Recently I took Moose on a little adventure to the beautiful Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, home to the infamous Winnie-the-Pooh. Growing up all things Disney how did I not know this place existed sooner?
A.A. Milne, the author of the Pooh books lived in the area and based the places in the stories with real life locations in and around Ashdown Forest. And, it is somewhere deep in this forest, known as Hundred Acre Wood that you’ll find the real life Pooh Sticks bridge, where A.A. Milne first played the game with his son.
Finding Pooh Sticks Bridge
Before I go further, I was surprised by how many people are not familiar with the game Pooh Sticks. So, to give you some context, the game is simple… Each player finds a stick and throws it over the upstream side of a bridge into the water below, the winner is the person whose stick comes out first from under the bridge.
To find Pooh Sticks Bridge you’ll need to park at Pooh Car Park and from here it is just a short walk (approx 1km) into the woods. We went early and there was plenty of car parking spaces available. Good news, car parking is free.
Once parked, follow the path beyond the log and the walk should take around 15 minutes. I made the mistake of following google maps and was directed in the opposite direction walking out of the car park and along the main road. Sensing we were going wrong we turned back and found the correct way.
Once on the right track, the walk is straightforward. Look out for Winnie-the-Poohs friends along the way. You’ll first see on your right some Eeyore homes made from sticks. A top tip from me would be to collect sticks on the way down to the bridge, as from our experience there are hardly any once you get there.
Around half way keep your eyes open for Owl’s House up high in one of the trees. After this you’ll come to a bridge, however don’t be confused as this isn’t Pooh Sticks, carry on walking just a little bit further.
Once we got to the bridge, we were the only ones there and were able to enjoy a few rounds of Pooh Sticks. It brought me back to my childhood. Growing up and hearing the stories of Winnie-the-Pooh to now enjoying the same game Christopher Robin played with his silly ol’ bear on the bridge that inspired the books was really quite magic.
After losing at Pooh Sticks we headed back to the car and drove just five minutes into the quaint village of Hartfield. Here you’ll find Pooh Corner. Again, parking is free.
We had worked up an appetite so headed for an early lunch at the Pooh Corner tea room. It was a quiet day during the week so we hadn’t booked a table but if you plan to visit during the holidays or over a weekend it is worth booking through their website to be sure not to miss out. Moose was an instant hit with the girls that worked there and he was enjoying the attention they gave him!
After our bellies were full we moved from the tea room to the gift shop and Pooh-Seum. The Pooh-Seum is free and showcases over 100 years of the Milne family and Pooh memorabilia from around the world.
I still can’t believe it has taken me 27 years to discover this place existed. Exploring the real Hundred Acre Wood and visiting Pooh Corner brought back all the childhood memories of Winnie-the-Pooh and is so worth a visit if you’re ever in or around East Sussex.