In the 1920s a young boy called Christopher Robin came to spend his holidays at his parents’ country retreat, Cotchford Farm, on the outskirts of Hartfield. He brought with him his teddy bear, called Edward. Together they spent many happy days exploring the gardens and surrounding countryside.
His father, Alan Alexander Milne, started writing stories about his son’s adventures with Edward bear and his other stuffed toys. And a legend was born.
The tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Owl, Tigger, et al are all based around Cotchford Farm and Ashdown Forest. However, it would be easy to miss such a famous inhabitant, since the village and forest are much as they were in Christopher Robin’s time. In fact the Anchor Inn is still the popular public house it was in the days when AA Milne may have visited it.
Perhaps the best known of the Winnie-the-Pooh locations is Poohsticks bridge, or Posingford Bridge as it’s more correctly titled. We advise picking up some sticks as you walk to the bridge because you’ll be hard pushed to find any to play Poohsticks with when you get there!
As you go watch out for the Woozles – they’re not often seen but their tracks can sometimes be found.
Exploring deeper into Ashdown Forest you’ll discover more and more of the Hundred Acre Wood, all beautifully preserved so you can adventure just like Christopher Robin did.
The Ashdown Forest Centre website has maps you can download, or pick up from the centre itself, describing walks to take in all the main Winnie-the-Pooh sites. There are short walks suitable for young children (watch out for the Heffalump Trap!) and longer walks extending as far as Eeyore’s Sad and Gloomy Place.
Back in Hartfield you can then visit Pooh Corner, a discrete little shop and tearoom allowing you to take home a souvenir of your time in Pooh country. It’s an easy walk from the shop back to the Anchor Inn.