New Forest – Britain’s Smallest National Park

After my recent visit to the Isle of Wight, I took the opportunity to spend a few days in the New Forest, an area of the country I had not previously visited and the UK’s smallest National Park.  The ideal time from a photographic point of view to visit the Forest would be either late Summer when the heather colour is at its peak or the Autumn to capture those wonderful golden colours but at least when visiting in the Spring it is quieter and the shapes of those wonderful trees are laid bare for all to see.
 
Making such a short visit to a new area is not ideal, hoping that the weather was going to be reasonable, which it was and dashing around trying to visit all the locations I had previously researched.
On arrival at my base, fortunately, it was a pleasant evening which gave me the opportunity to take a short walk to Ober Corner and to capture some images of the trees and their reflections whilst the sun was beginning to set.
 

Ober Water

The following morning was overcast so I changed my intended plans and headed off to the coast which from a distance appeared brighter.  The objective was to visit Keyhaven and Lepe.  On arrival the skies were clear and the sun was out so I completed a walk around Keyhaven Marshes, unfortunately finding very few photographic opportunities unless you are a keen bird watcher. By the time I had completed the circuit the sun had gone and the mist/low cloud had moved in, although it did give me the opportunity to capture from a distance across the marshes, an image of Hurst Castle in rather mysterious looking surroundings.  Not normally my type of image but I quite like this one.  Why not let me know what you think.
 

Hurst Castle

Fortunately, the following day was far better completing a seven-mile walk from Beaulieu Station over heathland to Rowbarrow, which is an amazing wood full of mainly huge oaks in their dotage and silver birch.  You could spend a day here and not run out of things to photograph although the image I have chosen to include here is from the area just before you enter the main woodland.
 

Rowbarrow

Having spent what seemed like an inordinate amount of time in Rowbarrow I moved onto the working areas and the #inclosures so much a feature of the Forest. It was here that I was attracted to the rich brown leaves on some trees which had escaped the ravages of the past Winter and late Spring and were hanging on in the hope that new leaves would be appearing soon to replace them.
 

Frame Heath Inclosure

The final part of this walk takes you through Denny Wood and across more open heathland back to the starting part at Beaulieu Station.  I would certainly recommend following this walk and hope to be able to complete it again myself, next time in the Autumn.
 
For my final day I headed into the northwest of the park around Fritham completing a walk whilst dodging the heavy showers, which disappointingly did not produce too many photo opportunities however on my return to base I was rather fortunate to capture some nice early evening light around one of the most photographed trees in the Park at Bratley View.
 

Bratley View

Whilst my visit was short I did manage to get around most locations I wanted to see and it certainly has given me plenty of inspiration for a return visit at some time in the future in a different season.
 
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