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Minstead - wild and ancient

A lovely stroll through Minstead today. There is something "feel-good" about this New Forest village with its wild hedges, ancient oaks and quiet lanes.

It was good to see lots of visitors heading into Furzey Gardens to admire the beautiful grounds, buy plants and treat themselves to a cuppa and cake. I passed by and headed down the wild and ancient woodland track which offered glimpses of small holdings and well used paddocks offering that unforgettable 'horse smell.'

Back on the lanes the cottages are crooked and charming with fruit laden trees and wild hedges draped in hops and blackberries.

Back off the road and onto another footpath taking me towards the church. Trees of hazel hugged the narrow path and cows chewed the cud in the adjacent field. I took time to wander round the beautiful graveyard and sat with Arthur Conan Doyle for a while under the majestic oak tree.

After a quick visit to Minstead Community shop I continued down quiet rural lanes admiring olde worlde dwellings with a confusion of wild foliage in the uncut hedges.

I think there was something flowering, seeding, fruiting or budding from every season. Poor nature, so confused!!

As the tarmac lane lined with ancient oaks became gravel and holly holm, I caught a glimpse of a roe deer roaming the track ahead. I stepped behind a tree not to startle him and admired his bright chestnut coat until a car started rumbling up the lane where he set into flight!

And of course, you can't have a visit to Minstead without bumping into the charismatic donkeys.

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