Sunday, 9 September 2012

Along the Sandy Track

This afternoon was hot, but the morning`s blue skies were hidden by misty grey cloud coming in from the south west. We took Whisper Dog out for another walk on his own. He is fitter so he can walk further and more briskly than Old Dog used to do. We try to choose more isolated pathways now, as Whisper can be grumpy if he meets other dogs.

We walked down the steep edge of the Beacon Hill and along pony tracks through gorse and heather. Three young New Forest mares were grazing on sweet grass that they had found between the twiggy branches of a dried up, fallen tree. These three are always together and have been since they were foals. We call them the Three Little Maids ("from school are we..."). The bay pony below and the little chestnut mare are both the nieces of two of our geldings, Woody and Ginger. There is a marked resemblance. It was good to see them looking so sleek and well.

Turning towards the south, we found the old sandy track. This trackway follows the base of the long hilly ridge and leads eventually to a large freshwater pond. It must be an ancient track and was probably used by those who lived on the iron age hill fort and all the generations since. There is a tranquility here, when the background hum of traffic slips away as you walk. Soon there is nothing but the rustling of hillside trees in the wind and the call of heathland birds.

The main track has eroded into sandy ravines along the way and new tracks have formed beside them.

One of several Bronze Age burial mounds in the valley.

Most of the moorland ling has finished flowering now, but patches of bell heather and  yellow dwarf gorse plants brightened the edge of the track.

We climbed up the hill again, looking back towards the eastern Forest edge; across the coastal plain towards the distant Purbeck Hills.

A patch of late flowering ling at the edge of the woods.

At the top of the hill, we followed a path through the holly, into the old beech wood.

Whisper had enjoyed his walk but was getting tired now, so we turned for home along the hilltop lane.


Karen said...

I wish I had a place to walk like your trek through the woods. The trail that I like to walk down the street around our reservoir has been put off-limits as a walker and her dog were attacked by a rabid fox. And a woman who was swimming in a lake was attacked by a rabid beaver. Crazy weather and crazy wild animals here in North Carolina.

angryparsnip said...

What a lovely walk.
I enjoyed coming along. You live in a beautiful place.
And of course I love the last photo.
cheers, parsnip

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely walk and I love to think of these trackways being used by Forest people for millennia. I wonder what those Bronze Age people would think of us today?

Glad that you are able to get further afield with Whisper.

Kath said...

I always enjoy my walks with you. The ponies are looking very well as they head into winter.

Anns Art said...

Nice to see the ponies and lovely photos. Felt as though I was walking there with you. Whisper Dog was obviously having a wonderful time.

WOL said...

I love the "three little maids" and the lovely walk. I know I would walk more if I had such lovely places to walk.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely walk. Yours is one of the few blogs I read where I envy where you live. It is so lovely where we live that usually I think 'I'm glad I don;t live there'!

Down by the sea said...

It was so lovely to be taken on the walk with you through the New Forest. It's an area that we have not explored very much and your pictures show us what we are missing.
Sarah x

Ragged Robin said...

What a really beautiful walk especially following the ancient trackway. The countryside and views look beautiful and lovely to see the ponies.

BilboWaggins said...

What a lovely walk. It always feels very special when you are following in the steps of so many unknown people who have gone before you for hundreds of years.

Em Parkinson said...

You really make me want to come to the forest in the holidays. I haven't been for SO long.

Have just put you back on the visible blog list. I don't know what happened there but I don't think I'm alone in this problem!