Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/322

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



we can see the garden of "the Wakes," and the paddock or park-like meadow behind it, also the south side of the house. Descending by the slippery chalk path called "the zig-zag," which was made in White's time, the hour or more which remains is spent in a stroll to Woolmer, where we hope to see something of the forest so often mentioned by White. The road is one of the two "rocky, hollow lanes" referred to by him as being amongst the singularities of Selborne, the other, to Alton, being now disused. On each side are high banks of loose, white freestone, amongst which the ivy and the roots of trees twist curiously about and the fronds of the polypody and shield fern fill every little hollow formed by the overhanging bank. Presently the "forest," so-called, comes in sight, a bare, heathery waste, stretching away towards Hindhead, and much modified, we believe, since the date of our visit by its adaptation to the purposes of military training. Some of its large ponds or meres, to which ospreys, long-legged stilt-plovers, and other rarities used to come, are drained; others still remain. A walk of five miles to Alton concludes our pilgrimage. In the fields are great piles of hop-poles, ready for use again next season. The poor people still, as in White's time, "enjoy a second harvest in September by hop-picking."

White was the first of that school of British out-door naturalists who, as close observers of birds and their