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A glorious winter stroll in the New Forest.

What a stunning day! I hope you all have the opportunity to make the most of it as I am?

Setting out after the stubborn fog the winter sun starts to thaw the ground and animals are coming out from the sheltering trees to warm their backs. Ponies and donkeys are grazing the grassland and grooming eachother as their coats finally dry. Fallow bucks snooze in between the sun trapped gorse thinking they are going unnoticed and would have done if it wasn't for their elaborate headgear!

The puddled landscape reflects the beautiful blue skies and enhancing the tones of the winter heath. The many pools past are glass-like and preparing for an imminent explosion of spawn. Turning my back to the sun I watch a flock of lapwings pass overhead and the red kite who is a regular visitor to these parts give a display.

Heading into woodland the trees are spectacular and ancient with many a story to tell. I love these old trees in winter showing their full and naked beauty as the sun bounces off their curves and contours while redwings rest in the branches looking over the heath.

Heading back out into the warming sun of the heath the flowering gorse brought another jewel of colour to my walk and to add to my delight, I bumped into an old friend. A very healthy shetland pony that Phil and I watched come into this world many years ago on the forest tucked up against a bramble bush. We fondly know her as Blackberry and she can't be mistaken by her distinctive markings. It is joyous being here on such a glorious day, so much so, I am writing this while sitting in the sun of the heath accompanied by a pair of bullfinches foraging amongst the gorse thats when I am not being mesmerised by the gently swaying webs across the grass and heather illuminated by the low sun so I may just stay here a longer!

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