Photos

For photos of previous years, please see the Menu on the left.

2019 Tilshead

Disabled Ramblers Wiltshire Tour - Tilshead & Copehill Down - Friday 24th May 2019. A different part of Salisbury Plain and completely different from the day before, more rugged - mainly due to tank activity on the paths and tracks which when dried out by the sun make for a rather bumpy ride! 12 scooters booked but 1 cancellation so 11 of us set out from the Water Tower (we only just missed Steven Spielberg filming with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, on the reccy there was plenty of activity, but they didn’t ask us to take part in the film!). We were accompanied on the ramble by James Nevitt the Senior Access & Recreation Advisor to the MOD on Salisbury Plain, plus two of his colleagues and they were very helpful in answering any questions we had about the area. We went along the edge of a longbarrow which is very ancient and dates back to between 5,000 and 3,000 BC or thereabouts and is a protected ancient monument, this path was very like a switchback and in the winter would be impassable for us due to the deep hollows being filled with water, but this time of year it is dry. The MOD is very mindful of not damaging this area and we had a very interesting talk from one of Jame’s colleagues, an archaeologist attached to the MOD, and he gave a very detailed outline of the history of the Longbarrow which held everybody’s attention for half an hour or more, from there we progressed along the tracks to Copehill Village which is a military training area, specially built so that the soldiers can learn how to attack houses and climb in and out of windows while carrying all their accoutrements etc. as safely as is possible in wartime situations. There are 88 houses there of all shapes and sizes, and we had a talk by Andy a serving soldier about the activities that take place there, it is the largest training area in the country being about as big as the Isle of Wight. The tanks can cross the Plain from one side to the other on their training exercises. We were a little disappointed because there was supposed to be an exercise taking place but it was silent, so obviously there had been a change of plan. We scared them off I think!! Some beautiful flowers today - when we arrived I saw a member of the orchid family, a white heleborine (which I had never seen before), during the day we saw birds foot trefoil, many species of vetch and a beautiful pink plant called Sainfoin (member of the pea family), rather like a dainty lupin. The butterfly in the photos is a Marsh Fritillary, and up there on the Plain there is also a good colony of the dainty blue butterfly family, especially later in the summer. By now it was way past lunch time, so we went on to a wood we knew and where we could get some much needed shade and had a late lunch before setting on back to the car park. I think during the two days the group did exceedingly well as both rambles were very challenging and were, perhaps, slightly more than a Cat 3. It is so difficult to get it exactly right, but congratulations to all you who came - you were marvellous! Many thanks, as ever, to Veronica, John B, P & P, and the walkers and volunteers who are always there to help when needed. Thanks also to James and his colleagues from the MOD for their help before and during the ramble. Val and Bob.

May 19  - Tidworth

Disabled Ramblers Wiltshire Tour - Ramble 1907/Salisbury Plain - Tidworth Tracks & Byeways - Thursday 23rd May 2019 After weeks of worrying we were so lucky to have perfect weather for this very scenic and lovely ramble over the many tracks, byeways and hills around the garrison town of Tidworth. We had 15 scooters booked but 1 cancellation due to a nasty cold that has been doing the rounds. This is a deceptive ramble with two or three very steep hills en route. We left the car park across a lovely level green sward but soon reached the first of the steep slopes on loose gravelly scree which lead to the trig point overlooking the barracks of Tidworth, with lovely views all round. We then progressed across the hill towards the worst of the slopes, which when approaching it looks almost impossible, but once going up it’s not nearly so bad and all of the group managed it amazingly well, with no problem - so I needn’t have worried after all! We had a lovely lunch stop and you could take your choice - either have a fantastic view all over the valley or go into the lovely cool wood with plenty of shade, which was very welcome. When we did the reccy for this ramble this wood was completely overtaken by soldiers doing an exercise complete with gunfire, but today it was peaceful and tranquil. On the way home we took a short cut down a track we had reccied, without incident, but today, unfortunately, the leader toppled off the middle verge into the deep trench at the side and had to be valiantly rescued by Pete and John B. No damage done either to the Tramper or rider, so all was well, only hurt pride - first time in 10 years that it’s happened, so not a bad record! Nobody else did the same trick I am pleased to say. A super ramble, and great group - harder than any of us expected but we all managed excellently. Val and Bob.

May 19 Shearwater to Heaven's Gate

Shearwater to Heavens Gate Day 2 of the Wiltshire tour took us to Shearwater Lake on the Longleat Estate. We had once again a good turnout of 17 scooters and 12 walkers. We also had beautiful weather and the sun made the lake and surrounding area look very pretty. The ramble started by the lake and we then went up into the woods, where we found a nice spot for coffee. This was interrupted by a very large lorry carrying lots of log. We were all amazed at how the lorry managed to get down the small paths of the woods. After coffee we carried on up to the car park at Heavens Gate. We carried on across the road into the start of the Capability Brown designed arboretum. We stopped for a brief talk on Heavens Gate and the stone sculptures. The sculptures were designed by Paul Norris for the Millennium. Heavens Gate is the view point. It shows amazing views over Longleat House and gardens as well as on a good day across to Somerset. We were not disappointed. We stopped there for lunch and to give everyone a chance to take photos. After group photos and food, we headed back down through the woods. Finishing up at the café, for coffees and cakes. Thank you to all who helped to make this a fabulous day. Paula

2019 Stourhead

Wiltshire National Rambles – Stourhead 20.04.2019 We started the ramble from the National Trust Stourhead car park. Although the weather was meant to be wet, we were very fortunate to have a sunny day. This was the first time I had led a national ramble and I was a little nervous to say the least. We had a good turn out of 17 scooters and 12 walkers. The first part was on a short bit of road. We headed up onto the land surrounding the gardens and house. Passing by a pretty water wheel and swans nesting. The morning route took us up through the forestry up to King Alfred’s Tower. We stopped here for lunch and photographs. The tower was built to commemorate the ending of the 7-year war. Building started in 1769. The name derived from King Alfred the Great and the location is meant to be on the site near to where Egberts stone was. It is believed to be the spot when in 878 King Alfred rallied the Saxons to the battle of Ethundan. After lunch we headed towards the Stourhead House. On the way we went through a field of ewes and lambs, we were greeted very noisily by them, some were brave enough to take a peek of one of the Trampers. We ended the ramble in front of the house. Everyone had a good day and I had survived and found it to be an enjoyable and fun day. Paula Brunt

2019 Regional Angmering Bluebells

Southern Regional Rambles - Angmering Bluebell Ramble - Friday 3rd May 2019. In spite of a bad weather forecast our ramble day dawned cloudy but dry, we were lucky to have the use of the overflow “bluebell” car park which made it much easier to park and unload, so 9 of us departed from Dover Lane up through the fields to the beautiful beech woods to see the carpets of bluebells. We had a really super crowd along for this ramble and it was a very nice atmosphere all day. The beech trees were resplendent in fresh green spring foliage and made a pretty sight with the blue carpet of bluebells beneath, Roger commented that he’d like to come in the Autumn as it would be equally spectacular with the changing colours. The route is through the Angmering Estate woods, on public bridleways and paths, but it can be extremely muddy. Fortunately, with the dry weather recently we didn’t encounter much mud at all, instead we had really hard, rutted, uneven areas which bounced us about a bit from time to time, but the intrepid gang managed without a single moan. We stopped for coffee near a lovely little coppice where Bob and I got stung by bees on our reccy the day before the ramble, so we kept well away from the bee hives this time. We travelled onward along a little byeway (usually a sea of mud, but now bumpy and quite difficult in places) to the racing stables with their beautiful horses. It’s a lovely estate with a grand house overlooking from the top of a hill. Also on the reccy we saw a kestrel eating its lunch on the path ahead of us, it flew up onto a branch and continued its feast while we watched from the path below. We didn’t see it again on the ramble but did see a few deer running through the woods. One super surprise was from Jadzia and Simon in the form of a delicious Apple Cake which Jadzia had baked the evening before, really tasty - thanks very much, nothing like home made cake. Thanks to all who attended, we had a good turnout - 12 altogether, but 3 cancellations - so we were very pleased. Don’t forget - if you know a good route you’d like to share get in touch with paula@disabledramblers.co.uk and enjoy a really super day out with fellow DRers. Val and Bob.

April19 Bluebells Lyndhurst

Disabled Ramblers -Southern Regional Rambles - Pondhead Bluebells, New Forest - 26th April 2019. Pondhead Inclosure is one of our favourite places, it is now a charity called Pondhead Conservation Trust and is run entirely by volunteers (as is DR of course) with the aim of restoring the hazel coppice, woodland, understorey and track network in order to enhance the public enjoyment of this unique area of New Forest woodland. The birdsong in the woods was wonderful which shows how well the volunteer’s hard work is succeeding and each year they open up a little more of the woodland so that the bluebells can flourish. They do hedge laying, hurdle making, rustic furniture such as chairs, benches etc., pea and bean sticks, charcoal burning which is of the highest quality and some is used by artists for their sketching and large supplies are in great demand from local businesses for barbecues. We parked in central Lyndhurst in order to be able to be near all facilities and it’s only a short trip from there to Bolton’s Bench and then onto Pondhead. The bluebell wood is not huge but is very lovely with the flowers and birdsong all around. From there we went on a woodland path to Beechen Lane, a wide track which leads through beech woods, as you will see from the photos it is very green and lush at present with the canopy of new leaves, to our lunch stop by a really picturesque New Forest meandering stream where it is so peaceful, under huge Alder trees. There was wood sorrel out on the banks, a lovely delicate little woodland flower. Then on up to cross the Beaulieu Road and back to Lyndhurst along the chalky, sandy, rutted Ridge with sweeping views all across the forest. The ramble was a good test for one of our member’s new scooter, a Mayan AC with lithium batteries called “Swampy”. After some teething troubles he is now more than delighted with it. We’ll break him in gently!!! A week of DR nationals would be an eyeopener! Well done, Paul, and Sheila - who coped really well on her new bike bought specially so she can accompany Paul on the rambles. Sadly, we had brought chocolate treats but completely forgot to offer them round so are now forced to eat the lot ourselves, the sacrifices one has to make are endless! A lovely day for us with our DR friends. Val and Bob.

April 19 Bradgate Park..

Bradgate Park Today Michael Miller, friend of member Chris Southwood, joined us and he told us about the history of the area as we rambled alongside the River Lin. Soon we left the road climbing up a grassy track, where the deer were behind the remains of Bradgate House. Our coffee break was at the visitor centre where there I met Peter Tyldesley, Director of Bradgate Park and told him about Disabled Ramblers. We continued on turning left uphill onto a rugged track overlooking Cropston Reservoir with wonderful views over the surrounding countryside, bathed in sunshine. We went into the Memorial Wood, an area for reflection, where beautiful bronze leaves are displayed on wooden posts and can be inscribed with a dedication to a loved one. Lunch at Hallgates, where the Rangers came to open the gate for us to access the disabled toilets. We were also joined by a professional photographer who asked if we would like photos taken for the Bradgate Newsletter. After lunch we started the very steep, rugged climb up towards Old John, a landmark which can be seen for miles. This took its toll on one of the smaller scooters which overheated and had to be towed to the foot of Old John. After a short break the scooter cooled down enough for us all to continue back to the car park. Judy

April 19 Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill On Thursday a large group of members set off on a bright sunny but rather cold day, which warmed up as the day went on. We travelled around the park through the woodlands, which boasts one of the highest points in Leicestershire and has spectacular views of Charnwood Forest and the Soar Valley. Our coffee break was under the trees before continuing to Beacon Hill for our lunch where there were picnic tables and BBQ’s. After lunch we headed towards the Beacon for a photo call, with fantastic views overlooking over the countryside. Coming down from the Beacon we passed large rock formations which enthralled many of the group. We continued through the park passing many wood carvings and Lamas in the fields. We then had a very busy road to cross with the help of our volunteers, over to Broombriggs Farm and Windmill Hill where some went up the rocky track to the windmill to admire the views whilst others chose to wait at the bottom. Downhill then into the village of Woodhouse Eaves and along the footpath to the farm gate where we went back into the fields and up the hill. Heading back to the road to cross again before returning to the car park. Judy

April 19 Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey – 9th April On a chilly overcast morning, we set off towards the Abbey for a photo call before leaving the traffic onto the grassy pathways uphill towards the Tramway Trail which was built between 1799 and 1802. Coffee was at the top of the hill near Middle Lodge close to the bluebell wood, where the sun started to shine. Then heading north towards Ticknall, we turned sharply left, downhill onto the Tramway Trail where tonnes of stone was previously transported by horses from Ticknall to Ashby returning with, coal and merchandizes. After lunch, we continued along the trail before climbing steeply through the woods to farmland. Here we needed the walkers to help with a broken down tramper pushing/pulling it up 2 hills onto the flat - not an easy task. After regrouping we decided that this tramper would return to the car park downhill with Bernard, the remainder of the group went uphill towards the deer barn and church where another tramper starter to falter. So, it was decided at the church that we turn left and catch up with the smaller group and also return to the car park. Judy

April 2019 Donisthorpe Park

Donisthorpe Woodland Park On a bright, sunny but cold, morning a large group of 30 scooter riders and walkers met and in Donisthorpe Woodland Park, which is in the National Forest in Leicestershire. This area was a formally a colliery now reclaimed into a picturesque new landscape. The first part of the ramble was along the Ashby Woulds Heritage Trail that led through to Conkers Adventure Park where we had our coffee break before continuing to the level crossing and had to wait for the train to pass. Then through Sarah’s Wood, where Alan Titchmarsh planted some of the first trees and along the Ashby Canal to Moira Furnace where we stopped for lunch in the sunshine and indulged in chocolate cakes from the café. After lunch we followed the canal back into the Donisthorpe Woodland Park area and followed the pathways through the woods back to the car park where we were made welcome at the café for tea and cakes before setting off home. Judy Cunningham

March 19 Regional Ramble Linwood Loop

Southern Regional Rambles. Linwood Loop, New Forest, Hampshire - 30th March 2019 Another lovely day dawns for our ramble around the Linwood area of the New Forest. We had 9 booked to come so a good crowd plus we were pleased to welcome Suzi Shilling from the National Park Authority who was coming along to see what we do, how we organise the rambles, and what people get out of getting out into the countryside - as we all know, it makes a world of difference to our mental wellbeing. Some of her findings will appear on YouTube and when it does we will send the link so DR members can have a look. We parked at the iconic High Corner Inn pub down the end of a stoney, bumpy track. It is set in a remote part of the forest, when we arrived it was really quiet with just the birdsong to listen to plus two ponies in the car park having a scratch on the trees and fences. By the time we got back for our meal at 2.30 it was swamped with people all enjoying the lovely sunshine, its remote position in the forest doesn’t put anyone off in the slightest!! We set off through the reasonably gentle tracks passing great tall pine and deciduous trees, a little later in the month this area is a sea of bluebells and is extra beautiful, strangely, the NF only has a few places where bluebells are abundant, probably due to the dense canopy of trees which prevents the bulbs from getting the sunshine etc they need to produce flowers. We stopped for coffee at Splash Bridge, a pretty little place over a stream which is a favourite of ours. Then off up a sandy track to reach a higher path leading us onto the next leg of the ramble. Here, we had a hitch! One of our newest members had great faith in his rather small scooter + all terrain tyres being able to cope with the sandy track (we had already expressed doubts but decided to take his word for it!). Sadly, it just didn’t happen and the little scooter stubbornly refused to go through the sand so consequently, Bob escorted our disappointed member back to the car park as one feels duty bound to make sure anyone attending our rambles is delivered back safely to the destination. We went on slowly, and eventually Bob caught up with us again, but of course the double trip does have an effect on the bigger batteries too and they were quite depleted by this time, however, all was well and Bob did finish the day without any trouble on his trusty Supersport! We had hoped to see deer as we did on the reccy, but not one appeared all day, always happens. The rest of the ramble went without any problems - just a lovely relaxing day through lovely parts of the forest and then back to the pub for a meal arriving there at the allotted time of 2.30pm where we all enjoyed a very nice meal outside in the sunshine. Suzi was able to do some video-ing and interview several of those attending for their comments on how being outside with DR helps them and we were pleased to welcome her along, especially as she made us a batch of “Rocky Road” tray bakes to keep us going. Delicious!! Thank you all for coming, without you all it would be a lonely ramble! Bluebell ramble on the 26th April - just let me know you want to come and directions etc will be sent out about a week before. Don’t forget, if you have a ramble you would like to put on for others to share please let one us know via paula@disabledramblers.co.uk and we can help you to organise it. Val and Bob.

2019 Regional Ramble  Widewater to Worthing Pier

Widewater to Worthing Pier - 25th March 2019 Couldn’t believe our luck!! A really beautiful day, a little nippy to start off with but soon warmed up and showed the coastal scenery off to full advantage. 7 of us left from Widewater Lagoon - this is a man-made feature which lies south of the Brighton Road between Lancing and Shoreham. Hidden from view by houses along the road it is a landlocked brackish lagoon (approximately 1 km long but narrow) bordered on its south side by the sea defences and shingle beach. Water levels rise following high tides and heavy rainfall, but the varied levels produce a unique area for plant life and a resting place for a variety of birds including herons, swans and other wildfowl, plus an egret when we were there. “Brackish” sounds a bit dismal, but it’s actually very nice and interesting with lots of birdwatchers arriving with their ‘scopes and ‘bins. From there along the Prom towards Worthing - on our left out to sea we had a good view of the Rampion Wind Farm, 8 miles offshore and with 116 turbines which supplies 350,000 homes, which has recently been completed, with some controversy (as usual), it looks quite impressive from the shore. En route we dropped in to Brooklands Park where the boardwalk across the lake has been renewed allowing us to try this out, there is also a golf course, playground, accessible exercise equipment and walks. More improvements are in the pipeline to bring this nice little park up to date including a new cafe in due course. Onward to the Pier - and Harry Ramsden’s!! Bob went and got some of us some delicious chips and we went onto the Pier to survey the view and enjoy our lunch. From the Pier you can see the whole coastline as far as Seaford Head and the Seven Sisters white cliffs, and Brighton and its new i360degrees viewing pod from where there is an excellent view of the South Downs and the Sussex coastline. Worthing Pier was originally built in 1861 but after a series of disasters over the years, such as storm damage, fire and general neglect it was finally rebuilt in 1949 and continues to be a source of enjoyment for residents and visitors to Worthing with cafe, amusement arcades, night club and theatre. Along the length are windows where artwork is etched into the glass, or coloured glass pictures have been made of commemorative events etc making a very colourful display as well as offering some shelter from the wind. After lunch we wended our way back to our starting point taking in all the things we had missed in the morning, it’s surprising what you see on the return journey of a linear route - I never find them boring as it all looks different going the other way - if you see what I mean! All in all, a very good day - quite a long ramble 9+ miles, but it didn’t seem that long at all. We hope to do another one from the opposite direction later in the summer, that is, from Ferring to the Pier a trip of about 7+ miles and totally different. Thanks to all for coming, and to Brian for his local knowledge and help. Val and Bob.

2019 Burley Byeways

Southern Regional Ramble - Burley Byeways - 25th February 2019 We were so lucky to choose this day as it was within the timescale of the record breaking temperatures for February and was really warm with perfect blue skies. 9 of us met at Burley, plus 2 walkers (so helpful when it comes to gates and cakes!), with a great assortment of scooters: 3xTWS, 2x4 wheel Trampers, 1 Breeze 4, 1 large Pride with dual motors, 1 Hillclimber with dual motors, 1 TGA Supersport, with this interesting ensemble we set off through the little village of Burley, with its reputation of witches and ghouls, and through a little wood which leads onto the open forest where we took the track which was a new route for us, the whole ramble is only 4 miles in total but just right for a winter event, with a pub lunch at the end. The track led us over Turf Hill and we hadn’t realised it was negotiable for us until we reccied it during January finding it to be really super with lovely views plus a few challenges as well, these being some steep downhill slopes with a loose, stoney surface and various ruts which presented a few problems for some, but these were soon overcome without being overturned!! This track led onto the disused railway line which runs from Burley to Holmsley Road Station, although straight and flat it has some lovely scenery along the way. From there we go up a quiet forest road, much of which could be navigated on the verges, which also gives some practice on how to drive your scooter over the bumps and furrows along the way! Progressing onto a green area to take us a little further up the main B road to cross away from the brow of a hill leading out of Burley, not a good place to go over the road as visibility is very limited and traffic is fast, so this little diversion helped a lot. After crossing we take the route along Cott Lane, a lovely little hidden track which emerges next to the cricket pitch at Burley, from there it’s across the road and into the little wood, taking us back into the village centre. Burley is quite a fascinating place with lots of little quiet lanes and tracks and you can spend a pleasant afternoon with your ViewRanger going round these lanes and exploring. We then went into the very nice and convenient pub called the Queens Head and had a really tasty lunch, a very good ending to a super day. Pleased to welcome Gary & Lyn and hope they will become members in due course. Roy’s friend Lyn brought along a lovely selection of cakes for our coffee break which was very much enjoyed by us all. Now looking forward to the next rambles in March. Thanks to all for coming and making it such a super day. Val and Bob.

2019 Down Link Sec 2  from Partridge Green Regional Ramble

Southern Regional Ramble - Downs Link Section 2 - from Partridge Green, nr Horsham, West Sussex Dry, but dull, start from an Industrial Estate in Partridge Green in West Sussex. We had kindly been given permission to use one of the business’s car park for the day, people are surprisingly co-operative when you phone up and ask if you can use their premises, there is a lot of good will about and it’s always appreciated. We had 7 scoots and 1 walker and 2 dogs for the day, and very pleased to welcome new member Simon, his wife and their little dog, Holly. Much to our astonishment Simon arrived in an SUV and out of it came a Tramper TWS! Specially adapted with fold down handlebars and a special lightweight seat so that it would go in, Beamer worked their magic for Simon so he could keep his much loved car. We were amazed and impressed, to say the least. The Downs Link is a disused railway that runs for 37+ miles from Shoreham in West Sussex to Martha’s Hill in Surrey, it is very varied and with some superb scenery on all the different Sections. This was Section No. 2 and passed through lovely open countryside, much of it was wetlands and brooks with all the appropriate birdlife. A flock of Widgeon rose from one of the lakes pursued by a bird of prey, Roger our resident bird expert thought it was a peregrine falcon, it was a lovely sight although they were some distance away. There was also some enclosed “tunnel” like parts, and even a little road work through the little village of Henfield. A very suitable route for the winter as it is mainly flat and on a good track. It is a linear route, ie “there and back”, but personally, I never mind that as it all looks so different when returning and you see lots of things you may have missed on the way. En route we passed a gun pill box from WW2, still in good repair but without it’s gun! It is a popular route with cyclists in their lycra and all day we were pulling over and what a good natured lot they were, without exception. Very polite and cheery. Sadly, we had a puncture, we tried pumping it up with no luck so Roger, who is one of the most experienced ramblers and spends his life on the South Downs covered in mud, opted to ride it home as was and we got back without further incident and it had all stayed intact, just flat! We kept a close eye on it and it wasn’t coming off the rim or anything equally awful. Added to that, David (our Leader) had trouble with his battery - it was flashing practically all the way back but again but with a bit of a help up one hill he made it safely back to base. All adds to the excitement. A very good day, not too cold, no rain and plenty of good company - a lovely way to spend a February day and to know that not too far away Spring is just round the corner and before long all the wild flowers will be making an appearance once more. Many thanks for all those who came along and made it so enjoyable, and to David for all his research into this project and who led this ramble on behalf of DR.

2019 Hatchet Pond to East Boldre Regional Ramble

Southern Regional Ramble - Hatchet Pond to East Boldre via Turfcutters Arms, nr Beaulieu, New Forest. - 19th January 2019. What a forecast!! Rain showers all day and cold, it put 4 of our valiant members off but as we were leading the ramble we had to show up, so in the end it was 5 of us plus 2 walkers that met in the car park in light rain, but miraculously, within half an hour of arriving - and before we left for the ramble - it stopped and kept away all day. This was such a relief to us all and we set off up a quiet lane opposite Hatchet Pond to make our way through lovely woodland tracks for the first part of this 5.5 mile winter ramble. Strange thing was, we had 5 different machines - a Tramper, Supersport, Boma, Breeze 4 and Mayan - plus Sheila on her mountain bike and Pete on foot. En route we met a large family gathering on bikes with a lot of very little children, also on their little bikes, having a great time in Hawkhill Inclosure and making the most of whizzing up and down the hills. We were pleased to welcome Derek, a recent new member who lives near the pond and so met us there on his Breeze 4. Coming out of the woodland we went onto a good tarmac track across open heathland, there were quite a few ponies about making the most of the gorse flowers that were out in abundance. Upon reaching a quiet little car park we had to then go onto a much wilder path that wends its way across more heathland - this was the “problem” bit that we were worried about as we had a feeling it may have become extremely muddy with the recent rain over the preceding few days. It was, indeed, very wet and quite muddy but we all coped with it with no problem and on the way met a horse rider whose mount was obviously convinced we were up to no good, however, we stopped and she brought the horse over to us and it obligingly had a look at Paula in her Boma and snorted in a very friendly fashion! Bit disconcerting for Paula as she was low down and the horse towered over her, but it was a good way to introduce us to this particular equine. We had a nice chat and continued on our way over the marshy, wet heathland to the village of East Boldre and our destination for lunch at the Turfcutters Arms. This was heaven! We were quite cold by now, and as we entered the pub we were greeted by a lovely rush of warmth and the sight of a super open fire - this is a typical New Forest country pub and they welcome dogs and walkers etc with no quandaries. We think it is a very old pub as you can see from the photo of one of the quaint signs inside. We went in and had a good warming lunch and hot drinks, it was just what we needed. Suddenly, it was 3 o’clock and so we had to depart for our short journey back to Hatchet Pond about half a mile away. This is a really nice little ramble and perfect for a winter trip and to take in the pub en route. We would like to thank all who came, and to say we missed those who couldn’t make it, but hopefully, next month we will have another New Forest ramble also visiting a pub for a meal and warm up. Thanks all, Val and Bob.

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