One of the many things we miss about Manchester is not having the Peaks on our doorstep. We have, however, substituted that hilly wilderness for the vast and rugged pasture, heath and woodland of the New Forest, which is just as jawdroppingingly beautiful. As well as visiting a number of its villages and hotels for afternoon tea we have also managed a couple of walks. The latest was in the vicinity of Whitefield Moor and the Ober Water stream. With the sun shining and a blue sky, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. After trekking across the rusty moorland, we passed through patches of scorched trees and clumps of mossy pine, crisscrossing the tranquil Ober Water in several places. We were also witness to an equine tryst. Did you know that though the ponies roam freely (in the forest, on the road where they have right of way over vehicles, and in people’s gardens) they are in fact owned by New Forest commoners? The ponies are rounded up annually to have their health checked, and to be sold and bred.