It has rained for several days. This morning it was hard to believe the blue sky and thin, high clouds.
I took my camera up onto the heath where tracks were slippery with puddles and saturated ground.
There is gorse in bloom, but the bare twigs of thorn bushes dripped with water and tree barks were dark from earlier rain.
A small herd of New Forest mares were grazing on new gorse sprigs or dozing in the welcome sunshine.
It was good to see that most of the ponies now wear reflective collars so that they can be more easily seen on the Forest roads at night. Even so, there is a continuous list of pony casualties each week in the local press. Drivers leave the fast A roads and cannot seem to appreciate the vulnerability and freedom of the New Forest animals that have ancient rights to move where they like across the Forest.
Looking back across the valley, wraiths of mist rose from the wet heath.
Vapour trails criss-crossed the morning sky.
From the top of the hill, a new weather front crept in from the south west and bubbling grey cumulus clouds edged into the blue.
New shoots of holly and other woodland plants pierced the bright sphagnum moss and leaf litter underfoot.
Rain clouds brought darkness into the wood.
Old silver birches, growing among their young descendants on the hill.
A scramble down the bramble bank took me down into the lane.
A few hours later, we were drenched again with cold, heavy rain and wintery, icy sleet.
Thank you to everyone who has visited and left a comment on my previous post.
It is so good to see new and familiar names and to catch up with everyone`s blogs.
Happy New Year to you all!