Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The New Forest in winter

As residents of Lyndhurst my family and I do try to make the most of our free time by enjoying the things that the New Forest has to offer.  A lot of the time we try to experience new things and places, but also we have our favorites and also the close by things, that we tend do on a more regular basis.

The unpredictable thing about living here is that you never quite know what the weather is going to throw at you and the last two weekends sum that up nicely.
Friday 11th Jan 2013

The weather in Lyndhurst was absolutely gorgeous and almost warm enough to go out without a coat.  It appeared that spring had most definitely sprung.  I had seen snowdrops, primroses and violets all in bloom in my garden and the birds were singing away happily.  After I dropped my youngest off to Pre-school I had a sudden urge to go out and enjoy a few hours alone in the forest.  I decided that it was time for my bicycles first outing of the year.  Not really sure of how far I could go in the 2 hours that I had available I opted for the closest route.  I cycled from Acorns (Shrubbs Hill Gardens) to Beechen Lane and then picked up the cycle track 267 from there.  Following it along to I believe,  post 283, I then headed back towards Lyndhurst via Boltons Bench.  The whole journey took me about an hour and I was going slowly looking for wildlife and taking photo's.  It was so peaceful and refreshing to be out there in the sunshine and fresh air with hardly anyone else around.  Some areas were a little wet and muddy but in general it was ok.  
There was a slightly disappointing lack of wildlife, however I did pass a really cute horse and trap which involved a tiny Shetland pony.  
With this being the first cycle of the year, the hills were a bit hard work and I must admit I gave in extremely easily, but I felt so much better for doing the exercise.  I was rather pleased with myself. 
It was such a good experience that I dragged all the family out to do the same circuit on Sunday, as the weather was lovely again.  This time it involved Sophie trying out the Trailgator for the first time and also Isabelle cycling the entire route on her own, as she no longer had the option of the Trailgator.  Another very successful afternoon out.

Friday 18th Jan
Well, to say it was the other extreme was not an exaggeration. 

 Woke up to about 3" of snow!  It had been forecast but it still is a bit of a surprise when you wake up to it.  The schools were closed and Fred was at home, so the only thing to do was - go sledging.  
Off to Bolton's Bench the highest point in Lyndhurst and extremely popular in the snow.  The whole village and many more (even the tv camera's) turn out to make the most of the snow.  I have to say that my track record with sledging is not so good, it usually ends up with an injury.  This year has been no different!  My first run down the slope ended up with me flipping over backwards down the hill and hurting my back.  A little shook up from that I decided that maybe I should just watch while the others really enjoyed themselves.  After a lunch break we went back to the sledging and this time I did manage a few runs without getting hurt, and regained my confidence - ready for the next day.
Saturday was not actually as good for sledging as it had gone a bit thin through over use so we headed home and made a snowman in the garden. 

Sunday however, was fantastic.  There had been quite a hard frost over night so the layer of ice on top of the snow made for some fast runs down the hill.  Much more fun and a lot less people around.  All in all a great weekend had been had by all and we were all completely worn out.

You just can't beat winter in the New Forest.
Mel B