Under the vast open sky, nineteen eager souls assembled at the appointed meeting grounds – a car park nestled in the northeastern embrace of Burley. The journey to this rendezvous was a dance with the local New Forest steeds, those four-legged inhabitants sharing the road with a hint of whimsy.
The clock's hands pointed to a leisurely 11AM, allowing kindred spirits to traverse distances far and wide, converging upon this natural haven from the distant corners of the southern map.
As the assemblage reached its full complement, a fellowship in motion, we embarked on a western course, threading through the leafy sanctuary of the South Oakley Inclosure. Then, a northern trajectory led us into the heart of Berry Wood.
The woods, true to their secretive nature, painted their landscape with splotches of mud, a challenge taken in stride, for such is the enchanting ritual of woodland strolls.
Emerging from the woody embrace, a panorama unfolded before our eyes, an artful tapestry woven from the threads of heather and the rolling contours of the New Forest's flesh and bones. Nature's canvas spread wide, inviting us to linger in awe.
The sun, a reluctant visitor in these parts, chose to grace us with its warm touch, casting a spell upon the land. In response, we deemed it wise to halt our pilgrimage prematurely, indulging in a sun-dappled picnic that nurtured both body and soul.
Having sated our appetites, both culinary and visual, our caravan pressed northward, crossing the Backley Inclosure in an eastern traverse, then slipping into the embrace of the North Oakley Inclosure. A fleeting diversion whispered misdirections into our ears, leading us down a path less travelled, a path paved with mud and crowned by the Blackensford Brook. Fear not, for the GPS beacon came to our rescue, steering us back to our destined course.
With the sun beginning its gentle descent, our steps took on a southerly cadence, guiding us back toward the familiar embrace of the car park. Here, our journey's end awaited, with a delightful culmination: refreshments and fellowship, graciously bestowed by the hospitality of a member's enchanting garden in Ringwood.
In this way, our sojourn wove a tapestry of shared moments and shared landscapes, a symphony of laughter, mud-smeared shoes, and the whispered secrets of the woods. As the afternoon gently aged, our hearts glowed with the warmth of camaraderie, a perfect way to draw the curtain on a day well spent.