Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Forest

We spent Saturday night and part of today in the New Forest, at the weekend home of Scott's friend Sam. Situated on England's south central coast, the New Forest comprises 45,000 acres of woodland, heaths, bogs and shoreline and is the largest remaining area of lowland heath in Europe. William the Conqueror established it as a medieval hunting forest in the 1100s, and it has been shaped by centuries of grazing livestock including the New Forest's famed wild ponies, which roam everywhere and, we discovered, are actually quite tame.

Owing to a late start on Saturday compounded by traffic, we spent just under 24 hours there, and so we did not adequately explore the area. It's really a shame because I love winter hiking--the air is crisp and envigorating, and the landscape is stark and muted, beautiful in a way that summer's showiness can't match.

But we did have a chance to take a short walk this morning along the Beaulieu River, and on our drive out of town were able to make friends with at least one pony who was grazing on the roadside:

He liked the apple I gave him so much, he ambled across the road to and stood by the car hoping for another (we obliged).

We also met a very sleepy donkey in the village of Beaulieu, located within the New Forest. He apparently wanders down from the heath to the high street and stands around hoping, I assume, for a snack. The shopkeepers shoe him away when he blocks their storefronts, but otherwise no one seems to pay him much mind. I gave him an apple (I couldn't resist) and a scratch behind the ear.


Bklyn Bunny said...

...and why would you ever consider moving back to the United States?

stephen said...

You're like the beastmaster. From Bayonne. Bayonne Beastmaster.

CC said...

all it takes is a couple of apples....