National Winnie the Pooh Day is just around the corner on January 18 and in celebration of everyone’s beloved fictional teddy bear obsessed with ‘hunny’, we thought we’d enlighten those of you not in the know that the marvellous Hundred Acre Wood where Pooh and his friends reside is real and is just under two hours away from London.
Ashdown Forest, or rather ‘Pooh Country’ or ‘Winnie the Pooh Forest’, is a national forest found in the county of East Sussex with origins as Medieval hunting forest and is home to Henry VIII’s hunting lodge but is best known as the inspiration behind AA Milne’s magical Hundred Acre Wood in his Winnie the Pooh stories we all know and love.
It was in the nearby village of Hartfield in Cotchford Farms where AA Milne lived and wrote the collection of short stories of Pooh’s adventures with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, drawing inspiration from exploring the forest with his son Christopher Robin. And now visitors and families flock to the forest to explore for themselves and find the said-to-be landmarks (not all of them are confirmed to be the exact landmarks that inspired Milne) that feature in the beloved children’s stories.
Winnie the Pooh landmarks
Now almost a century old, the Winnie the Pooh books tell tales of Pooh often playing ‘Pooh sticks’ over Pooh bridge. The game was originally invented and played by Milne and his son over the original Posingford Bridge which has since not survived but was replaced in the 1970s with a new Pooh bridge that Christopher Robin himself reopened and was officially renamed Poohsticks Bridge, found just north of Pooh car park.
Winnie the Pooh landmarks are dotted all over the forest for visitors to find. Be sure to look up to the trees for Owl’s house, Roo’s sandy pit by the quarry, the Heffalump trap and the Lone Pine tree that has spectacular views over the forest, Piglet’s house, Kanga’s house, Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place and Rabbit’s house are all to be found in the forest.
Of course, a stop at Pooh’s house goes unsaid. Found some distance from Poohstick Bridge and with a ‘Mr Sanderz’ sign above the door is the home of Pooh. You’ll find pots of ‘hunny’ lovingly left by friends and visitors for Pooh to enjoy and is one of the most delightful spots in the forest to find.
There is a Pooh Walk across the Hundred Acre Wood which will take you to some of the sites of Pooh’s adventure, along with a smaller walk that leads to The Enchanted Place and the Sandy Pit and is suitable for younger children with booklets on the walks available.
If that wasn’t enough Pooh for you, then Pooh Corner will surely sort you out. In the nearby village of Hartfield is a tearoom, gift shop and museum all rolled into one named Pooh Corner which is filled to the brim with all things Winnie the Pooh. From plates, clocks, keyrings, toys and memorabilia, it’s a heartwarming tribute to Pooh and friends and even has Pooh bear-shaped toast and tea from a Pooh teapot to give you some well-deserved sustenance after a long walk.
Find out more here.