Ashdown Forest in late June

First light exposes the tall pines on the ridge; dawn is warm with no mist in the valleys that run down off the high heathland plateau or dew drenching the purple moor grass, heather and bracken. Midsummer arrives to the sound of churring nightjars and fluting song thrushes. A cock pheasant is caught in theContinue reading “Ashdown Forest in late June”

Ashdown Forest

The electric fencing below Gills Lap holds in a handful of Exmoor ponies that have heads deep in great gorse bushes; their mouths are wide and blunt, toughened to browse the rough grasses, rushes and even the spiky gorse. They are in immaculate health in their thick tan brown and white coats and gold-flecked darkContinue reading “Ashdown Forest”

Postcard from the Suffolk Coast

On a fine day, the narrow, shingle edge that shelters the great reed bed in the wide valley between the villages of Dunwich and Walberswick is one of the great coastal walks. There is a distant view of Southwold to the north across the bay. To the south, beyond the pretty houses and abbey ruins ofContinue reading “Postcard from the Suffolk Coast”

North End of the Forest

The wide valley runs alongside a narrow stream for many miles, overlooked by barren hills and dark enclosures of pine and oak. The water runs to the west to feed into the river Avon and the low hills rise and fall to the north, dressed in green and purple, a former Royal hunting ground and for centuries aContinue reading “North End of the Forest”