Riding the New Forest

Since Lisa wants to ride here bike the road I found this perfect ride starting at Hawkhill Inclosure just East of Brockenhurst. It’s a mostly flat 9 mile ride all on forest tracks. There is a lot of pfaffing when we arrive because my bike has to be taken off the carrier, Lisa’s bike needs to be taken out of the garage and the pedals installed. The dog carrier needs to be mounted on the bike and the dog inserted into it. We need to get kitted out with helmets, and any gear we need to take. After about 30minutes we are ready to go!

We took the ride steady for Lisa to get accustomed to her electric bike, she found the ride easy, although I was struggling to keep up with her on the uphill stretches, even though they were not very steep, she was not even out of breath! Archie was on the back my bike, and although he has ridden there before he kept whining because he could see Lisa, but could not be with her. When we were well in the forest we let him out and he ran and ran besides the bikes and tired himself out – which is a really useful trick.

Towards the end Lisa was finding the saddle hard and she managed to drop her bike (and herself) just before we got back.

Winchester and Mottisfont Hall

On our way down to the New Forest we spent two cold and bright days in and around Winchester. Winchester is a lovely medieval city with a long history, a beautiful cathedral and plenty to see. There are a range of walks you can do around the centre.

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At this time of year they have the loveliest Christmas market around the cathedral close. Its expensive, but the quality is top notch and there are many artisanal stands. We had lunch at the Black Boy an unusual and eclectic place we can certainly recommend.

Rivermead

Our campsite was a Certified Location just outside Winchester at called Rivermead, it is difficult to get to because of width restricted roads which go on for several miles, after a couple of abortive attempts we finally got there, but by this time it was dark.

The following days we could see that it is just by a water meadow, pretty and tranquil and quiet specially since we were the only unit on site, mind you we felt it was expensive at £20/night, this is what we normally pay at a full-service campsite rather than a CL. The site did have a small shed as a toilet which was heated, something we tend not to use as we have our facilities in Cosy, unfortunately because the night was so cold (-6 Celsius) the water pipes had frozen and we had to make do with the water we had in the van, fortunately this was enough. I have been impressed at how well the van copes with cold weather, although we do get through a lot of gas.

Orion

There were Egrets on the water meadow, but we only saw one, I also spent some time trying to work out how to take pictures of the night sky with my SLR camera, as it was particularly dark here. I only managed one picture which is shown here – a slightly blurry Orion.

After Winchester our next port of call was Lymington in the New Forest, since this was not very far away I thought we could visit Mottisfont Hall, a NT property which was on the way, Lisa was not too keen, the weather had turned and it was raining and miserable. We arrived and had lunch, then took Archie for a walk around the gardens, we saw some old trees (of some type I had not really seen before) and wandering up the side of the stream we caught a dazzling blue glimpse of a Kingfisher. After Archie’s walk we showered him and dropped him off for a sleep and went back to visit the house. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas, with all the rooms being decorated some with multiple trees, in some of the rooms they had simulated fires, even with the crackle sound of wood burning – very effective. The featured image on this post shows the main downstairs corridor.

They we also holding an exhibition of work by a renowned artist called Kaffe Fassett, whose work Lisa was very fond of (I’m sure she’ll be writing a post about that). At the end Lisa was so pleased that we had made the effort to come here.