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Ibsley common, New Forest

When the weather broke yesterday afternoon, I was itching to get out, but after all the rain I thought it was wise to head to higher ground and Ibsley common never disappoints.

Heading down from Rockford to Moyles Court, the poor old oak looks very sad as he does his best to stand up straight, where the majestic old oak standing the otherside of the road watches over him and encourages him along,

but my attention was soon drawn to the watersplash... or should I say torrent? At two feet high, I couldn't make out water from road and not many vehicles were challenging it!

As I headed onto the footpath where it was quiet and glistening. Not many people had ventured out, but the wildlife was starting to make an appearance in the change of weather. I was accompanied by the constant trickle of water as it ran from the forest and the golden trees and bronzed bracken weighed heavy with raindrops. I was joined by the joyful singing of great tits and robins and a waft of horse aroma (my favourite smell) joined me too from the nearby paddock.

Before too long, I found myself on the puddle-filled Ibsley common. The ponies and cattle had come out from the trees to dry their backs, snooze and graze, and for a while the sun pushed through.

I really feel I was on top of the world as I had surrounding views over the forest and not another person to be seen from any direction. Just the sound of ponies blowing, buzzards calling and the deer rutting. As I meandered across the common the sound of deer got louder, and as I looked down into the valley, there they were. I sat and watched for a while. The two bucks challenged each other and the does stood and watched. I lost count at thirty five.

As I changed direction the low sun was in my eyes, which naturally bought my attention to the ground. Fungi of all shapes,colours and sizes peppered the landscape,

but while I was taking a picture a galloping of hooves could be heard thundering towards me. I squinted into the sun and two girls appeared on horses racing across the common. The pure joy on their faces and adrenaline in the horses made me envious for just a moment. What memories!

I felt myself slowing as I knew I was getting closer to the end of my walk and I was having such an experience out there I didn't want the feeling to go. I took a damp seat on the bench by Whitefield plantation. What a view and what a feeling. It always has a pull here for me to stop and reflect. I took time to sip my coffee and to have gratitude for the joys that have accompanied me on my walk. My mind drifted off into the farfetched views and time slipped away, until I could see those rain clouds rolling in once more. My cue to head back with a heart full of joy and a mind full of peace.

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