For our May Walk of the Month we’re going to be taking a trip down to the South East and revisiting some childhood memories with a wander through Ashdown Forest – the home of Winnie the Pooh and friends!
Once a royal hunting ground established not long after the Norman conquest, Ashdown is now one of the gems of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Made up more of open heathland than actual forest, Ashdown has become one of the country’s more ecologically valued areas, having status as both a Special Protection Area for Birds and also a Special Conservation Area for Heathland Habitats. It is this abundance of wildlife coupled with the stunning scenery, that make a hike through Ashdown well worth it!
The walk is quite a long one clocking in at around ten miles so you’ll want to set aside a bit of time for it. Added to this is the fact that much of the route is woodland path so it might be unsuitable for prams if you’re planning on taking the little ones with you. Along the way you’ll be able to see plenty of names that you’ll recognise from the tales and take in many beautiful sights – remember to keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that calls Ashdown Forest home!
Starting off at the village of Groombridge you’ll want to head west towards the B2188 and join the Sussex Border Path, follow this path for a couple of miles past the village of Balls Green.
After another mile or so, you’ll reach the village of Hartfield – where A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin lived – you’ll want to head just past the village and take the bridleway heading south.
A mile down this bridleway will take you to Pooh Sticks Bridge where Winnie first invented the sport in The House at Pooh Corner.
Just half a mile on from Pooh Sticks Bridge, you’ll find yourself at Five Hundred Acre Forest – or Hundred Acre as A.A. Milne renamed it in the books. Follow the northern edge of the forest and you’ll soon find yourself at Fisher’s Gate; from here you’ll want to follow the path for another half mile or so until you get to Friar’s Gate.
At Friar’s Gate, you should rejoin the road and head down towards the village of Littlebrook where you’ll be able to head along the High Weald Landscape Trail, which you’ll follow and find yourself in the village of Eridge. It’s then just a couple of miles up the Eridge road and you’ll find yourself back at the start point of Groombridge.
Rent a Sussex Cottage with Sykes
But you should remember that wandering around Ashdown Forest isn’t the only thing to do in Sussex, you could take a trip to the seaside or spend an afternoon exploring Brighton! To get all of that in, you’ll want to have somewhere to stay, which is where we come into it! Here at Sykes we’ve got a wide range of Sussex cottages available which can give you that real home-away-from-home feeling, so take a look and see what you think!