Monday, April 14, 2008
Today , the morning was beautiful and sunny with very little wind, so we decided to go to Needs Ore. This is part of the North Solent Nature Reserve. However to get to Needs Ore you need a permit as the land is part of the Beaulieu Estate. We grabbed some sandwiches from a local sandwich bar and decided to eat them at Hatchetts Pond before going to get the permit. Within minutes the rain was bucketing down and we began to think it was a bad idea, but as we drove towards Beaulieu it began to brighten so we stopped off for the permits. They assured us it was easy to find so off we went. Well we found the Tithe Barn at St Leonards OK and took the long private track opposite , got to the end to find this was not the right place , we were told the track to Needs Ore was a good half a mile further along the road. We got back to the road and just as we were negotiating our way around a herd of cows we saw the track on the left. This was only about 100 yards further along the road not Half a mile, so a quick turn around , back through the herd of cows and we were off down another very long track. Our way was suddenly barred by a pair of gates , another stop to ask directions at a cottage and as i returned to the car it was a bit of a shock to see it gently moving towards the gates. Fortunately Karen realised and put the hand brake on. After pressing the magic button the gates slowly opened and we continued down the track.After another stop to ask for yet more directions we finally parked and looked at the small map on the permit, we turned it all ways and couldn't make any sense of it at all. By chance we found a gate into the reserve and a map , equally useless. We followed a small path through the hedges and then came to yet another gate into a field. There was no obvious route so we went straight across the field, still couldn't see any sign of the hides and soon we came to a moderately steep embankment, we clambered up it and there was a board walk down the other side leading to several hides. We spent some time watching the birds before eventually finding the correct path backacross the field and to the car. We timed our return well as the wind had got up and by the time we reached the car the dark clouds were returning and we drove home in rain!