What a "lovey" walk today, from smugglers Road, walking the footsteps of Lovey Warnes who was written into the history books of the New Forest for assisting her brothers with their smuggling trade.
Fast forward 200 years and the walk still boasts farfetched views across the forest as far as the purbecks on a clear day. The only authorities to be seen on the forest these days are for the welfare of the forest and not checking cloaks and bloomers for silks, liqueur or other contraband!
The aroma and bright blooms of the gorse-lined path brought my attention back to today on the warm morning breeze. Cuckoos called in the distance and skylarks sung so high in the sky they were just a dot amongst the blue.
Ponies grazed the vast patchwork landscape of gorse, wildflower and unfurling bracken where Stonechats and chaffinch kept me company on the long path ahead until I was distracted by a beautiful rowan tree just off the path laden with blossom and perfectly browsed. So beautiful, standing alone amongst the heather and bracken I had to go and stand beneath the heady aroma and delicate blooms.
Across the heath I made my way towards Ridley wood and for a while I sat amongst the ancient wild wood.
Old boughs and gnarly trees tell stories of the illegal trade markets that took place here in days gone by. A peacock butterfly came to join me as we warmed our faces together sat on this weary bough amongst the dappled glades under the lime green of young beech leaves. I raised a smile as 2 old beech trees are locked in a caress surrounded by young saplings and bilberry carpets.
My steady walk back to the car through sandy tracks was surrounded by calls of lapwings and curlews while common Lizards sunned themselves sheltered from the breeze before round barrows and hillfort came back in to sight on this old, wild landscape.
A great start to the day!