Thursday was a dry day. There has been no rain here for several weeks and temperatures are high for late November. I joined two village friends for a walk , new to them, around the ancient beechwoods . I have photographed this walk before, but every time it is different. The trees change with the seasons, the New Forest foals grow up, fungi and berries come and go.
Here is the hill on my header phototograph, with the two tall beech trees almost free of their autumn leaves. We followed the path and turned into the holly wood, where ponies were chewing on the bark of mature holly trees.
The Old Man of the Woods was still there, in his sentry post overlooking the stream.
Along the path, we crossed a stretch of moorland, where heather and bracken had dried to a rusty gold.
Into the beechwoods....
....where the older trees had shed their leaves but the understorey of holly thrived, dark green.
A bracket fungus on a rotting beech stump.
Some of the beeches and oaks in this wood are many hundreds of years old. When they die and eventually fall, their wood is left to rot. The tree becomes a habitat for invertebrates and a feasting ground for insect eating birds.
Little B, my companions` miniature Yorkshire Terrier, came with us on our walk. We were walking for two hours and he did not tire once. In fact he covered twice the ground that we did! The leaf carpeted woodland was a paradise of smells for a small dog and the occasional squirrel chase was the most exciting way to play. The photo is blurry because he would NOT keep still!
Crossing the stream that drains the peaty moorland.
Back towards the holly wood........
The light was low all day, but pinpricks of yellow gorse and scarlet holly berries brightened dull colours of autumn.
We crossed a carpet of crunching leaves....
....and climbed the hill, out onto the homeward track again.