An extract from 'Short Walks in the New Forest'

ISBN No.1 85306 159 X Countryside Books, Newbury

This subtle route takes us through the Wicked Wet Wood, and is designed for the young at heart. You will need a pair of wellies and a good sense of humour.

It is a matter of fine judgement which side of the bank is the least treachorous at any one time. No two months are ever the same, although the left bank tends to be easier than the right bank for most of the journey. Sometimes the driest part is the middle of the stream.

Those who survive this difficult approach will now reach the Wicked Wet Wood. This is the most miserable, wretched, evil-smelling, evil-natured wood you are likely to meet, so treasure the moment well.

It is perpetually damp: light trying to filter through its twisted stunted branches is snatched at and never reaches down to its lower members. This is just as well, for these members can only be dimly perceived prising themselves out of a flatulent greasy bogland so foul that the only greenery present is the mould and slime covering unfamiliar excresences. Even the tree roots can be seen attempting to escape upwards out of the slime and filth. Wildlife enters the wood to die, and then only if desperate.

Long spindly branches snatch at your hair constantly, even though you are forced to a constant stoop. Should you get lost, just follow the line of hairnets snatched from my mother-in-law's head over the passage of time. Home