS (Geko 201). Apart from keeping the track file, I also copy/paste a reduced detail version onto a composite map (in Tracklogs) showing every walk I have done in an area. The New Forest one looks like a very messy spiders web. This makes it easy to spot places I haven't been for future walks.
Earlier in the year I started at the Smugglers Road CP (Vales Moor on the map) and headed W then S along the forest edge. I got to Bagnum Bog but could not get across this so came back up the boundary fence (the one with the BS boundary stones).
Jon - yes Bagnum is a bugger -crossed it once in the summer drought and almost lost the dog in the deep channels between the grass clumps
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