All well after the rains

It has been wet, very wet!

Thankfully the caravanners who were on site during the worst of the weather had excellent driving skills and left the grass in good condition with little or no rutting. Now the weather is improving I don’t foresee any problems getting onto and off the site.

I have at last been able to cut the grass and things are quickly getting back into shape.

More seclusion for those who would like it

Our CL has always offered plenty of space but we know there are some visitors who like a bit more room and a niche that feels like their own. We have extended the area available to include about four  more possible pitches (there will still be no more than 5 total vans). The new area will give a better view out across the field and the chance to tuck in near a thicket for shelter and perhaps a great chance to feed and watch the birds.

Strolling around Gorley Common

Between the Avon valley and the Western edge of the New Forest is Gorley Hill. Like so many hills in the area it is a massive lump of clay with a gravel capping. That Gravel capping was the hill’s undoing back in the 1950’s when the top 10 metres or so was dug away for building materials. That period of destruction left the hill both lower and missing the remains of an ancient hill fort at it’s Southern end. Half a century later the hill’s vegetation has somewhat recovered, although misguided efforts of land managers have suppressed what could have been a fine clothing of woodland in favour of gorse and rabbits.

Don’t be put off because the walk around the rim of Gorley Hill is both easy and pleasant

Heywood Sumner

I never cease to be amazed at the great minds that were at work at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. How did those folks back then do so much creative and thoughtful work without all the technology that we have today – perhaps all that modern stuff just gets in the way.

Heywood Sumner was one of those great minds, and he lived and worked at Cuckoo Hill, just a couple of hundred yards from the Caravan site at Furzehill. George Heywood Maunoir Sumner was an artist, writer, archaeologist, craftsman, illustrator and skilled observer.  He wrote ‘The Book of Gorley’, a beautiful work about the area and people – you can still get hold of re-prints ( abridged and titled Cuckoo Hill, The Book of Gorley) today. The Book of Gorley is a great starting point for visitors to this area, the locations he wrote about still exist today and it’s fun trying to locate them.

If you get a chance take a look at the ‘Book of Gorley’ before visiting the Furzehill area. You can find out more about Heywood Sumner

Cuckoo Hill: Book of Gorley


Campers 3000 years ago

Easily overlooked there is a fascinating piece of archaeology within a few yards of the gate to our caravan site.  Immediately opposite the entrance gate alongside the stream there is a mound in the stream bank. This mound has been cut into by the stream and exposed it’s structure. The mound is composed entirely of heat fractured flints that were piled up there back in the Bronze age.

This feature is a boiling mound. Bronze age folks heated large flints from the stream in open fires and then plunged them into water thereby heating the water up and as a result shattering the flints.  No one is quite sure what the hot water was for… perhaps but possibly for ‘sweat lodge’ rituals, either way it’s fun to imagine what was going 3000 years on right where you will be camping.

We are on the Street Map!

The Google man must have braved the wilderness of the New Forest about 18 months ago and collected shots of our road.

View into Furzehill Farm CL gateway
View into Furzehill Farm CL gateway

Although the sun was shining it was in the Winter when there was mud and the trees were leafless – still, you can get a feel for the area.

Since the shot the hedge has been cut back and the entrance trimmed a bit, the site remains very natural and untamed. The gateway is fine for just about any van or camper to get in, so don’t be put off!

Site ready for visitors

The rain in February seemed endless and yet now that March has come the rain has stopped and the wind is drying the ground quickly. Already the CL site is dry enough for vehicles to move around quite happily – so, come and visit!

Blashford Lakes is a series of former gravel pits surrounded by grassland and willow, birch and alder woodland. The Dockens Water stream flows through the reserve and is bounded by ancient woodland of Oak and Beech.

How to get there

Blashford Lakes is 2 miles north of Ringwood on the A338, turn right (east) onto Ellingham Drove, the reserve entrance is after 500 yards with main car park to the left and Education Centre to the right. Main car park is at SU151083, Education Centre is at SU151079, postcode BH24 3PJ. View a map.

Public transport:

Bus, the X3 Bournemouth-Salisbury service stops at Ellingham Cross 500yds west of the main reserve entrance.

Getting around

The main paths are all rolled gravel with shallow gradients. At access points the kissing gates have RADAR keys for wider opening to allow passage of wheelchairs and buggies. A key can be borrowed from the Education Centre by arrangement. There are disability buggies available to borrow – to book, call 01425 472 760.

Opening times:

Open from 09:00 to 16:30 daily apart from Christmas day. During these hours the car park, all bird hides and Centre building with toilets are open. Outside these hours the paths are accessible but there is no vehicle access.


There are blackboards with recent sightings in the car park, at the Education Centre and in several of the bird hides. Also check latest reserve news. Leaflets, including a site map are available at the main car park, in the hides and at the Education Centre. Download a copy of the new reserve leaflet.

Contact information

Call 01425 472760 or 07917 616695

via Blashford Lakes · Our Reserves · HWT.

Open all the year round

OK, the Caravan Club book says we close for the Winter, well since that was printed we decided to open all the year round.

New Forest Beech trees
New Forest Beech trees

Since making that decision the weather has been so rank that no one would have wanted to visit anyway – but Spring is coming and it’s a wonderful time to visit the New Forest, so why not come and see what’s on offer in our little part of the hidden ‘forest

Even in the Winter there’s lots to see, the Ponies are always around and look rather shaggy and unkempt in their winter coats. The Deer are everywhere, you can’t miss them, just go for a walk on the open Forest. Ogdens seems to have an especially high population of teenage deer, there must be well over 70 of them.

I writing this in early March and it’s great to hear the Buzzards in good voice having been quite quiet for a few months, I guess their thoughts are turning to romance and nest-building.