Tacked down, cats onboard and farewells said, I continued along the drove. The southern end exits onto the main London road to and from the southwest. I turned left and at the roundabout a short distance on, I picked up the A345 again and continued South. We passed Old Sarum, the original site of the city of Salisbury; Sarum being the old name for Salisbury, then soon joined the ring road around the city to the southern end where I then took the main road signposted for Ringwood.
Once past Fordingbridge I plumped for one of the left turns that took us into the New Forest. Eventually, I found myself in the village of Rockford. A little further on I came across a parking area. It looked more like a car park and didn’t seem at all suitable. I stopped to look at the map in order to see if I could gauge exactly where I was and whether a more suitable area could be found. I then saw a woman walking her dog, so jumped out and stopped her to enquire as to where I was likely to find something. She said that I certainly wouldn’t be able to park where I was as it is too close to the village and would attract complaints. She directed me further into the Forest where parking was more remote. I thanked her, headed back to the village and turned right heading deeper into the Forest.
The road crossed open land for a bit, entered woodland, then back onto open land. I saw one or two potential spots, but kept going. Eventually, I spotted a track leading to a sheltered parking area off to my right. I thought, “This is the spot.” and turned onto the track. At the end, parking was available to the left and right. It appeared quite busy, or potentially so, to the right. The left looked more appealing, so that’s where I parked.
In the morning I met a few locals. They had organised themselves into hiking groups. We chatted for ages over cups of tea. One kind lady offered to fill my water butt, promising to return the next morning. I thanked her and accepted her offer. All reassured me that I was fine to stay for a while. The next morning I was presented with a whole host of local delicacies, fruit, vegetables and eggs, along with the water. I proceded to enjoy another fine day chatting with locals over cups of tea.
That evening, I had a knock at the door. I opened the door to find a bloke outside. He asked me if I was interested in any work. I said that I was just travelling by. We chatted for a bit, during which he (I can’t for the life of me think what his name is. He did say.) explained that he was offering a park up, meals and a bit of cash in exchange for help with a bit of gardening. I ended up taking his number, just in case.
I had a lovely time there. There were, of course the ponies who live there. Much like the Dartmoor ponies, they are used to human contact. Soon though, it was time to move on.