Last Friday was my 29th birthday. I know, I look ten years younger, but it’s true. I think I’ll probably be getting ID’d for the rest of my life, but I’m not complaining! A few months ago, Kariss told me she’d found somewhere she wanted to take me for my birthday along with Haydy. She didn’t tell me where we were going, all I knew was I needed to be at hers early on Saturday morning and I needed to bring my Winnie The Pooh with me. We found a Saturday we were all free which was 15th September and I headed to London the night before with Pooh safely packed into my suitcase.
Kariss actually told me where we were going the night before because I was desperate to know. We were off to Ashdown Forest in East Sussex which was A. A. Milne’s inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood and has the Poohsticks Bridge. We were first going to be stopping off at Pooh Corner in Hartfield. Pooh Corner has the largest collection of Winnie The Pooh memorabilia for sale and there’s also a lovely tea rooms.
Hartfield is a tiny little picturesque village just seven miles away from Royal Tunbridge Wells. There’s no designated parking for Pooh Corner, so we just found a space along the high street. Luckily, when we arrived it wasn’t too busy but I can imagine that the road would get pretty packed during the summer.
I’m a massive Winnie The Pooh fan, I think I have my nan to thank for that. She bought me the Winnie The Pooh in the photos for my first Easter back in 1990. I’ve loved him ever since. Visiting Pooh Corner was amazing, I didn’t know it existed until Kariss told me.
Everything inside was decorated with Pooh and his friends and the food was all themed. I went for toast with honey, just because I knew that the toast would be Winnie The Pooh shaped. I also went for Piglet’s Cream tea with lemon curd instead of jam, which was delicious. My cappuccino came out in a mug that said ‘Cappoohccino’ on the outside which was a great touch! Kariss and Haydy both went for sandwiches and the cream tea. Haydy had nutella with her scone which looked amazing.
After we’d had our lunch, we had a little look around the Winnie The Pooh shop. I chose a couple of postcards and a Pooh Corner pin to go with my extensive collection. We paid for our food at the same time as our souvenirs and my total was only £6.85! The food was great value for money and I wish I lived closer so I could go more often.
After our trip to Pooh Corner, we got back in the car and headed towards Ashdown Forest in search of the Poohstick Bridge. To get to the bridge, you need to park in the Pooh carpark which is just off the B2026 south of Hartfield. You’ll then need to walk for around ten minutes through the countryside. The first bridge you come across is not the Poohsticks bridge, although it does look like it. Go over this bridge and keep going, the actual Poohsticks bridge is just around the corner.
“And that was the beginning of the game called Poohsticks, which Pooh invented, and which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the Forest. But they played with sticks instead of fir-cones, because they were easier to mark.”
I think that everyone knows the rules of Poohsticks, but if you don’t, here they are:
A game for two players or more, in the traditional version of poohsticks the participants must drop a stick simultaneously on the upstream side of a bridge and run to the other side. The winner is the player whose stick first appears on the other side of the bridge.
Finding Ashdown Forest was easy. It was well signposted from Pooh Corner. When we got to Pooh’s car park, it was full so we couldn’t park there. We ended up parking about a mile up the road in Piglet’s Car Park. This meant that we ended up walking along the busy country road which had no footpaths, so we had to be really careful. Of course, once we reached Pooh’s Car Park again, it was basically empty! I think it’s probably best to arrive earlier in the morning or later on in the evening if you are hoping to park in Pooh’s Car Park. It seems like a lot of people had the same idea as us – have a bite to eat at Pooh Corner and then go on to play Poohsticks.
There are a lot of things to see on the way to the bridge and it’s a great little walk. On our way, we collected up as many good looking sticks as we could find. We were so excited to play the famous game! Once we found the Poohsticks bridge, we got our obligatory photos and then went to drop our sticks in the water. As expected, there were a lot of people around so we had to wait our turn for photos. Despite this, we managed to get some good ones.
There are a lot of different Pooh related things to see around Ashdown Forest. We didn’t have time to do the full walk which would have taken around three hours. I would love to go back and do it one day to see everything. There are famous landmarks such as ‘Roo’s Sandy Pit’ and ‘The Heffalump Trap’. One thing we did find was some sticks that had been put together to look like Eeyore’s house. Obviously, we all got a photo in there! We were all pretty tired by the time we’d finished, but it was a fantastic day.
I definitely recommend a trip to Pooh Corner and Ashdown Forest to anyone who is a Winnie The Pooh fan. It’s a great place for people of all ages!