My car is back on the road and so for this afternoon’s walk we’re released from the beauty of Shobley and Linford (which we love) to venture a little further away again. We head off to park at Vereley and walk down to Ridley Wood, out to walk a little of Sir Dudley’s Ride and then back through Harvest Slade Bottom around the top of Ridley Wood and back up to Vereley. A walk of around three and a half miles.
Initially it is so overcast that there really wasn’t much to photograph, but as we reach Harvest Slade Bottom the sun comes out.
Across Harvest Slade Bottom towards Ridley Plain – Ridley Wood is on the left.
Leaves of water plants in the stream that runs through Harvest Slade Bottom.
The first Common Spotted Orchid I’ve seen this year.
At the top end of Ridley Wood, the path is carpeted with Blaeberrys – lush in the late afternoon sunshine.
The flies are bothering this New Forest Pony and she gives a good shake to rid herself of them.
This old ditch at the entrance to Ridley Wood was apparently once used by smugglers to sell their contraband having brought it up from the coast through the myriad pathways of the Forest – read more about smugglers in the Forest on the Smugglers Britain website. This tangle of tree roots hang out over the old market place. I always wonder whether this tree was around when they plied their illegal trade.
Panning out a bit, todays visitors have found different uses for the overhanging trees and the ditch!
The Smugglers Market Place from the woodland end.
I love this old tree, it is still growing but the trunk is completely hollow..
Looking back over the heathland towards Sir Dudleys Ride.
Zooming in a bit, that’s the ride crossing the picture in front of the wood.
Rhododendron illuminated by the late sun.