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Otterbourne Park Wood

Posted on 4 June 2015 by

I’ve recently become a volunteer photographer for the Woodland Trust and the first assignment was to explore and photograph a local Woodland Trust wood. It came as something of a surprise to me that there are very few Woodland Trust woods near me – living so close to the New Forest I had assumed there would be plenty but this isn’t the case. There are a few dotted around Burley and towards Fordingbridge, but most of these appear to be very small and fairly difficult to get to. So, I plumped for Otterbourne Park Wood in North Hampshire, between Eastleigh and Winchester.

I parked up in a nearby pub car park and headed out along a quiet road, turning onto a narrow lane that ducked under the cover of trees. The Woodland Trust sign appeared before long on a gate and I followed the leafy dirt track inside. I had planned out a short circular route that turned out to be very easy to follow. It immediately struck me how different this was from the woodland I’m used to walking in the New Forest. Although still fairly isolated this is still a woodland in the middle of civilisation, as the faint road noises suggested. It seemed as though the wood sought to make up for its lack of space by concentrating its essence as much as possible. Cover from the trees was very thick, the only sign of the sky being glimpses through the leaves. The brilliant afternoon sunshine gave everything an almost luminous green glow. The encroaching wilderness seemed very much at odds with the neat paths cut into the ground.

It’s clearly a very popular wood, as even at this point on a weekday I met a number of people, including a number of dog walkers. It’s great for a community to have woodland like this in the local area, which highlights the importance of the Woodland Trust. A lot of what they do centres around reconnecting people with the wildernesses on their doorstep, and if Otterbourne Park Wood is anything to go by I can strongly recommend it. You can find your local wood on the Woodland Trust website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk. The summer has only just begun, so there’s plenty of time to explore!

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