‘Return to the Forest’ – Little Doward Hill Sunday

Little Doward Hill

Or a Stormy Night, Old Mother Hubbard and Dinner and a Show…

The wind roars all night but in our battened down van with no additional tent or awning we are just fine. Millie keeps waking us up though, first she’s too hot , then she’s too cold, then she has to scratch her ears and then she really must just wash her paws…

In the end Darrell loses all patience and bundles her into her own bed where she sits, blanket over her head looking like a small, rather aggrieved ‘Old Mother Hubbard’.

We have breakfast in bed with the door open and the sun pouring in. It’s as warm as Scotland in August. We had thought to go off site today but the consensus is that we just can’t be bothered so a ‘follow your nose’ walk avec GPS is planned instead. Millie and Darrell breathe identical sighs of relief; “This can be our R and R weekend”, Darrell says clutching his phone and trying to find a wisp of a signal. “We deserve it”. Millie agrees wholeheartedly and lies in a pool of sun watching Forest of Dean TV.

Compared to the New Forest there is very little action but she doesn’t seem to mind in the least. We move the van onto a pitch much better for deer viewing and then head out into the forest.

We walk downhill to the Wye and cross at Biblin’s Bridge. Millie doesn’t hesitate and trots across with tail held high. Surprisingly despite the raging torrent beneath and the rather swaying nature of the bridge she finds this much less scary than the rock solid stone bridge over a slow moving river that she encountered at Avignon.

We follow a path between the river and the cliffs. Millie creates beech leaf avalanches and cavorts happily among the rocks and trees. We climb steadily to Little Doward Hill Tumulus and at the top look out across the forest. Two buzzards tumble in the cloudy sky.

Back in camp we batten down (even though there is not a breath of wind) and eat chicken pilaff followed by chocolate cake. We open the van door. It is pitch dark and the sky is awash with stars. Owls shriek from the trees. There are deer everywhere, grunting and whistling to each other. When they see movement some jump over the wooden barrier, others duck underneath and some carry on grazing loudly. So that would be dinner and a show then…

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