Friday, 19 February 2016

Different geology

I know I said I wouldn't have time for another post before I go skiing, but I couldn't go without updating you all on my last outing - this time to Rockford Common in the New Forest.

It's part of the Northern Commons owned and managed by the National Trust, as opposed to the Crown lands managed by the Forestry Commission. The smaller areas have a slightly different grazing regime, providing closely-grazed turf interspersed with larger blocks of gorse.

But it's the approach to the main carpark that's pretty impressive to begin with - it's right besides a deep sand pit, which was used to extract gravel. This vastly-different geology to Salisbury (chalk), is very evident when walking in the area, especially following all this rain. The upper sand and gravels are quickly eroded into gulleys, exposing the clays beneath, making walking slightly hazardous! Nevertheless, the paths meander through heathland, grassland and clumps of silver birch and Scots pine, with great vistas. And following the rains, and in the glorious sunshine, the light reflecting off the puddles was beautiful.

Right, I'm really off this time!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Calm between storms

It is certainly a weather rollercoaster at the moment. I managed to get out last weekend up to Grovely Wood, and then Storm Imogen struck on Monday. This resulted in me stuck on the A35 for an hour as part of it was shut around Dorchester due to flooding!

Thankfully, Thursday was a beautiful day for meeting up with a friend in the Forest - we walked around Canada common near Wellow on the edge of the Forest. You could certainly see the flood storage use of this large area - indeed, much of the Forest is flooded at the moment with Brockenhurst pretty much an island!

The Forest is well placed to act as a sponge, protecting the many surrounding urban areas from flooding, soaking up the copious amounts of rainfall we've been having this winter, and holding it back from the towns and villages. This property could be even more valued in the future, as climate change is predicted to see even greater fluctuations in our weather - the irony of predicted weather being even more unpredictable!

And so, once more, into yet another band of wind and rain. It always seems to time its impact for when I'm crossing the Town Path in Salisbury at the weekend, resulting in much bedragglement and rustling of full top-to-toe waterproofs whilst shopping.

I'm off skiing for the next couple of weekends, so there'll be a bit of a hiatus in posts - a bit of a contrast to the winter here!