Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dorset Day 2 - Hide & seek in the New Forest

Woke up to the noise of rain sousing the window and I knew immediately, I was not going to get a sunrise shot. So after a leisurely breakfast we decided to take a trip to the New Forest, thinking either the weather might be slightly better inland, or perhaps the trees might offer us some flimsy protection from the deluge.

On the way there we stopped at Kingston Lacy, the two and a half mile avenue of grand beech trees that forms part of the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy Estate. It was planted in 1835 as a gift to his mother Frances by William John Bankes and was the main driveway to their house at Kingston Lacy. The avenue is now reaching the end of its natural life, as beeches only last around 200 years, plus these have had to contend with pollution from traffic on this busy road, so a number of mature trees are being felled each year for safety reasons.

The traffic was pretty much non-stop, so I used it to my advantage and tried to get some traffic trails going,
plus the light was very glum, which didn't show off the trees to their best advantage.

It was quite a dingy day, so most of the cars had their headlights on, which is good or the shots wouldn't
have worked. Obviously.
Looking along the outside of the trees. The small trees you can see on the far left of the picture are
Hornbeams. The National Trust have planted these to replace the beech avenue, chosen because they will
give the same seasonal colour and shape as the beech trees but are more tolerant of difficult conditions.
A gaggle of branches reach out from these magnificent trees.

We decided to take two cars, as I would be heading home afterwards, and Sarah would be returning to Swanage to prepare for the weekend workshop. It was a decision made of sound reasoning, yet, in ways that no one could foresee, it would end up costing us our lives.

No of course it wouldn’t, but it would be a pain in the arse, or more specifically, another pain in the arse, as the day had a few lined up for us. The first of them loomed into view as we cantered past Bournemouth. The traffic, already quite slow because of the driving rain, became a crawl, thanks, as it turned out, to an accident on the outskirts of the forest.

We looked at making some detours, I say we, but as we were in separate cars with practically non-existent mobile connectivity, it was more like two I’s. What made it more difficult is that we hadn’t decided at all where in the forest to go, so we couldn’t even meet up at a pre-determined rendezvous point.

Further up the road I spotted Sarah parked up in a layby so I followed suit, and we created our plan of attack. It was a good plan with many outstanding features to it, it was a thorough and well constructed plan, it was a plan that was both concise and yet comprehensive. And it was a plan that any sane person would be rightly proud of.

There was just one problem, it would rely very heavily on me being able to carry it out to the letter, an undertaking that always highlights one of my inherent flaws. Namely my scopious dunderheadedness. We had decided to come off at the next exit, as it would take us more or less into the forest, but for reasons I can’t fully explain now, it occurred to me after setting off again, that it might be better to carry on up the A31 and then back down to Lyndhurst.

So as I was consulting the map, to better understand my curious speculations, I drove straight past the exit, while Sarah, who was several cars behind me, quite rightly took it. This left us in somewhat of a pickle, as I’m sure you can imagine. To cut a long story slightly less long, after faffing about for what seemed like ages, and getting stuck in traffic this way and that, we finally met up and declared it high time for lunch. Half the day had disappeared and we hadn’t done anything as yet.

As it happens my plan to go to Lyndhurst was a terrible one. I ended up there at one point in my ill advised digression and every road into it was choc a block with cars, I don’t know if it was because it was half-term or what, but everyone seemed inexplicably drawn to this little town. Maybe that explained my puzzling desire to visit it?

Once lunch was dispatched we found a car park and went for a walk. It was nice, but there wasn’t a great deal of colour around. The last time I came to the New Forest in autumn it was absolutely ablaze with yellows and oranges, so this was a bit of a disappointment. It was still pleasant to wander around, if a bit boggy.

I tried to find what smatterings of colour  I could.
The dead ferns were the most colourful things in the forest at this time. 
I stumbled across this young tree in its full autumnal glory after a bit of a walk into the forest.
More ferns, and an old log.
This fallen tree was looking quite spooky in a dark corner of the forest. I have dismally failed to capture any
aspect of that feeling in this image.

After a couple of hours it was time head back to the cars, as Sarah needed to be in Swanage to meet the group who were arriving that evening, and if the traffic was still bad, it could take a while. And to be honest, what with the damp weather and the lack of colour I was in no mood to hang around for much longer. So we stopped in the outskirts of Lyndhurst to have a coffee before parting ways, and I headed back home. All in all the day had been a bit of a washout which was a shame.

Back to day 1


  1. Love the first two images of the car trails, very effective.
    With the 'failure' of the feeling of spookiness/moodiness in the last pic, are you working on it in Photoshop?; could result in something quite extraordinary if you're willing to experiment!
    PS: Less is always more, including the text!!

    1. Thanks Janina, glad you like the images. Yes i played about with the last photo a little bit, but there was not much i could do with it, bit of a lost cause. Sorry you think there's too much text! I quite enjoy writing, so i end up with quite a bit.