Just back from a week in and around the New Forest in Hampshire and in many ways it was a return to the area where I spent my formative years until my family moved away when I was about 13 or 14. You never forget those early years, of course, and my first few years coincided with wartime spent in the village of Blackfield before, when my father returned from having been a prisoner of war, we moved to Hythe on the shores of Southampton Water.
It was almost the perfect location to be a boy, with the waves of Southampton Water lapping at the bottom of our garden and with the New Forest just inland. The long summer days seemed filled with adventures and in an era without television or PCs or iPads or smartphones or Twitter or Facebook it was only seriously inclement weather that kept me indoors and away from the activity on the Water or the secrets of the Forest.
And so last week I ventured back again to Blackfield and Hythe, where the march of time has seen much change and we also visited Beaulieu, Bucklers Hard, Exbury, Calshot, Lepe and explored once more the hidden glades of the Forest where, at Boldrewood, I managed to capture this sight of feeding deer:-
It`s exactly the kind of experience that makes it highly likely that we will be spending more time in the land of my roots.