Misty sunrise in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
© Tim Stocker Photography/Getty Image
A forest with stories to tell. A forest with stories to tell
If this misty wilderness looks a little familiar, it might be because it was the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood - the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. On this day 93 years ago, the first Pooh book was published and the beloved “bear of very little brain” went on to become a favourite with children across the world. It was here in Ashdown Forest, in East Sussex, that author A A Milne was inspired by his son Christopher Robin’s own adventures with his soft toys. The forest, which sits on the highest ridge of the beautiful High Weald landscape, includes a real-life Five Hundred Acre Wood as well as other spots that fans will recognise from the books.
In real life there is more heathland than woodland in Ashdown Forest, whose name is thought to derive from its past as an ancient royal hunting ground. Heathland, characterised by heather, gorse and scattered trees, is a rare and important habitat for wildlife including the silver-studded butterfly, adders and birds like the nightjar and the Dartford warbler. So whether you want to try your hand at Pooh sticks and heffalump hunting or simply enjoy unspoilt views of wide open skies, rolling hills and ancient forest – there are plenty of adventures yet to be had in this corner of south-east England.