I took lots of photos on a pre-breakfast walk in the hotel grounds. These are my favourites:
After German holidays, it’s slightly odd to realise that this pleasant but – to my mind – unexceptional area (unexceptional apart from the unenclosed commons, that is) is such a crowded tourist magnet. After all, they’re just woods interspersed with scrubby heath; the fact that this is such a popular destination says that England is rather short of the kind of forested areas that I almost take for granted elsewhere. The New Forest seems to be an adventure playground for the middle classes on one of their frequent holidays. (I too come into that category.) Cycling is encouraged off-road, but it doesn’t look too attractive on the busy roads. The villages were not designed for the volume of 21st-century tourists.
But it’s churlish of me not to acknowledge how lovely it is to be amongst greenery and wildlife. Today was a trip to Lymington and a walk beside the coastal nature reserve. There were curlews, redshanks, egrets, oyster-catchers and black-headed gulls in the lovely silvery estuary:
I did like Lymington; it was a pleasant Georgian town with a few wavy brick garden walls of a kind I have never seen before: