Play Pooh Sticks with Isla. #101in1001 #8
I always count my blessing that we live only twenty minutes away from my happy place, the glorious Ashdown Forest in Sussex. Ashdown was one of the reasons we moved to East Grinstead many moons ago and since then I have always enjoyed our rambles through its wooded copses and over its rolling hills with my family.
Ashdown is a beautiful forest in any season and offers stunning views whatever the weather. It is also known as the hundred-acre wood and the setting for the Winnie the Pooh stories. Author A.A. Milne lived on the forest and people come here to visit where Christopher Robin and his friends lived and played.
One of the most popular landmarks of the Forest is the bridge where Christopher Robin and Pooh invented the game Poohsticks. In the book ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ illustrator E.H. Shepherd captures the bridge perfectly.
When we first moved here, the path to the bridge was very muddy and ventured very close to people’s properties but recently the path has been rerouted and the car park extended making it much more accessible for tourists.
From the carpark, it is now only a ten minute (adult paced) walk to the bridge. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own sticks with them and not damage the local trees. However, there are plenty of twigs underfoot so by the time you arrive you can have an idyllic game of Poohsticks.
We took our own children to the bridge regularly when they were young but the walk is a little short now their legs are longer, so what a thrill it was to take my favourite toddler Isla to the forest and teach her Poohsticks.
It was a trip I had been planning a while because I had put it on my list of 101 challenges to do in 1001 days (and so had ‘Life as Mrs D’) so it was a little disappointing that the weather was not on our side, however this didn’t deter us and we had a lovely walk to the bridge despite the drizzle.
Naturally, it didn’t take Isla long to learn the ropes and soon we were all merrily throwing sticks off the bridge and watching them float underneath. The water was luckily fairly fast flowing as the stream had been cleared of sticks recently probably due to the two ‘Winnie the Pooh’ films that have been filmed on location in the last couple of years bringing a new wave of tourists.
We had a delightful half an hour and I was so glad that Isla enjoyed it, just look at that smile! We shall certainly be bringing her back to the hundred-acre wood.