Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Down in the Deer-less Deer Sanctuary

A late afternoon walk on a wet and gloomy day. The Forest is waterlogged in many places, so it was good to come to an area where pathways are maintained and where there are sometimes deer to watch in the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. New Forest deer are free to come and go in this special area, but the grazing area in front of the viewing platform was empty.

In the New Forest, which was originally a royal hunting Forest for William the Conqueror, there are now four main species of deer :- Red, Fallow, Roe and Sika. Sometimes a little Muntjack can also be seen. 

The notice below explains the changes that have taken place in the deer population over the centuries.

The Deer Sanctuary includes part of Bolderwood Arboretum, which has magnificent Giant Redwoods growing alongside smaller, mixed woodland trees. 

Numerous small streams drain water away from the higher ground, towards the wet meadows.
On previous visits we have seen herds of fallow deer in these protected fields.

A downed conifer with its wild tangle of roots.

Piles of logs are left as insect habitat in the managed woodland glades.
New trees have been planted to replace the old.

There are small areas set aside for families to play and build log hides. 

Young stands of deciduous trees grow in proximity to managed ancient yews.

A yew trunk after rain.

Some of the beeches were covered in a skirt of vivid green moss.....

.....which had attracted hungry deer ......

.....with sometimes disastrous results.
This raw patch of stripped bark was at deer browsing  height. Their teeth had left scrape marks.

 Slate Grey Dog was interested in the sweet smell of beech sap on the damaged trees.

She walks nicely to heel in a controlled space, but can pull strongly when we are out in exciting places.
She is learning to walk in a kind dog headcollar which reduces pulling and she seems much happier wearing it. At seven months old she is doing well and loves her Forest walks.

The light was falling as we walked back along the Forest tracks. Not a deer in sight today. Herds of pregnant hinds and their young from last year are keen to seek shelter in quiet places during late winter. The stags often roam the Forest in bachelor bands. A friend of mine saw three fine Fallow stags last week. They leapt across the road in front of her car as she drove home across the Forest at dusk.


Crafty Green Poet said...

a lovely walk, even without seeing deer! I'm glad they leave the fallen trees for insects and for people to use to build dens - are there many fire incidents?

Down by the sea said...

I heard on the radio how wet the New Forest is at the moment. Your new dog looks so lovely. Sarah x

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful post today. A walk in a Enchanted Forest.
Slate Grey Dog is indeed beautiful. I have used that kind of waler with thehamish when he was younger.
The thick green moss is so beautiful and something we desert people never see.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

SeagullSuzie said...

A lovely walk with you through the forest, sorry you didn't see any deer. Your dog is lovely and so young. Have used a head halti with a previous dog and it worked well but Harry doesn't like it at all so we use a harness.

Ragged Robin said...

Looks a beautiful walk - would so like to spend some time in the New Forest. We've only ever driven through en route to the IofW ferry from Lymington!

Your new dog looks lovely.