With this summer’s Christopher Robin, released by Disney, and last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin, produced by Fox Pictures, it looks like the Winnie-the-Pooh nostalgia is kicking in. If you feel like that nostalgia is taking hold of you as well, then you might want to visit the real-life version of the Hundred Acre Wood, and autumn might be the best season to do so.
When Alan Milne was writing his children’s novel Winnie-the-Pooh, he was doing so inspired by the games his son Christopher Robin would play outside their house in East Sussex, next to Ashdown Forest.
Inside Ashdown Forest, there’s the Five Hundred Acre Wood, which Milne turned into the Hundred Acre Wood where Pooh, Rabbit, Tigger and the rest of Christopher Robin’s childhood friends live their adventures. Milne also took inspiration from Gills Lap to create Galleons Lap, the Enchanted Place, named like this because no one could count if there were sixty-three or sixty-four threes. While the forest and the wood inside it are not as well signposted as they could be, they’re open to visitors — you’d best bring your copy of Winnie-the-Pooh with you and let the illustrations you find in it lead the way!
There are several spots featured in the books, but the one which has become more and more famous and is now a big favourite is a wooden bridge over River Medway, where you can play Pooh’s very own game, Poohsticks. Ashdown Forest sits a walk away from the village of Nutley, but if you decide to visit the forest by car you can leave it in one of the car parks named after characters of the book, from Piglet to Pooh.
With autumn coming up, it might be the best time to go for a long walk in Ashdown Forest and play Poohsticks down the river, trying to catch a Heffalump. Just make sure you don’t look up when you pass under a tree, or a Jagular might jump you out of the blue!