For those of you that know I am an avid reader and there is no doubt that was ingrained in me from childhood. Therefore I was delighted to find myself next to the birthplace of an old favourite Winnie-the-Pooh whilst enjoying an escape in Sussex, South East England. Take after Pooh and experience your own ‘expotition’ across Ashdown Forest and pass through the frequented haunts of Christopher Robin and Pooh. Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926 and illustrated by E.H. Shepard, the characters inspired from Christopher Robin’s toys i.e. A.A.Milne’s son.
A visit to the tranquil realms of Ashdown Forest led us to discover ‘the Pooh Walk’ which allows you to visit the real inspiration behind those magical early adventures and proof that some of the best things in life are free. The suggested start for both the short and longer trail is Gills Lap car park in Hartfield, where I started my adventure, transporting us to the ‘enchanted place on the top of the forest’ where it was said ‘a little boy and his bear will always be playing’.
Follow in the footsteps of the great author A.A.Milne and discover the real 100 Akre Wood, the Enchanted Place, Piglet’s, the North Pole, Roo’s Sandy Pit, the Heffalump Trap, as well as Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place. The shorter trail is an easy circuit suitable for children and offers wonderful views across surrounding countryside. For those keen to embark on the full adventure, beware of some steep and rocky areas of path as you venture up through the High Weald (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
With weary legs you may wish to take a well-earned break before the second half of you literary adventures, in which case I heartedly recommend a visit to Pooh Corner, no surprise in Hartfield. Pooh Corner opened in 1978 and to this day continues to provide nomadic travellers and day-tripping families with a place to rest within quaint tea rooms and adjoining shop of memorabilia. Make time to enjoy a little something at Piglet’s Tea Room and Garden where you can enjoy a smackeral or two before the next leg of your journey.
Located slightly further down the road on the other side of Hartfield you’ll find a hidden woodland car park which will lead you unsuspectingly to the infamous Poohsticks Bridge, the game deriving from its namesake where it was invented. The original bridge built in 1907 was originally Posingford Bridge and was suggested by local historians that it was the place where Christopher Robin Milne and his father first played the game beloved by so many today. As the news came to spread and gain growing public interest, the bridge was subsequently reopened by Christopher Robin Milne and officially renamed Poohsticks Bridge as it now remains affectionately known.