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Winter sunshine and a naked man in the New Forest

On my way home from a busy day, it was too nice not to pull on my walking boots and wrap up for a stroll before the sun set.

It was fresh! But my wander across Wilverley plain was my only intention, until the landscape sucked me in and like a good friend that leads you astray, it tempted me to stay out longer than intended! The sundrenched plain was a joy to wander as happy dogs were playing and chasing, and some took the time to come and say hi.

I could feel the cold down into my lungs as I took deep refreshing breaths. I was drawn towards the vibrant yellow of the gorse flower against the blue sky and before I knew it, I had left the plain and entered Markway inclosure, but I am glad I did! The lowering, golden sunlight bounced through the bare trees where I was joined by songthrush and fieldfares and the distant rumble of the A35 was soon swallowed up by the far more welcoming sound of the gentle sway of the trees.

It wasn't long before I was back out on the open heath. Through squinted eyes, I could see for miles across the bright blue and golden landscape were deer bounced amongst the heather.

My path started to take me downhill towards duckhole bog and I had to stand and take it in for a moment. The water was glistening in that moment of contemplating on turning to ice and a gentle rustle could be heard from the shifting reeds where the sun gave a last bounce of gold off the still water before it started to lower behind the trees.

As the sun is thinking about bedtime, the temperature dropped and a reminder to head back, but not before I stopped to see the naked man tree, or should I say, site of...

I haven't stopped here for a very long time, and there is no evidence of the old oak tree now, just the heavy ivy that once was a companion to the tree and a young oak growing alongside the old stump.

I wonder if this is an off-spring of the old naked man, or a planted tree? Either way, it looks healthy and has big shoes (or should I say roots) to fill.

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