Dave Ford, Walker, historian and You Tube-r.

Did you want to see the actual walk before you suggest it to your family and friends?  This is exactly the blog and You Tube link for you. Dave is a New Forest local and videos his walks, stopping to fill us in on local history. He shares a walk, each week, on his You Tube Channel. He chooses great routes, they are simply filmed and edited and you’ll be able to follow the route easily on a map. There are no gimmicks and Dave is easy to listen to.

The playlist of videos can be found at : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP-PdocpLbbVj_2E4VxeU_w

Here’s our chat…

Tell us about your “Dave’s Countryside Walks” Series?

Quite simply it is a series of videos (each one between 15 & 20 minutes long) in which I take a walk in a specific part of the countryside (mainly The New Forest) accompanied by my Whippet, Logan.  Each video starts off with an introduction in which I put up a route map on screen so that viewers can follow and enjoy the walk themselves later – they are usually between 3 & 5 miles in length. Using a hand held action camera, I take the “viewer” on a relaxed walk, pointing out interesting aspects to look out for as I go without it appearing to be too much of a full documentary.

British History at it’s best. The Rufus Stone…

When did you start your YouTube Series?

About two years ago, I acted as a guide for Richard Vobes when he was producing a “video walk” on a part of The New Forest.   Richard  runs his own successful  Youtube Channel called “The Bald Explorer”. Having seen Richard at work, I was inspired to do something similar myself despite having no experience or knowledge about filming or editing videos! I published my first video on my Youtube Channel  (Dave’s Countryside Walks) -a walk at Frogham -in July 2019 and have produced roughly one each week (always on a Friday) since then.

One man and his dog…

We’re lucky to have you. Why the New Forest?

I live on the edge of the New Forest and walk my two Whippets there every day so I have always had a deep affection for the area. I couldn’t see that anyone had really produced a set of videos specifically on different parts of the Forest before and my aim has always to been to show people what a fascinating & diverse place it is.  I try and make them interesting  as well as educational, without being too patronising! In fact on more than one occasion I have had feedback from “locals” thanking me for explaining certain aspects about the Forest that they have never previously been aware about!  Just simple things such as pointing out a hidden boundary stone, a Bronze Age Barrow or the history behind a building can add so much value to a walk.

Credit to Annie Spratt – another New Forest explorer.

What is your favourite walk on the forest? Top 3 please.

That is a tricky one – I have done 38 “Forest” videos so far & they all have their individual merits.

But if you push me… my top 3 would be :

  1. 1) Bolderwood. Nice easy track to walk on and only about 3 miles with lots of interest (the Radnor Stone, the Canadian Cross Memorial & the Deer viewing platform).
  2. 2) Brockenhurst. .You have the expanse of Balmer Lawn, the Butterfly Ride half way around & wonderful woodland. Again, fairly easy tracks. I bumped into a Classic Steam car rally at the start of that walk!
  3. 3) Beaulieu Road. A great walk over heathland & into woodland. Again, lots of interest including the pony sales yard at the start. I unintentionally got caught up in the Pony Drift at the end of that one which was exciting!

4) If you want to understand more about the forest and it’s role in WWII then I also enjoy all three of the “WW2” RAF Airfield” walks at Beaulieu, Holmsley & Ibsley as well as the “coastal” walks at Keyhaven & Lepe.

What frustrates you the most when you’re out and about?

Seeing dogs out on the Forest that are clearly out of control  – often chasing wildlife (deer) or disturbing ground nesting birds. Also, spotting folk feeding the ponies (which of course is against the local byelaws & often encourages aggression /jealousy between the animals). In both situations it is a matter of “educating the humans”!

Logan… prettiest dog in the New Forest… (except mine and yours of course!)

Tell about Logan, clearly he’s very beautiful… 

He is a 4 year old Whippet and is great company on my walks. In fact it is often quite useful having  him as someone to “talk to” on screen.  I do dog showing with him (he has qualified for Crufts every year of his life & indeed had a 4th place there in 2018) as well as competitive obedience (unusual for a Whippet I know but he already has his Pre Beginner title!). He is so well behaved on our walks and now has his own little fan club on the Channel. (And yes, he always gets to travel with his blanket…)

I heard you were a keen horse rider. What do you know about the wild ponies on the New Forest?

I took up horse riding very late in life (late thirties!) & was lucky enough to own a lovely 16.3 hand chestnut thoroughbred gelding. We had a lot of fun together doing cross country events & dressage – all at a low level though!  I love seeing the ponies on the Forest, especially in the Spring when the foals are about. Of course, even though they have owners, they are semi-feral and so do need their space. Admire and enjoy from a distance is the best policy.


How did you get here in your life? Local historian, storyteller, wanderer? Your CV is quite varied! 

I am now retired, after a career in Banking where I guess I may have picked up some presentation skills. Brought up in Sussex and moved to the Hampshire/Dorset border 16 years ago, I have always felt I was more  a “country lad” than anything else. I do enjoy doing all the research for the videos (fingers crossed there are not too many mistakes) but I am no expert or historian and really it is a case of getting the balance right when providing the background information, without sounding too much of a “know all”.

At the end of the day, these videos are about a man & his dog going out into the New Forest and seeing what they can find and along the way having a bit of fun and enjoying the sights and sounds of a very beautiful part of the world.

To see the channel, go to Youtube and search for “Dave’s Countryside Walks” or “Dave Ford New Forest” and you should find me.

The playlist of videos can be found at : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP-PdocpLbbVj_2E4VxeU_w

Dave, you’re a star. Thank you for sharing this with us. We love that our guests can do so much research at home before they come. Family time has never been more precious, so we are hugely appreciative that we can ‘travel slow’ and learn from your interest. Thank you.

The Wooden Bridge at Rhinefield…. credits Brian Terry. We’ve done an interview on him too….

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