Broadwater Warren, an idea for a walk with your dog.
I always feel like I have delved into a secret magical land when I visit Broadwater Warren. Nearby Ashdown Forest is equally as beautiful but the unique thing about Broadwater Warren is the hugely diverse landscape, flora and wildlife encapsulated in such a small area. If you are lucky you might meet one of the beautiful” gardening” ponies that roam freely during the summer months or a Nightjar, Woodcock or Glow Worm.
You would imagine that the well signposted walks would be ideal for someone such as me who is prone to getting lost, but alas I still managed to lose my way recently. Passing a sweet chestnut coppice, high conifers and descending through the valley, I approached the wetland boardwalk with care, venturing cautiously over the iron stained pools, but a beautiful dragonfly the size of which I have never seen before diverted my attention and I must have strayed form the path. Eventually after an hours circling and a mild panic attack I found my way to the road only to discover that I was in the dip of two hills, the left ascent looking identical to the right to my confused eyes so not knowing which way to go I delved back into the woods instead of making the difficult choice. Where I re-entered the warren, the woods were thick and tricky to get through but just as I had resigned myself to a life in the woods with my dogs, foraging for nuts and berries and drinking stream water, I heard the sounds of the water at the decoy pond.
I knew that the pond was on the nature trail and if I could just make it there I wouldn't have to build shelter for the night and rub sticks together for warmth. I'm not sure why I didn't just take a punt on one of the hills on the road as an alternative to living in the woods forever, perhaps secretly deep down I quite fancy living like a hobbit in the roots of an old tree.
Dogs are welcome on the site but please remember that they should be leashed, the site is lucky enough to be the home of ground nesting birds and a frolicking dog off lead may disturb and even though you are in a wild landscape please remember to pick up your dog’s poo, no one wants to be foraging in the woodland and stepping in smelly doggy do besides which it can have a detrimental effect on the nutrients in the soil changing the conditions for plant growth. One last thing worth mentioning if you visit with your dog, don’t let them swim in the pond, there is an abundance of wildlife to be disturbed within it.