Last weekend I took the Tall Trees Trail within the New Forest National Park with my family. It was quite a dull day, although a little muggy; there had been a severe lightning storm in Dorset the night before, and many suffered flood damage. We arrived fairly early at Blackwater car park, which is one of two starting points for the circular walk, and has toilets, picnic tables, BBQ grills and an ice cream van arrived just before lunch. The walk is signposted but you can also pick up a free map and guide to the New Forest from the car park.
The walk itself is level, easy and mostly gravel beneath your feet, although we were grateful to have our walking shoes on for comfort. Dogs are obviously welcome but I’m fairly sure they have to be kept on a lead, but you might want to check that. As you walk through the wood, there a signposts at regular intervals telling you more about each important tree, such as it’s the tallest, longest growing etc. The posts themselves are fun and I think children would love this little adventure, identifying the flora and fauna around them, as they try to peer up into the canopy. I tried my best to capture the whole tree, from base to top, in my photographs, but it wasn’t always easy.
As well as the Tall Trees Trail, there’s an arboretum, which is fenced off to prevent damage from grazing animals, and is a very peaceful place to walk through. It’s not very big, but once again, all the trees are labelled and there are benches to sit and admire the peace and quiet, along with the view. My family and I are planning to go back in autumn, when the colours will have changed, to get some more images for our photo albums. I wasn’t entirely pleased with mine, but have included a couple just so you have an idea of the area.
What struck me most was the staying power of these magnificent beings, reaching up and out into the space around them; it’s something I lack. I’m very good at starting things, have great enthusiasm but then seem to get distracted and forget my original passion. My brother observed this recently in a well-observed impression of me he said, ‘oh that plan is so last year!’ My family know me well. All those plans I’ve left unfinished, unrealised along the way and being a writer is one of the ones which troubles me the most because I still would love to be one, but there’s always something which I allow to get in the way. Work is the main problem (isn’t it always) but I’m grateful for my job as it allows me to keep a roof over my head and food on my table, as well as travel and buy books. Oh, yes, books! My chief avoidance tactic for not writing is reading. So much easier to read what someone else has written rather than face the page yourself, isn’t it?
I’ve tried various tactics, placing my writing pad on the table, so I see it every morning and evening as I have breakfast and dinner; putting it on the bookcase by my bed, with a few pens, so I can write at night before I sleep, but that doesn’t work because there’s a pile of books there too, and guess what I pick up? Yes, you’re right, a book. Well, I need to get through them, don’t I? Yes, and no, is the answer to that one. I just shouldn’t buy more until I’ve finished the one I’m reading, but hey, no-one’s perfect. There are worse vices.
So, as I finish the first blog post in ages and it appears to be a marathon of a read for anyone who fancies it, I need to find some of that staying power the trees are blessed with, and keep writing!
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