The Toughest Terrain Yet

This afternoon Jackie deposited me

outside The Rising Sun at Bashley, whence I crossed the road and entered the

heathland with its ubiquitous ponies

and golden gorse bound for a leisurely walk..

We have driven past this spot on countless occasions, yet I was taken aback by the

pitted hoof prints that would seriously impede my progress. Those in the pictures above were largely dry, yet most upsetting for my balance. Others were still soggy enough to suck at my shoes.

After a while I abandoned the idea of stumbling towards a little wooden bridge straddling a small flowing stream. Leaving the morass was more than somewhat difficult.

A thin band of woodland stood between the green stretch and the heath.

In parts it was soggy enough for shallow pools to reflect the trees.

Having taken a wide diversion to avoid the little bridge

I tried the pony track which was much more treacherous than it looks here.

I did not venture as far as the distant walkers at its far end.



In whichever direction I looked such walkers as there were were almost imperceptible,

until they returned to their cars.

Had I taken note of this area of mud, pools, and reflection beside the road, I may not have been surprised by the toughest terrain I have yet tackled since my knee replacements.

This pony chomping hay among the shadows wasn’t far from the car and my refuge.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potato;  firm Brussels sprouts; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Médoc.



  1. Oh my yes! I know how tough it can be trying to walk the dried out tracks of cows – ponies would be just as bad. Though I do have to say if you are managing even a bit of it you are still doing well. Now is not the time to end up back in hospital with a wrenched knee though – take care!

  2. I’m sorry but aren’t you two supposed to stay at home? We’d be more than happy with photos of your wonderful garden and its feathered visitors if it meant you were safe and sound.

    1. We are permitted to go out for exercise once a day as long as we keep our distance from others – we know the more remote areas of the forest. Thank you very much, Sheree – especially for your concern.

  3. The hoofprints really create a treacherous terrain. Do you have any idea what the white band-like mark on the pony up top might be? It’s at the top of the right side of the neck, and almost looks like a bandage or something. It isn’t a usual place for a blaze or mark, but maybe is for this kind of pony–

  4. Glad you conquered the rough terrain and were safe as you walked!
    What is that around that one pony’s neck?
    Your meal sounds delicious and comforting. 🙂
    <3 and (((HUGS))), Derrick and Jackie! Stay safe and well!

    1. Thanks very much, Carolyn. I think the terrain conked me. The neck adornment is a reflective collar so that the free roaming animals can be seen by car drivers in the dark. X

  5. I am sorry about all those hoofprints making the ground uneven! The ground is the same here at this time of year, too. I love these wide views of your countryside. I am glad you are getting out for some fresh air in relative isolation.

  6. Ah, those pesky hoof prints. It is always a toss up which is harder to traverse: sloppy wet and soggy hoof prints, or dry and solid prints that have no give, thus real ankle twisters! Oh, and by the way, a closer look at the horse by the gate reveals that the “odd white marking” is actually a strap.I guess the owner feels that a halter might get hung up in the fence wire or branches. Be careful out there…..

    1. Thanks very much, Maj and Sher. You obviously know about this problem. The strap is a reflective collar so that the free roaming ponies can be seen by drivers at night.

  7. This walk was in the league of test matches. I believe our limbs were once suited to inhabit the trees, and now have evolved to tackle the flatlands as the dominant species. The ones requiring frequent high speed escapes from life-threatening situations, developed natural shoes, or hooves. Apparently, you were about to attempt an activity not envisaged by our evolutionary instincts. I am glad you retraced your steps back to the Modus. Those trophies have enriched your chronicle, nonetheless.

  8. Oh, be careful, Derrick! The ponies are lovely. The word gorse will always remind me of Sylvia Plath. Nothing will ever change that.

  9. Enjoyed your walk and had sympathy with your efforts to walk upon the churned-up ground. One of the farmworkers twisted his ankle here the other day, it really us awful to walk on. Sophie came up Yesterday for a walk in the fields away from other people and said exactly the same as you.

      1. So I understand. I think those of us over 70 are not supposed to leave home. You are in your own car and are not bumping into others so perhaps that’s okay.
        My lot are coming here because it’s the safest place to get fresh air and let the little ones have a run around. We have a smaller paddock that the animals haven’t been in this year And they’re taking more precautions by not of coming up at the same time as each other. They’re also staying a few metres from me outside when we have a chat.

  10. Be careful, my friend. You sure don’t want to go through another operation! I appreciate what you have done to show us all what your countryside looks like these days!

  11. You’re blessed to have such surroundings to walk in. In the city it is impossible to walk and keep social distance while attempting to stretch one’s legs

  12. A very difficult walk when preceded by horse. But the latter photos showed a better path. However, any walk in the wild woods is better than concrete and asphalt.

  13. Your adventurous spirit tests those new knees! Glad you found your way back from the tough terrain. Your words flow like butter. Well written and photographed as always.

  14. Oh dear. It does seem to be taking a long time for your knee replacement/s to reach a comfortable stage. Here, those who undergo the operation all recover differently. Some bounce straight back, others take more time. But eventually, they do all seem to be able to walk normally and keep their balance. Hope it will be the same for you.

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