Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Tracks across the heath

A morning of milky blue sky where cloud burns away in the warmth of the sun. The air hums and buzzes with a thousand insects. Finches and linnets flock into the fields for grass and thistle seed. A buzzard mews high above and magpies cackle and chatter in the boundary trees. An hour set aside to walk and an eager old dog beside me. These are some snapshots of our ramble through the bracken.

A profusion of shining holly berries cluster on a hedgerow tree.

Here come the girls! Crashing out of the trees and lumbering towards us across the bracken, a small herd of commoners` cattle lower heads in threat to my poor old border collie, who slips round behind me, jogs the camera and slinks off to wait in the safety of the hedge bottom. The big beasts swing out into the bracken and find the trees they are looking for.

Scuffling beneath the tree for fallen crab apples.

Little green apples..... A wilding tree laden with fruit.

Ponies have made pathways through this bracken valley.

Too near the road! This New Forest mare and her filly foal graze by the roadside, oblivious of the traffic speeding past them. This year has seen so many pony lives lost on Forest roads. An in-foal jenny donkey died this summer, just yards from where these ponies grazed today. Many drivers seem to have no idea of the unpredictability of ponies, deer and cattle. There is a 40 MPH limit on open Forest roads and a 30MPH limit through many of the villages. An impact at 30 MPH or less can fatally wound a pony or a cow, so the speed limits should be the maximimum speed on a totally clear road, not the speed at which many a motorist whizzes past a grazing animal!

Late flowering gorse and a scent of coconut.

Down in the valley bottom, layers of clay lie beneath peat and sandy topsoil. Water drains down into pools where cattle gather to drink and splash.

Autumnal browns of bracken, heath and valley grass across the sweep of hills.

A wild copse of silver birch and holly.

Time for a rest.


Bovey Belle said...

I was with you every step of the way! What a lovely walk that was and super photos too.

Morning's Minion said...

I enjoyed the details of your walk--it sound like interesting territory. I grief for the needless deaths of the ponies. Here, it is the deer and antelope who are victims of the road. They will leap into the roadway without warning, even in town. When I see one by the roadside I always wonder if it is one that we have watched wandering around our property, as we get to speaking of "Our Deer" and feeling attached.