In which I enjoy a view of hills and woods on a frosty autumn morning in the New Forest
We left the wood with regret…Joan Begbie, Walking in the New Forest, published 1934
For this and the next couple of weeks, my posts on the blog will be fairly short, as I have a couple of commitments that are taking up more of my time. This week, I returned to Godshill Wood for a short walk on a perfect autumn morning, frosty and clear-skied.
I’ve been to Godshill Wood with Joan Begbie, Bill and Mr. Bundy before. We looked for Bilberry in the spring, and walked round the wood in May, a trip that included a visit to the Southern Wood Ants and their Birch tree.
I often walk round Godshill – it is near to home and, from its southeastern edge, there is a wonderful view over Millersford Bottom and up to Godshill Ridge and Gravel Pit Hill. The wood itself is a mix of plantation forestry and old broadleaf trees that whisper together of the more ancient wood that grew there once, before the foresters came.
This week, on that perfect autumn morning, I took myself there for some fresh air, and a little respite from climate warming- / COP26-induced anxiety. I found a welcome reminder, in the beauty of the woods and valleys, as to why our world is worth protecting.
I wonder what Joan would have made of climate warming. She died in 1984, at which time the science – in particular the increasing concern it was beginning to engender – was as yet relatively unheralded. Being inquisitive and a reader, she may well have learned of the early modelling that predicted a warming climate due to human activity. If she were alive today, as a lover of nature and the countryside, and also a forthright person, and if she would forgive me for second-guessing her, I think she might well have been joining her voice to all those calls for action.
What did she write of Godshill Wood? I will leave you with her words, and some photographs from my frosty autumn walk in Godshill Wood.
We left the wood with regret, for…it has big clearings revealing such visions of trees climbing up one slope, pouring down others, filling hollows, and capping the rises beyond that we were almost persuaded to spend the rest of the morning in the enclosure.Joan Begbie, Walking in the New Forest