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Posts Tagged ‘the new forest’

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
― Henry Ford

The simple answer is you can’t. They are un-tameable un-trainable beings! Whilst this much is true in some respects, they are equally quirky, delightful and intriguing. I spent the majority of the day travelling through the New Forest with a colleague to various meetings and made the mistake of stopping off in the National Park for  a quick email catch up.

Within minutes I was surrounded with ponies, and unable to drive off. It was amusing. And quite photogenic. I had already loaded the car with my camera equipment because I knew it was going to be a long day and I’d likely have to snap for the 365 project at the end of it.

So, I sat back and enjoyed the mayhem for a bit. Then I started to get a bit more worried as the time drew nearer to head off for the meeting! Luckily we made it though and it seems to be a given that the New Forest is difficult to travel through at the best of times.

After that mini adventure, we crossed the Forest to get to another area and in a small back lane stumbled across another herd. They were blocking the road completely – and since my experience with them is very limited, I had no idea what to do.

How many humans does it take to clear a road of a few ponies? Approximately seven actually, and even then it wasn’t perfect! But as I said before, it’s quirky and it’s the New Forest so you have to forgive it some things.

If you’re intrigued as to the History behind the Ponies here is a short excerpt from Wikipedia.. “All ponies grazing on the New Forest are owned by New Forest commoners – people who have “rights of common of pasture” over the Forest lands. An annual marking fee is paid for each animal turned out to graze. The population of ponies on the Forest has fluctuated in response to varying demand for youngstock. Numbers fell to fewer than six hundred in 1945 but have since risen steadily, and thousands now run loose in semi-feral conditions.”

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“Plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.”
― Ken Kesey

I spent the day at Exbury Gardens in the New Forest – it was more beautiful than I expected. I know that it’s famous for the Autumn leaves and orange/red/brown hues in the season, but I didn’t quite expect it to be so photogenic in the Summer. (Summer, yes it apparently is Summer). The company was pretty fantastic too!

The gardens are set in 200 acres of land and were cultivated (if that’s the right word) by Lord Rothschild. Apparently he is responsible for most of the Rhododendrons (yes spelled right first time!) Azaleas, Camellias and other randomly rare trees and shrubs that are around today. The website entices you to Exbury to escape the cares of the world for a little while, and actually it does work!

I found the perfect quote to go with today’s blogs, but it did make me realize that whilst I enjoy browsing the internet (sometimes) for quotes, I think I need a book of them. If anyone has any reccomendations for decent books of assorted quotes then I will gratefully investigate! The problem is that I’m not just looking for inspiring quotes, or romantic quotes, or motivational – I really do need a mixture!

According to the Exbury website   a visitor once described the gardens as “Heaven with the gates open.” I can’t compare it to a place I’ve never been! But I truly recommend it for the peacefulness, beauty and tranquility. The colours, despite it being a grey summers day mostly, were amazing too.

The estate is so big that if you walk to the very edges, you meet the Beaulieu River (or that patch of marshland until I googled and got the actual name) which offers some lovely views across to the New Forest. It also houses the Exbury Steam Railway. We didn’t venture onto that today, although the tracks were quite accessible oddly enough!

Visiting Exbury does mean that the objects purchased yesterday for photo-graphical purposes have been shelved. But that’s entirely okay because tomorrow is fairly busy, and I know that I’ll need something close to hand to photograph. So standby for my very expensive purchase in the name of photography – tomorrow!

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