This is not a cheap neck of the country, as intimated by a Ferrari dealership occupying the centre of town. Not good for the solo traveller, then, though I did find the charming Forest Cottage down the High Street for £32. Prices otherwise were more like £40 and £50 for doubles.
Dining was fine for such a small place with two Indians – again, neither cheap – a Chinese, one Italian, one chippie and sundry miscellaneous restaurants. And pubs. A pint of Ringwood Best set me back £3.10 – a far cry from my £1.59 days at Redditch Wetherspoons.
Still, it wasn’t beer, or Ferraris, that took me to the heart of the New Forest, but Dartford warblers. Despite being late in the afternoon and lodgingless, I stopped briefly at Acres Down, just north of Lyndhurst, where I had one bird back in 1999.
I had no recollection of the site although getting there was a cinch. Westbound anyway. Turn left after Stoney Cross Services to Emery Down and the site is signposted to the right after a mile or so. This was where the unfamiliarity crept in. I crossed a ford and the road turned into a track, but it did terminate in a car park.
My half-hour search turned up nothing apart from calling bullfinches. Then the B&B search became urgent. After the success of which, my friendly landlady told me of nightjars being back at Shatterford. My plan for the evening changed to eating then ‘jarring, and changed again after my third pint to just walking the heath south of town.
This produced one calling cuckoo and a brief woodcock before it grew very cold. So, Shatterford had to wait until the next day.
(And today is my first blogiversary. Yay!)