Surrounded by forest, where ponies walk in the middle of its streets, where a driver passes a ford, and where a famous citizen once caught snakes and was famous for being immune to their venom. However, it is more likely that the name means ‘break wooded hill’ – broken in the sense of being divide by valleys and streams of new forest. The village is old. It was first recorded in the Doomsday Book. In the twelfth century the manor was own by Peter Spellman. In return, he had to provide bedding for the king’s bed and hay for his horse – when the king went on his frequent hunting trips in the forest. The New Forest had been cultivate as a royal hunting ground since Norman times.

A number of minor roads cross a ford in the New Forest – most remain dry for most of the year.

 The most famous of the fords is at Broken Hurst ‘Water Splash’ at the western end of the high street, called Rockley Road. At the other end of Rockley Road, near the mainline station, you’ll find the new Forest Cycle Experience – a great way to explore the forest. There are two car parks in the village. It is highly recommend that you park and explore the village on foot or by bicycle. A brick plinth stands in one of the parking lots. Attached to this is a ‘wheel plate’, a large cast iron disc used by local blacksmiths when fitting metal rims to wooden carriage wheels.

 It is the oldest church in the forest and is adorn with a beautiful Norman doorway. In the cemetery you can wander around the many old tombstones. If you do, you will see a very surprising and yet poignant war cemetery for New Zealand soldiers. Neat rows of gravestones commemorate the more than a hundred soldiers who died in the nearby field hospital during the First World War. In addition, the cemetery contains the grave of Harry Mills, known as ‘Brusher’ Mills. His nickname came from his hobby of clearing Brocken Hurst’s cricket ground before matches to remove twigs and leaves, and no doubt from the droppings of the ponies and cattle that roam the streets. But his main claim to fame was that he earned his living by catching snake catcher Sunshine Coast in the forest. Apparently he was say to be immune to the venom of the viper – Britain’s only venomous snake. He also earned a small income by ‘rescuing’ guests from snakes that suddenly appeared in their midst. Whether visitors thanked him for saving him or for fun, we can only imagine.

How to deal with snakes in your home or garden

If you see a snake in your home or garden, the first thing to do is resist the urge to attack it with a broom or stick or some other kind of stick. Snakes can jump quite high and hit you as if they were on the ground. Sometimes, if a snake is indoors, it may be on a slippery floor, reducing its ability to move efficiently. If so, it is best to place something heavy like a large book on top. This will limit his ability to move further. Be careful though. Use the book as a shield to approach the snake. Please note that I do not advocate killing snakes if you have the means to call a trained professional to remove them. Snakes are an integral part of the environment and play an important role in controlling certain species. You should only consider killing him if you have no other options.

It is always good to know how to distinguish between venomous and non-venomous

Snakes in your area so that you do not accidentally kill a non-venomous snake. It is extremely important not to kill non-venomous snakes because they actually control the population of venomous snakes by actively hunting them. If you have decided that there is no other option but to kill the poisonous snake, the next step is to either cut it in half with a long-bladed garden hoe. I still say it’s best to call PDSA and send an expert to collect the hose if possible. Usually they catch it and release it somewhere away from human habitation. If the snake is find in a drawer or in a hard-to-reach area, leave it alone, move all family members away from the immediate area and, above all, try not to interact with it.

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