In a brickwork plinth off Brookley Road on the road to the public car park (next to Holbrook House.)
"Brusher Mills" Snakecatcher - a brief history...
"Brusher Mills" (1840 – 1905) became a New Forest folk hero for his unusual occupation as a snake catcher.
Named Henry and known as Harry, he grew up in the village of Emery Down near Lyndhurst and worked as a labourer. In his forties he moved into an old charcoal burner’s hut in woodlands near Sporelake Lawn, near Brockenhurst, and took up catching snakes for a living.
Armed with a forked stick and a sack, he set about ridding local properties of grass snakes and adders. He sent some to London Zoo as food for the birds of prey and used others to make ointments to treat snake bites and other ailments.
It is thought he caught around 30,000 snakes during his 18 years as a snake catcher. These days he would have to choose a different profession because all New Forest reptiles have special protection under wildlife laws.
He is said to have been given the ‘Brusher’ nick-name for sweeping the cricket pitch at Balmer Lawn between innings whenever a match was played. A simple man who loved the simple life, he lived contentedly in his mud hut apart from a spell in the workhouse after catching influenza.
He was a popular character in Brockenhurst, regularly enjoying a tipple at The Railway Inn (now named The Snakecatcher in his honour) situated on Lyndhurst Road, not far from the railway station. He also became a popular tourist attraction at the local fairs.
'Brusher' was apparently distraught when his hut was vandalised and he was left homeless. Some say that his home was destroyed to prevent him using squatters’ rights or ancient Forest law to claim the land. He took up residence in an outbuilding at his favourite hostelry and died there not long afterwards.
You can see Brusher’s grave in St Nicholas’ Church, Church Lane, Brockenhurst, where villagers paid for a marble headstone to mark his final resting place.
Ober Water Trail
You can start this walk from Whitefield Moor car park.
There are two trails marked out to follow - the yellow route (1 mile long) and the red route (1½ miles long).
The third photo in the slideshow below is a map for both trails. It is on the notice board in the car park.
Both trails cross through a variety of habitats, including heathland, grassland and woodland. The Paths are a mixture of moderately smooth gravelled surfaces and compacted grassy ground, with some gentle slopes and a few resting places.
At certain points along the trails you'll cross some footbridges over Ober Water. There are four bridges altogether; the first one, Puttles Bridge, is the roadbridge on Rhinefield Road (which you won't be crossing as part of this trail), the second one is the first of the three other footbridges you will encounter. If you are following the yellow trail then you will cross over the second footbridge. If you're following the longer red trail then you will pass the second bridge and cross over the third and final one.
The series of photos from number 4 onwards are from a photoshoot I did in December 2015. On this visit I wanted to concentrate on the bridges and the habitat around them. As you wander along the trail the stream isn't always visible, so I've wandered off the trail to get views of the stream as it meanders through the Forest.
You will notice that the water in the stream appears to be brown. Naturally produced organic compounds are released from algae and plants when they die and begin to decompose. When these compounds are washed into the stream through heavy rainfall they are dissolved in the water and are referred to as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Due to the vast amounts of plant material in the forest there is a larger breakdown of material and once they're present in the stream they become dark in colour.
Foam is often seen accumulating against logs or on the banks of the stream, particularly on windy days. When it first appears, foam can be white, but generally turns brown over time. Without going into too much technical detail, the development of foam occurs due to changes in the water surface tension and the physical introduction of air. So it's nothing to be concerned about and is not due to contaminated water.
The stream originates in the bogs around Burley and flows down through the oak woods and joins the Highland Water a mile from here to become the Lymington River.
You may have an opportunity to see fallow, red, or roe deer around this area too. Also, the New Forest ponies are never far away. The ponies are owned by local commoners so although they are not wild, they are not tame either, so don't get too close or try to feed them.
Ober Water Trail / Puttles Bridge
[Photos taken 22 December 2016]
Blackhamsley Hill Railway Bridge & Tower
Grid Ref.: SU 29140 00341
Panoramic view from Hincheslea Moor Forestry Commission car park on Burley Road, Brockenhurst. Looking from left to right across Wilverley Plain / Hincheslea Moor / Red Hill / White Moor. [Photo taken 28 January 2016]
New Park Plantation / Hursthill Inclosure
[Photos taken on 24 May 2016]
Roydon Woods / Nature Reserve
Bluebell heaven. Carpets of native bluebells in bloom.
[Photos taken on 5 May 2016]
Ngā Tapuwae marker
This symbol appears on the marker board commemorating the participation of UK based New Zealand soldiers in WWI, which is in the car park outside St. Nicholas Church. Click on the image to learn more about the New Zealand First World War Trails, and the story behind the design of this marker.
War Memorial, Sway Road
Situated in an enclosed green area next to main road (Sway Road) near junction with Wide Lane Close.