17/01/2017

A Love Letter to the New Forest

Taking five with a flask of hot chocolate in the New Forest
You know that scene in Almost Famous when Kate Hudson’s Penny Lane tells Patrick Fugit that, whenever she’s feeling lonely, she goes to the record store to visit her friends? Said friends being in the form of a collection of 7” vinyls. Well, for me, whenever I’m feeling down, stressed or lonely, I seek refuge in the New Forest. As someone who spends most of her days at a desk, I savour these resplendent moments in a haven that almost feels like a second home to me now. 

And yet there’s still so much waiting to be explored.

There’s nothing quite like basking in the morning sunlight that escapes from between the trees and cascades streams of light, as if to tend to new life hidden amongst its expanse of green, or finally taking the leads off of your eager pups and watching them run uninhibited as you share their elation at finding freedom, even if for just for an hour or two.
And with each season, the forest brings with it something new for each and every incomparable month.

Wrapping up in a multitude of layers, throwing on my wellies and filling a flask to the hilt with a hot chocolate to take on our travels can’t be compared to seeing the early blooms of spring, just as packing up the car boot with a picnic and soaking up the sunshine can’t be compared to the reds, oranges and yellows of falling crisp leaves that paint the forest in an array of colour during the autumn months.

Knowing that the New Forest is within close reach is a thought that reassures me on a daily basis. Should I need a moment to take five, or if I’m feeling the pressures of everyday life becoming a little to much to bear, we simply load up the car and go. The moment that I step foot on a forest floor of leaves and feel the snapping of branches beneath my feet, all of my trivial anxieties fade as I breathe in that fresh air and appreciate what nature has always had to offer.

Each day, I find myself facing emails, social media and the inevitable feeling of not being good enough. Switching off from the outside world, where no one mentions deadlines, bills or life’s expectations, is a retreat for the mind.

What could be more humbling than standing before a Sequoia Tree at over 200 years old and 51m tall in the beautiful Rhinefield Ornamental Drive? Or catching sight of a pure white deer daintily dancing it's way between the trees near Anderwood? Or watching as horses serenely mind their own business in Burley as you make your way through their familiar ground?

With this in mind, I remind myself everyday of how lucky I am to live a stones throw away from this National Park, which is not only a sight to behold but steeped with such a fascinating history. This is well as having a fiancee who's lifelong appreciation with the great outdoors, and a current ambition to become a forest ranger, has only added to my own love of this beautiful spot in Hampshire.

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