The soils of the New Forest in Hampshire, England are mainly clays and gravels. Whilst much of the ground underfoot remains muddy or boggy for most of the year, water levels in the rivers rise and fall rapidly according to the unpredictable weather. There is no prettier sight than a forest river meandering it's gravelly way through ancient woodland.

The protective banks guarantee a wide range of plant and animal life along the fringes.

Highland Water is perhaps my favourite wayward river. In deep rich green shadow throughout the summer, the glorious bronzes and yellows of the autumnal beech give rise to a striking display of bold pollarded trunks displaying their naked limbs to the blue skies. Spring breaks this spell in a spectacular fashion with the vivid yellows and greens of the spurge heralding a complimentary engorement of colour from the canopy above.

Equally enchanting is the emerald Longwater Lawn. The young Beaulieu River bursts its flood banks in rare spurts of frenzied activity only occasionally. The rest of the time it is content to meander in a relaxed fashion through rich open pasture backed by open heathland. Countless ponies and cattle graze its sunny banks, but the most spectacular hope is to catch the red deer as they make their cautious way down to the river bank at sunset, to dip their velvety antlers into the lazy river as they drink. Home