The forest does not disappoint
Mighty oaks (this particular one, the Knightwood Oak, is at least 450 years old and has a girth of 7 meters close to the bottom of the tree)
Cool, soft mosses
Curious and strangely beautiful fungi
Pretty soft pink heathers
Skeletons (now home to a myriad little creatures, I wonder in which period of the forest's 900-year history this tree lived)
Lots of butterflies, which seemed very difficult to catch on camera, but I did get this rather raggedy little White Admiral
Cool cattle (literally)
Deer (think I've been spotted)
And, of course, New Forest ponies
At one point, while walking in amongst the trees wondering if we'd followed our map correctly, we heard the cry of what we knew must be a bird of prey. Above us were a pair of Goshawks (we weren't sure at the time but confirmed it later when we found what we saw on the good old interweb), they were huge and we were mesmerised. They were with us for a good five minutes. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures and nor did I want to, we just looked up and enjoyed the moment and the priviledge.
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On one walk we took time out to visit Furzey Gardens and it's little 16th century cottage in Minstead.
It once housed a family of 15 children, which is hard to believe, it's so tiny inside
In 2012 Furzey Gardens entered a garden in the Chelsea Flower Show, which was returned piece by piece to Furzey Gardens after the show. The garden was created by a designer and a team of young adults with learning disabilities.
It was lovely to be able to stand in a Chelsea garden, which included this wonderful thatched shelter
Complete with rickety staircase
And a roof of glass leaves
They won a gold medal. What a fantastic achievement.
Minstead is also the final resting place of the creator of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. I wonder who left the pipe.
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I think this pony is waiting for the bank to open and where else would he hold an account? We quietly suggested he might want to try online banking, but he just kept staring at the door ...
Hope all is well out there ...