My local church Christ church Emery Down, organise a monthly walk for the local community. In the current lockdown I was asked to write about the walk to do my best to bring it to the community so here it is...
This week our Legs & Co walk is guided by New Forest Nature and Nurture.
Arriving at Barrow Moor car park, at first glance it could be mistaken for a place where ancient trees come to die by the standing dead wood and crumbling wood piles, but on closer inspection life is bursting from these old, tired forest guardians. New shoots stretching to the sun out of the nutrients of the old dying timber and an array of different sized and shaped holes from beetles and woodpeckers making use of the decaying wood.
Crossing the road and continuing onto the inclosure track the crisp, lime green beech leaves that edged my path with a backdrop of straight, tall conifers are aesthetically pleasing to the eye with small white, brimstone and speckled wood butterflies fluttering between the dappled glades.
While a cuckoo called in the distant my attention was suddenly drawn to a crow alarm calling from the blue sky alerting the forest to a predator and sure enough, a fox trotted across my path up ahead.
Heading back across the unusually quiet and empty Bolderwood Ornamental Drive back into Wooson and Mark Ash inclosures the ponies and fallows quietly grazed in the warm sun and the mixed woodland returned to ancient Beech and Oaks with an understory of Holly, which is just starting to show signs of flowering. Some of the Hollies look as if they are supporting the larger broadleaves as they grow beneath. The landscape of these old trees is only broken up by the odd apple tree or Rowan both in full blossom. While admiring these ancient pollarded trees I could hear the demanding calls from a nest as Blue Tits dashed to feed their brood who are safely tucked away in a tree hole while a Great Tit was collecting materials for its nest.
Even though we are all on lockdown and cannot enjoy the walk together, be reassured nature is taking time to breathe and flourish without our many footsteps and when we return to nature together with a renewed appreciation, Mother Nature will be even more beautiful and abundant than before.