There are few better forests to enjoy a walk in than Ashdown Forest in Sussex. After all, it was in this very location that Alan Alexander Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, found inspiration for the beloved adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Many of the locations of Pooh’s adventures are lifted directly from real-life locations in the forest, such as Five Hundred Acre Wood (five times bigger than its fictional counterpart?). Other familiar locations include Gills Lap (Galleon’s Lap in the books) where you will find the Enchanted Place and Wren’s Warren valley, which houses the less jovial Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place.
To repay the favour Pooh’s adventures have had on the area, the Poohsticks Bridge was renamed and renovated to look more like its fictional counterpart. Make sure you bring your own twigs!
For Winnie the Pooh Day we thought we’d share Ashdown Forest walking instructions, starting from Gill’s Lap…
Set atop the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ashdown offers nearly 10 square miles of common land; in fact it’s supposed to be the largest public-access area in southeast England.
Gills Lap itself offers two walks: an adventurous 3 mile trek past Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place and a half mile walk past the Enchanted Place, Heffalump Trap, Roo’s Sandy Pit and more.
From the Gills Lap car park a short 200 metre walk (which can seem a little longer with easily distracted youngsters and plenty of puddles!) leads you to the Enchanted Place on the right.
From there a left turn takes you a few metres down to the Heffalump Trap: a lovely little hollow where a lone pine grows.
Walk back up the path and turn left, after about 10 metres and you arrive at the tribute to Milne and EH Shepard, the illustrator of Pooh’s adventures. The views here are stunning, so it’s no surprise to find the author was so keen on dreaming up Pooh’s idyllic escapades there.
Turn right from the memorial and you soon arrive at the site of Roo’s Sandy Pit (the bank can little slippy, so be careful if you try to walk down it).
Follow the path round from the ‘Sandy Pit’ and you arrive back at the car park. It’s a short and sweet stroll through some of Sussex’s finest scenery. If you fancy rounding up your adventure with a little refreshment you might also want to pay a visit to the nearby village of Hartfield. There you’ll find Pooh Corner, a lovely little tearoom that contains plenty of refreshment and lots of Winnie the Pooh souvenirs.