‘You’ve Gone Seriously The Wrong Way’

Anyone who has followed my ramblings around  The New Forest during our eighteen months in Minstead, and realised my propensity for making slight navigational errors, should enjoy this post.Maple leaf duckling
As I walked down the garden path preparing to take my usual route to Giles’s, I noticed a bright red-tipped butterfly bearing a Lilliputian duckling flitting across an ornamental maple.
Downton LaneTelegraph engineerStrong shadows were cast on Downton Lane, where an engineer perched on a telegraph pole informed his mate on the ground below that ‘it’s a bit dodgy’. For my money it was his position that was dodgy, but I don’t suppose that was what he meant.
Raucous rooks, flying to and from their nests, are now resident in Shorefield.
Rook in flight
StreamDogs seeking ballKatie seeking ballI had a coffee and a chat with Giles before setting off back home. At the corner of Studland Drive and Blackbush Road I noticed a footpath. I took it. Very soon I was in the Nature Reserve. So far, so good. I walked along the stream where I was entertained by Katie, and another dog which tried to help her, but soon gave up and sniffed off somewhere else. She struggled to retrieve her ball, caught in an inlet where it was held by the strong current. Her owner, explaining that she was actually a strong swimmer, but could not manage the slope down to the water, joined in, but eventually he had to persuade his pet to leave her prey. She was very reluctant to leave, as was the owner who said it was pity because the ball was a good one.
I left the reserve at this point, taking a footpath to the left which should have taken me to the coast road. I found myself in George Road, along which I walked into Manor Road, and eventually Lymington Road. I turned right here, and left into the narrow, winding School Lane, from which there was a tantalising view of the coast.Distant coastline
I came out at another main-looking road and turned right into it. A tempting public footpath led me through a muddy brassica patch, from which I reached another winding lane leading me to a thick-root-filled mudbath masquerading as a footpath. This took periodic right angles around fields, one of which contained black sheep.Black sheepGreat Newbridge Copse
As the sun gradually sank in the sky, I persevered until reaching a board describing Great Newbridge Copse. There I met a very helpful woman who, when she heard where I had come from and where I intended to get to, informed me that I had ‘gone seriously the wrong way’. I said ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’. She advised me to turn right and follow another sodden track until I emerged at Efford Mill, where I should turn right along Christchurch Road. I met more sheep along the way. One particular ram stared in such a way as to suggest he was questioning my sanity.Sheep
Trees against sky
Knowing that we lived two miles from New Milton, when I passed a sign indicating that that town was five miles distant, I must admit I blenched a bit. Finally, having spent half an hour with my friend I arrived home four hours after I started. That hadn’t really been the plan.
This evening the chicken jalfrezi (recipe) and savoury rice were as good as they were two days ago. So were the beverages. We know, because we enjoyed them again.


  1. It looks like you had a good old ramble … though perhaps a little further than anticipated! Wonderful images too – I loved the butterfly and duckling in the maple and it always heartens me to see a piece of ancient woodland being cared for appropriately 🙂

  2. Far too entertaining. This reminds me so of my own jaunts turned rogue misadventure. I, too, have received questioning gawping stares from many-a sheep, bovine and disgruntled park ranger, and horse along these winding lost ravings through Floridian rural countryside and weald. One time, in pursuit of a black bear, I had managed to get so lost, with walking-companion Sir, that we had walked all the way around a spring and popped out on the wrong side of the gem-like spring, after disturbing many flocks of turkeys and chortling fisherman, who gave us rather unhelpful navigational advice. The park was closing. A ranger, with a taut bun, was in a canoe attending to some aquatic matter in blissful solitude, humming to the purring manatees. She had a large, spacious canoe there with plenty of room for two passengers. I piped up to Sir, “How about we ask for a wee ride across?” Sir asked. Ranger attempted to arrest his breathing with a scathing glare and boomed, “NO you may NOT have a ‘nice little ride’ across! You got yourselves over there, you go back the way you came! By the way, you’re TRESPASSING over there!” Hum. This was several miles. The car was practically feet away if we could just swivel across… I pulled out some green leafy bills. “How about we attempt to bribe the fine ranger?” Sir wagged his head in avid dismay. “I don’t think she’d respond well to that…” I started to wave the bills and Sir shoved me back into the woods as if a manatee had just bitten him and escape was vital. We wandered into the darkness until we bumped into another fisherman. He and a police officer tootled and a different ranger came to collect us. “BOY you sure got lost!” He boomed with effervescent glee. We were deposited at our little Richard Scarry car and the misadventure was sadly at an end. Jubilant cheers to you!
    -Smiling Toad

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