Forest of Bere
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Last Friday, my daughter Sue and granddaughter Tiana came to lunch. The weather was good so Sue suggested we go to the Forest of Bere in the afternoon.
It is part of what remains of an ancient Royal Forest and Oaks that came from there were used to build the Mary Rose and HMS Victory and other naval ships. It is now used by local people and visitors for recreation. There are nature trails marked out for short and long walks. Also trails for horse riding and people can now use bikes in the area. The trees are still forested and there are some areas where there are fir trees planted. I remember a few years ago that a large area of fir trees were burned down. Now that area has been used to build car parks, and a large childrens play area. New trees have grown up, no longer pines, now broad woodland. There are toilets, picnic areas with tables and benches and barbecues can be hired. In the summer, you can even get an ice cream now. I remember when I was very small it was very different. There were no car parks then. There were lots of wild flowers and open areas. They seem to have gone now, although there are some interesting species of fungus to see now. We used to see the woodmen cutting the trees and there were large beaters (like brushes) all over the place in case of fire. There were also lookout stations, quite high for spotting fires. They have all gone now. But there are wide spaces as fire breaks. There is still part of the Forest at Wickham which has lovely bluebells and a patch at Southwick which has wild garlic growing.
Sue suggested that while Tiana was sleeping, Adrian and I should pick up some chestnuts. So we walked down the road past Hundred Acres and got half a carrier bag full along the road side. They were not very big, but when Tiana woke up, we went into the Forest and found some much bigger ones. We then took Tiana into the playground. There were swings, a large wood cabin built around trees and some small wooden houses. Also some teepees. Lots of sand to play in. She loved it.
We went for a walk down the main path and we met a lady taking her 2 beautiful dogs for a walk. One was black and the other was gold. We got talking, she came from Southwick where my mothers' father originated from. My gran used to live at Hundred Acres with my Uncle and Aunt. She was very interesting to talk to and she has invited us all to go and have a cup of tea at her house. She is going to invite some people that used to work on the Southwick estate as well, so we should learn a bit of history. She gave me her email address so that I can write to her.It was lovely to meet her and I look forward to seeing her again.
After we finished our walk, we went into the other play area which is for older children. Sue found a swing made out of a large rope suspended on chains, so she sat up on it with Tiana. It was quite high up and a bit scary, but Tiana loved it.
Tiana also loved the swing.
Time went quickly and it was 4.30pm, so it was time to go home. We were all quite tired by then. We had a lovely day! And it was a very warm, sunny day.