Sunday, 20 March 2011

Enclosed walking and a brief history lesson!

Today Django and I went out for a walk to somewhere we don't normally go, a wooded area called Wilverley Enclosure.  The reason we don't normally go there is because it's very popular and the car park is always packed; we prefer places that are a little more exclusive.   However, today I went out without a coat and it just started spitting with rain as I was driving across the Forest so I decided woods would be a good plan. 

For those of you who get confused with talk of going 'across' the Forest and much of it not having any trees on it, here is an excerpt from a short history of the New Forest:
"Once established [in England, after the Battle of Hastings 1066], the new King William I began introducing his influence over the land and had created areas of land throughout the country that would be used as his personal deer and wild boar hunting grounds, a favourite royal pastime as well as ensuring a continued supply of fresh meat to the newly established Crown.  The southernmost of these areas, by all accounts, was one of the most frequented and enjoyed by King William and his men.
This particular area of land was designated and named as the New Forest, in the year 1079.
It's important to note though, that the word 'Forest' in this context doesn't reflect the usual meaning of the word. In this case, 'Forest' was used to describe an area of land that had been 'afforested' (purchased under law) and designated as land to be used for royal privileges, ie hunting. 
The name, New Forest, is a direct translation from the Norman Nova Foresta
Much of the New Forest is open heathland, but there are 84 sq km of Enclosures (or Inclosures). These are fenced off areas designated for growing trees for timber supply, including for the building of naval ships in the 18th C when the first Enclosures were created. The fencing was needed because of the number of animals that live wild in the Forest, who undoubtedly would be happy to nosh down on sweet little seedlings.
The 'greens' that I sometimes mention were, I believe, originally cleared for cultivation but I don't think were very fruitful.  Many of those that were all grass when I was young are rapidly being taken over by heathers now, so it would be interesting to see what the landscape looked like 1000 years ago when the Normans first arrived. 
The main track around Wilverley Enclosure is a very dull, gravel tourist track with waymarked walking and cycling trails.  However, for those brave enough to leave those, there are much more pleasant sandy and grassy trails through the trees which are much kinder to the feet, and more interesting.  Thanks to my trusty GPS we managed to have a 3 mile walk walk zig zagging and twisting around with the minimum time spent on gravel tracks, and get back to the right car park rather than end up on one the other side of the woods!
So, today's training was a very neat 3 mile, 1 hour, 3mph walk with a bit of meandering and looking at the larches sprouting new fronds. Spring-a-ding-ding, indeed.



  1. I never heard of that, but I appreciate the history lesson!

  2. Wow--now I understand! Himself had to help me a bit--he tells me he used to live in Sway (whatever that means......LOL) and walked the Forest many times. (whatever THAT means!)

    I'm glad they got around to letting the public have access, but it's kinda sad that it's so public that it's crazy at times.

    We went for a walk in the part of the state park that hasn't yet been opened to car traffic. Ice and snow on the road--I was out on a quest to find snowdrops.
    Nope! LOL Did find more snow though! ;-)

  3. Wow, assuredly the best info ever on your Forest land and doesn't it feel so awesome to be back doing such a simple thing that was out of reach for a while?! ...and yeah for Django who was loving it I'm sure. Lucky dog!

  4. Mel: Sway is not a million miles from me :-) I've always thought the name must sound funny to people who don't live around these parts!

  5. Your walks sounds so lovely! And thanks for the history lesson - it's a fascination of mine that sometimes border on obsession ;)


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