Winter walk at Fritham.

A lovely winter walk which I haven't done for a while. Parking up at Fritham this walk took me through the ancient woodland of island thorns inclosure, the easy walking on the gravel tracks allowed me to enjoy "looking up" at the impressive trees showering me in the last of their autumnal leaves as the gentle breeze weaved it's way though the boughs and throwing a glitter of colour into a grey day. Squirrels are frantically stocking up for the colder months methodically digging and burying along the verges of the ride. An advantage of the bare branches is that the birds become more visable hopping from branch to branch picking out insects from the moss and ivy as they go. While tuning into the sound of the dropping, dry leaves a robin burst into song, all puffed up and proud of his melody it would have been rude not to stop and listen! Just after halfway of my morning walk stands a beautifully carved bench in commemoration of Eric Ashby. Seems like an ideal spot to stop and open the flask. Just "being" for a moment, me, my warm tea, nature and the cool breeze on my face. And before I knew it a moment turned into 15 moments.

Time to get walking again before the chill takes hold. Soon the sound of rustling dry leaves dropping from the sky disappeared almost in an instant as I leave behind the ancient broadleaf trees of island thorns and step into the conifer woodland of Amberwood. The atmosphere changed completely as it became quieter with these immense conifers sheltering me from the breeze. It became dense and even my steps were quieter as my path of dried leaves and gravel turned into discarded pine needles which was accompanied by that unbeatable aroma. Treecreepers sculked up and down the gnarly bark and I caught a glimpse of two large fallow bucks moving amongst the decaying bracken and the shadow of the trees. With the lack of people, and the quietness and softness of the landscape I could feel a real deep connection of my surroundings but as I went through the gate out onto Fritham plain, my meditative state was soon whipped away with the cold wind of the open heath and stepping aside for cyclists that were on a mission! But felt blessed by the beautiful views across the forest on my short walk in the open landscape back to the busy carpark.



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