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How Not to Bird Hants & Dorset

New Forest Gorse

It’s simple: drive all day. And that’s pretty much what I did on a roundabout route from Steyning to Portishead. Heavy traffic past Chichester and Southampton didn’t help and more threatened on the A31 across the New Forest. My northerly escape route came into play.

This includes lunch at the Green Dragon, Brook – expensive but nice. Then the roads pass Longcross, Fritham and Ocknell Plain. Any of these, and all points between, would make a good stop, except early in the afternoon – the birding doldrums. My half hour at Milkham Inclosure yielded two types of heather and a buzzard.

The route leaves the Forest through Broomy Walk at Linwood, which I visited with no great success in 1999. (Perhaps the New Forest is not kind to me?) I ploughed on for Rockford Lake, where black terns had been reported, but, passing in the car, it wasn’t even clear that I was surrounded by the entire Blashford complex.

The rest of the day was a saga of “no room at the inn.” Swanage, Wareham, Dorchester, Crewkerne (no inns at all) and Chard all took me up to seven o’clock. Bristol was then only an hour up the motorway. I ran for home.

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