On an island less than 150 square miles, it’s easy to assume we’ve explored every inch. Yet I’m constantly surprised by new lanes, paths and woodland. We have our favourite haunts, always worthy of a repeat visit, but recently we’ve been seeking out some new corners. There’s no doubt that daily dog walks have added to our explorations. Now we’re always on the hunt for variety, interest and plenty of space to run.
Parkhurst Forest is far more than the typical forestry commission conifers I too often dismiss. Wandering up to the top of the hill we found big beautiful expanses of deciduous trees, views for miles across to the Downs, and plenty of undergrowth to entertain an inquisitive wet nose.
The heartland hills around Gatcombe are a crisscross of quiet paths, with Ransom underfoot and shoulder-height Umbellifers. We climbed a steep path and noticed the air change from heady wild garlic to salty sea breezes. Thanks to the village scarecrow festival we also met Adam & Eve, the Gruffalo, and a rather indomitable nurse on our travels.
Whilst we love the big tourist-worthy hotspots of this island, it’s still lovely to discover some unassuming, untouched corners of rural life just off the beaten track. This gentleman encourages us to plan our everyday routes with that in mind. You never know what delights may await.