Sunday, 20 November 2016

Finally at Fritham

A couple of weeks ago, we had attempted to head for Fritham in the New Forest, but road closure meant an unexpected stop at Bentley Wood! There's nothing quite like the New Forest in autumn so second time lucky for our visit last Sunday through Eyeworth Wood.

Although extremely squelchy underfoot, the colours above us were spectacular, with bright yellows and oranges of beech mingling with the dull russet of oak, together with glossy dark green of holly. It was particularly noticeable how the grazing animals had impacted on the holly - almost forming it into a neat topiary-like cube!

The dead wood formed not only valuable habitat for a wide variety of invertebrate species, but also sculpturesque poses, exposed timber weathered into smooth abstract patterns.

We were in danger of not getting back before dark, which meant we needed to head off the path and across the Open Access land to hopefully pick up a path back. Thankfully - and for once - this succeeded and we were soon on our way back, passing over the Latchmore Brook (see for latest news on wetland proposals - very disappointing) and next to ancient Anglo Saxon boundary banks and ditches.

It's amazing to be walking amongst such an ancient landscape - and although the carpark was busy, we barely encountered anyone on our walk. With the passing of Storm Angus, most leaves will now have dropped, making this the last time this year to really experience the dramatic kaleidoscope.

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