A frosty New Forest

In which I walk among frosty woods and fields

We chose a cold and frosty morning for the expedition, the kind of day we prefer above all others for walking. Frost…puts a spur in the air, drives the wild things into the open…

Joan Begbie, Walking in the New Forest, published 1934

I agree with Joan that there is nothing quite like walking on a frosty morning. Mist rising from the water, our breath on the air, ice crystals shimmering in the grass and leaves, the sky limestone-clear…cold, but beautiful.

I’ve been recovering from laryngitis so, though I’m very much on the mend now, I haven’t been able to get out for a long walk with Joan, Bill and Mr Bundy. However, suitably bundled up in several layers, I did manage a couple of much shorter walks to enjoy the frosty, sunny days. Below, I’m sharing a few of my favourite photographs from these brief forays as a way to celebrate the end of another wonderful year of walking with Joan and her two dogs. I think they would have enjoyed the frosty, sparkling New Forest with me. We’ll all be back in 2023!

Bickton Mill (now residential) seen beyond a misty Avon, on the edge of the New Forest
Frosty bracken, seen from the relative warmth of a holly grove near Godshill Wood, New Forest
A frosty scene, looking from Godshill Wood towards Godshill Ridge, New Forest
Even barbed wire can be made magical by frost and ice
The magic of frost on grass
The sun rises near Bickton, making an enchantment of the frosted landscape

4 thoughts on “A frosty New Forest

  1. Paul

    Hi Amanda. Congratulations on a super Blog. I found you whilst doing some research about my local area. Despite my having lived in The New Forest for 50 years, Joan Begbie’s comments “Our love for the New Forest is much greater than our knowledge of it” still apply.

    I wanted to thank you for introducing me to Joan, I was intrigued by her story and managed to lay my hands on her book. It’s a delightful read and despite being nearly 100 years old it resonates with me today, as it is full of shared experiences and familiar places. It’s wonderful to recognise so much of the landscape she travels through and much is little changed. Likewise those changes that are apparent reflect the fact that the forest is a living and working place. It’s well to remind ourselves that many of the new enclosures that Joan found less pleasing than the older established ones, have since matured and been felled and cleared, sometimes more twice! On each occasion people bemoan the change, from heath to woodland and then likewise back again! The flux of native flora and fauna is also apparent, her delight at seeing deer or buzzards seems strange when they are commonplace today, I wonder what she would have made of the Red Kites which are common now. Contrarywise the curlews and plovers are a today a very rare sight indeed. Anyway, recognising that I’m retracing her steps as I explore only adds further to my enjoyment of this very special place. Maybe we will cross paths in the future? enjoy your own exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Paul – thank you for your kind words about the blog, and I am so glad you have been enjoying meeting Joan and walking in her bootsteps. I couldn’t agree more with everything you say about what is the same and what has changed in the Forest, sometimes cyclically, sometimes more permanently. One of my favourite spots is in Amberwood, where Joan describes a busy farm cottage, but where there are now just some of the foundations left, being reclaimed by the forest (the farm buildings were evacuated in the Second World War because of the nearby bombing range). I do find myself thinking of her walking the same paths as me, Bill and Mr Bundy at her heels; or, coming back from a non-blog related walk, I’ll pick up the book to see if she went to the same places as I have just been. I’m very fortunate to have been in touch with two of her relatives, and have been told some lovely stories about her! Did you know she also wrote about Dorset (Walking in Dorset, published 1936)? I’m thinking of following some of those routes, too. Happy exploring yourself, and yes, maybe we will cross paths!


  2. Carolyn Lambert

    Thank you, for these magical, frosty scenes…I could feel the resistance in the crisp blades of grass , and see my breath in the air! That sunrise picture!!! And thank you for all your lovely blogs over the year, Spring Summer Autumn and Winter….they’ve been a joy. I hope you have a very Happy Christmas, and will be fine fettle for more walks to share with us in 2023!

    Liked by 1 person

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