Sunday, March 4

Nature in the raw

Even a mundane walk in the New Forest, covering ground travelled many times, can be an experience in difficult weather.

I awoke to the sound of heavy rain this morning, and by the time I left the house mid afternoon the rained had been falling unceasingly.

The first sight that met me within yards of the car park at Burbush , south of Burley, was this waterfall. It appears everytime there's a real deluge during the winter months.

It's only been around for a couple of years, following a heathland fire which left the ground above unable to cope with the anount of rainfall. So it seeks its first run off point, in this case straight onto the Burbush/Holmsley shale cycle track.

To my knowledge this is the only waterfall I've ever seen in the Forest, ignoring small waterdrops on a few streams now being introduced in an attempt to better aeriate the water and improve the general aquatic environment.

It's by far the biggest in this area. And seen by so very few people. I still won't be drinking the water around there though - lol

The rain was torrential, so with waterproof hood firmly wrapped around my face, myself and my fellow travellers, the two collies, splashed along a couple of ridges.

We dropped to a crossing point near Goats Pen to avoid the boggy ground that I knew would be a problem unless in real drought conditons, passing through a small section of mixed woodland.

And onto the next surprise.

Since passing this way a few weeks ago a tree had decided to shed part of its load.

Must have made a hell of a crash when it went down.

(The pictures really don't do the size of this branch justice)

And nearby some strange regular scratch marks, low down on some silver birch.

My guess is deer rubbing the velvet from their antlers.

I've spooked a few here over the years, as they like to stay out of sight, before grazing the nearby Burley golf course at night.

But none around today.

So on with the walk, largely ignoring the mud and pools, as I strod straight through them, my eye automatically picking out the gravel patches ensuring a firm foot surface underneath the increasing amounts of puddles.

And finally back to the start point.

During the whole walk I'd not had sight or sound of anyone else. Even the forest ponies had hidden away in the small copses to find shelter from the driving rain.

The carpark at Easter will be full to overflowing, but today it was just the way I like it.

Despite the rain a deeply satisying wander. Or to be more accurate, its the rain that made it so fulfilling.


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