After what seemed like weeks of rain, flooded lanes and grey skies, what a treat it was to wake up to sunshine on the first morning of 2013! We had spent a lovely New Years Eve with friends in the village, so it was mid morning before I emerged into the winter sunshine.
The New Forest heathland was no longer saturated with rain. Sandy soil with layers of gravel help even the worst of the floods to drain away quickly. The puddles below were all that was left of a rushing stream that carried water and debris down from the heath last week.
Early gorse flowers are beginning to bloom.
Mosses and lichens on tree bark and on bracken covered banks were still damp and shining in so many shades of green.
Down in the old hollow way, marked as a path on Victorian maps but now hardly used by human feet, is a bitter holly tree where the birds leave its berries alone. Every other holly in nearby hedges was stripped of this year`s meagre harvest before November. The bitter holly stays untouched, its scarlet berries beautiful against the morning`s blue sky.
Moss on a wilding apple tree.........
A paddock gate........
Sweeping bare branches of oak and beech beside an ancient hedge and a ditch now littered with coppery winter leaves.
Young silver birch trunks catching light......
....and feathery birch branches, lit silver and deep maroon by the fleeting New Year sun.
Wishing a happy, healthy and positive 2013 to everyone who follows or visits "Beechmast" !