I left a very wet and rainy Sussex for my road trip to Dorset, Cornwall and Devon with every intention of heading straight to Lulworth Cove. However, whilst I was driving through the county of Hampshire and never one to shy away from adventure, as soon as I saw a road sign for The New Forest, I got straight on it! After all, isn’t that what road trips are all about? Seeing where the road takes you!
The New Forest is a national park spanning an area of 566km² and seemed not much different to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex ( Pooh Bear country). Long roads winding through vast wilds of green on either side with the occasional pub, restaurant, car park, and signs for campsites.
I also drove through some really pretty villages with thatched roof cottages and roses around the doorways. It was incredibly sunny, everything was good to look at and I felt great!
I settled into a wide lay-by overlooking a huge area of grass and bushland, got my walking shoes on, packed my water and off I went.
There were quite a few ponies, which is a well known sight at The New Forest. In fact, they are a part of the attraction of the place. They are owned bit are allowed to roam freely and feeding and attempting to feed them is discouraged. I know this now! Would that I had known that sooner!
I went and did something which was really stupid, but I just didn’t think at the time!
As I was walking, I saw a pony up ahead and walked slowly past her. She seemed to not be fussed by me at all but me being such a horse lover, I decided to say hello by gently extending my arm. She came towards me, also really calmly, and bent in for a sniff of my hand. And then, quick as a flash, she turned her back to me and kicked me hard! It bloody hurt! She calmly went on grazing while I walked away with a bit of a limp. It actually only hurt for a few minutes and then wore off as I continued to walk, bit it’s left a whopper of a bruise!
Of course, I don’t blame the pony. The animals are never wrong. I’m a massive animal lover and will always defend them over us silly humans. I just had absolutely no idea they weren’t to be approached, but then in hindsight, even though the pony had a collar on, she is still a semi wild animal. Apparently, there are signs everywhere saying not to approach them, but I can promise, there were absolutely no signs where I parked and not did I see one during the whole of my walk.
Anyhoo, I had a lovely walk for a while. I wandered around and got a bit lost, not that it bothered me. I’ll always find my way back in the end.
Eventually, I spied my van in the distance and headed to it where I gladly took my walking boots off. I layed down on the grass in front of my van ( and far away from any horses) and had a bit of a sunbathe. Bliss.
By the way, I caught that kick on video, and I’ve included it in my video of the walk, which you can check out below.
Lots of love