Thursday was dry and cold, between days of rain and storms.
Late in the day, we walked along the valley and up towards the beech woods, through a small mixed wood where moss and silver bark shone in the afternoon light.
New foxglove leaves had emerged in sheltered places.
Deep green holly grew among bare trees.............
.....and the gold of lambs-tail hazel catkins, brightened high branches in the lane.
Across valley pastures where ponies grazed, we could see heath and woodland of open Forest, on higher ground beyond.
Down the lane, into the beechwoods, were the two tall beeches that would have witnesses the old London coaches driving through, in centuries gone by. This is a winter view of my blog header photograph.
Beside the track, remains of felled or dying trees took on strange shapes.
Here is the "Man in the tree".
A whole, mature beech had fallen since we last walked here.
As we reached the track that winds uphill towards the next wood, we realised that Whisper Dog was tiring. Turning back, we found that the group of ponies by the wooden bridge had decided to follow.
These two were cropping fresh moss and grass beside a stream.
An afternoon of sun had brought out the woodland flies. The chestnut pony was bothered by ear flies and shook her head as she walked.
She and her companions followed us back to a junction in the paths and they turned away then, up towards the gorse thickets beside the marsh.
We left the steam and the beechwoods, making our way home with a tired old dog and all of us enjoying the last hour of cooling wintery sun.