There are numerous possibilities for walks from the car park at Blackwater Arboretum.

On this occasion the walk began along the gravel cycle paths through Poundhill inclosure up to the Highland Water stream near the Deer Sanctuary.

It then continued along the stream banks towards Gritnam Wood before turning left to cross over the Rhinefield Drive and through the Arboretum back to the car park.

The area is very popular even outside the school holiday period and the large car park was already quite full on arrival early on a Sunday morning.

Many people arrive in cars and stay close to the car park to eat lunch or have a BBQ and this was probably the reason why a tame Robin approached the car looking for food.

A warm dry spell had broken up a few days before the walk leaving a fresher feel to the weather but a calm sunny day proved ideal for ambling through the forest.

It felt more like an early summer’s day than autumn with green leaves still on the trees and grass regrowing lush along the rides.

Apart from the Robin there were several Song Thrushes looking for food on the forest floor and a Nuthatch appeared to be storing titbits in the end of a rotting log.

During the day several large blue and green Southern Dragonflies whizzed around checking out the humans that had encroached on their patch.

A stop in the walk provided some time for watching Common Darter Dragonflies as they flew over the brown bracken.

They were visible in flight but appeared to disappear every time they landed on the same coloured bracken.

Recent rain and the cooler weather provided ideal conditions for the growth of Fungi and a good selection appeared at the side of the gravel paths.

There has always been a prohibition on commercial fungi picking but this prohibition has been extended to any picking from 2016.

Unfortunately anyone trying to identify one of the thousands of different types by picking also falls foul of the prohibition.

There were two people seen picking fungi away from the gravel paths and also several cyclists deep in the wood which is also prohibited.

Sadly without a determined enforcement effort bans could turn out to be a waste of time.

A large Cep bolete fungi lying on the side of the path could be identified although it was partly eaten by some creature obviously unaware of the prohibition.

The area alongside Highland Water attracts many of the smaller birds even now there is very little water flow.

A great deal of work has been done to reinstate meanders and block the flow of water in order for the land to soak up more water.

This appears to have been successful as standing water could be seen on nearby boggy areas and evidence of the stream overflowing with mud and debris was present in several areas.

Distinctive footprints of Deer as they crossed the soft mud gave some indication of what happened when noisy humans were not present.

As well as the Blackbirds, Wrens flitted among the bracken and Great Tits searched for food up in the trees alongside their cousins the Blue Tits.

A solitary Chiffchaff was also seen scrambling through the undergrowth trying to find food and deciding whether to migrate before the winter.

What appeared to be small birds flying high in the tree tops turned out to be several Red Admiral butterflies perhaps trying to warm up in the sunshine?

The amount of fruit on the trees and bushes seems to have been rather sporadic this autumn.

Sloes and brambles are few and far between but occasionally a heavily laden shrub stands out from the rest.

Horse chestnuts and Sweet chestnuts are only just ripening but it does not appear to be a bumper year for conkers.

Returning to the car park along one of the gravel paths produced the sight of four young Fallow Deer slowly crossing the path from one side to the other.

Their orange brown summer coats stood out against the greens and browns of the vegetation.

The walk through the woods of the New Forest on a beautiful summer’s day turned out to be a very pleasant experience.