Update: Since writing this article, the Forestry Commission has closed Hut Wood to public access.
Hut Wood is one of those delightful bits of countryside that is just on our doorstep, yet few people seem to know about.
Well, there is an excuse – it’s managed by the Forestry Commission, but even their website doesn’t admit to its existence.
The wood lies to the west of the road from Asda in Eastleigh to Chilworth, just before the bridge over the M27 link road.
There is a small off-road parking area adjacent to the entrance. It is a delightful place for a walk, with well-made tracks providing access around the area. Note that although the paths are well-made, they can also be muddy in places.
Stout shoes are needed this time of the year, and walking boots are essential in the winter. And if you find that someone has cut canals between the puddles in the pathways, you’ll know that I’ve been there first!
As you enter the woods, the noise from the motorway is quite loud. But as you delve deeper, the traffic noise dies away and the birds start to sing – though as my young companion pointed out, the birds have always been singing – it’s just that now we can hear them above the background noise.
And, in actual fact, that traffic noise does turn out to have a useful purpose. There are no waymarks in the woods – the direction of the sound helps you find the way back to the car!
The woods contain a variety of trees and shrubs – mostly pine-type (sorry, I’m not good on tree identification), but also oak, beech, birch, elderflower, gorse and holly – and several others too.
Birds and butterflies dart about (usually too quick for the camera). For the artistic among you, there are some interestingly shaped trees, and some wonderful lighting effects filter through the leaves.
A wonderful place to visit on a sunny day to just sit quietly and relax. Or on a dull day, to get a bit of gentle exercise.