Yesterday morning I dropped the children at school and headed over to Hatchet Pond, just outside of Beaulieu. Hatchet Pond is the largest body of water in the New Forest and makes for a really satisfying early morning walk. Created in the 18th Century to provide power for an iron mill, the pond today is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a rich diversity of plant and animal life including leeches and floating-leaved bur-reed and provides valuable habitats for wildlife and bream, carp, roach and tench can be found in the pond itself, whilst herons, ducks, swans and of course New Forest ponies can be found hanging around too.
After parking in the ample Forestry Commission car park I headed off and it wasn't long before I found my first frost of Autumn.
I had almost forgotten how satisfyingly crunchy frost is underfoot - and how lovely warm sun is on ones face on a chilly Autumn day.
Half way round Hatchet Pond I rekindled my long lost love-hate relationship with boggy marsh - the thrill of hopping from one mossy tuft to another mixed with the momentary pang of 'bugger, I may well be stuck'.
And then I made a friend...
I scuttled off quick smart, remembering the time I got knocked over by one of the 'ever-so-sweet' New Forest ponies. There's only one thing more deadly that a pony when one is out on a morning constitutional. Swans.
I escaped unscathed, such is my cunning guile. A lovely walk which demands welly boots at this time of year. Perfect for clearing your head and reminding yourself just why you love the New Forest so much. Until next time Hatchet Pond.