Peter, the owner, was not there so we could behave like dignified adults. (Please notice the double specs to read the menu.) We sat out in the garden in the gorgeous sunshine.
Along the way the roads are lined in glorious yellow as the gorse is out in full bloom. The harsh winter has certainly lead to a very verdant spring here.
We headed off into the forest after the feast. The sun was streaming through the trees, highlighting the new grow, mostly fresh beech leaves.
We drove along Rhinefield Drive to visit the big trees. I call them the Sentinels. They are the reason I want to go to the Redwoods. These ones are mere babes, about 200 years old. They tower over the trees. It takes three people holding hands to get around the circumference of their trunks.
On the moors the ponies are out feeding on the new grass and grooming each other. There are few foals this year so it looks like the stallions were separated from the herds early for number control purposes. They do this every couple of years. I do miss the foals in all their awkwardness.
The donkeys seem to have escaped this and there was a sweet little one. It is unusual to see a baby because most of these are rescue animals that are fixed before they roam the forest.
After a beautiful drive through the forest, we arrived at Exbury where we acquired a wheel chair and set off into the gardens. They are stunning this year.
A pretty blossom of another kind.
We spent most of the day surrounded by scenes like this...
The grass is full of primulas and violets.
The acers are magnificent.
We came across the Domesday Yew which makes this a pretty old tree...
There are areas to sit and contemplate beauty...
All of this explored before the healthy option for lunch. I needed to build up my stamina for the afternoon.
After the refreshing visit to the tea room, we took off for the river side of the gardens. It was even more stunning, with azalea and camellia walks. This was the first view of the river. The white speck is a yacht.
Then we found the ponds.
I loved the blue bells refected in the water against the red leaves.
We arrived at the view point. It is the furtherest point in the garden and right on the Beaulieu River which is tidal.
Borneo had to push me all the way back up the hill. I had a good day and did manage to walk quite a bit but we would never have managed to explore the full beauty of the gardens without the blessing of the wheel chair.
On the way back we discovered some other ponds.
We walked along azalea hedged paths up to Exbury house
and across grassy treed lawns.
A small critter was oblivious to our movements.
As we moved back to the exit, a line of fruit trees in blossom greeted us.
It was a gorgeous day spent in awe at the beauty that nature has to offer.