Tarrant Monkton to Three Legged Cross
Yesterday we said good bye to the Sainsbury-Plaices, so the photos will once more be taken including the intimate details of the back of Scylla’s ears. Last night we were joined by Caroline, so this morning she rode Scylla, whilst I rode Venetia’s Chuck, accompanied by Elizabeth on Nicky.
At least the bridleways were clear, easy to use and with very few gates, being in arable country, but unfortunately many of the surfaces were gravelly with flints. The latter can easy cut the horses’ legs or shoes, and I noticed this morning that one of Scylla’s front clips is missing, no doubt removed by a sharp flint; we were lucky.
The other disappointing thing is that what is marked on the map as a bridleway is increasingly a concreted or tarmac approach road, which is never as enjoyable as a grassy surface.
The exceptionally wet weather this ‘summer’ has meant that many routes are thoroughly overgrown.
One byway open to all traffic was not marked from the road and was also blocked by a fallen tree
but we are getting quite good at negotiating even these sort of obstructions.
The number of padlocked metal barriers is increasing, with horribly narrow illegal squeeze gaps alongside which require precision riding and the ability to lift your own legs clear, assuming your horse manages to get its own width through intact.
On the good side we have met a couple of bridleways behind the hedge along headlands, which must have been negotiated for safety as the roads are narrow and bendy with zero sightlines.
By our destination at the end of the day, we could see the New Forest and were riding through densely wooded areas, although relatively highly populated. So tonight the horses are at Lower Common Lane Livery Yard and a big thank you for having us.