Winter Forest Sunsets


Yesterday afternoon, I had an errand to run a half hour drive out of town. Looking at the map, I realised that I could leave early and catch sunset in the New Forest.

I parked in Frogham and walked out along Hampton Ridge to the trig point, where I watched the sun set over Blissford, Chilly Hill, Long Bottom and Burnt Balls.

Don’t you just love Forest names?

I was only there for about an hour, but this most micro of microadventures gave me an idea for wintering.

There are forty-seven trig points in the New Forest National Park, twenty-two of which are beautifully photogenic pillars.

My idea is simple: watch twenty-two sunsets in the Forest this winter, one from each of its pillars.

My winters are usually spent sheltering from the darkness, bathed in electric light. By celebrating sundown, I hope to keep up a strong connection to the outdoors, discover beautiful new places — and maybe even sleep better.

As I mentioned last week, I suspect I might be one of the ten percent of people who especially benefit from spending more time outdoors at dusk.

I’m generally an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kinda person, and I know it’s only a single data point, but after my hour in the Forest at sunset yesterday I slept until 8.30am. I awoke astonished, but rested. Hallelujah to more of that feeling, please.

Winter 2023-24 Forest Sunsets


Trigpoint Name Height (m) Grid Ref Visited
Bramshaw 125.1 SU2445115123 22/12/23
Pound Bottom 124.5 SU2193017289
Bratley Plain 104.8 SU2183508895 24/12/23
Hart Hill 104.4 SU2612910247 21/12/23
Blissford 100.1 SU1850713555 14/12/23
Strides Row 80.7 SU2464322716
Ibsley Common 76.3 SU1717709875
Dur Hill Down 75.9 SU1936901053 22/01/24
Markway Hill 63.8 SU2434502570
Stagbury Hill 60.5 SU2862416043
Sway 58.9 SZ2793799817
Lyndhurst 49.4 SU3089607979
West Wellow 45.2 SU2846518836
Yards Hill 41.6 SU3696509693
Hill Top 40.4 SU4039404594
Netley Marsh 39.9 SU3265512831
Hatchet Moor 39.7 SZ3550699914
Dibden 31.1 SU3965508632
Yew Tree Heath 29.6 SU3628106388
Nea Croft 27.5 SZ1915596936
Burton Common 24.2 SZ1919795373
Thorns 15.6 SZ3889797680