In Which We Walk through Ashdown Forest and Visit Winnie-the-Pooh

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 4As this is the first post from our trip, I am going to open this post with a general statement. For my 30th birthday, I planned a big trip around the United Kingdom (and Ireland). It was about two and a half weeks long and was packed full of great things. I will be going through the images we took and making a few blog posts about the things we saw and places we visited. That being said, it is most likely that I will never post all of the images from our trip, nor will the posts themselves be in any logical order.

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I have loved Winnie-the-Pooh ever since I was little. I personally prefer the classic A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard version over the Disney version, but both are great. When I visited London back in 2008, I went to the London zoo and saw the original cage for Winnie the bear and the statue there for Winnie and the Canadian soldier who originally owned him gave him to the zoo after the war (check out this mostly accurate Canadian Heritage Minute video). When I was planning this trip I went looking to see if there was a museum or something we could visit to see more about Winnie-the-Pooh. To say I was excited when I learned that we could visit the forest that the 100 Aker Wood is based on, was an understatement and a visit to Ashdown Forest was automatically added to our itinerary.

Ashdown Forest is about an hour south of London (or rather, an hour south of Heathrow airport) and is actually really big. The section for Winnie-the-Pooh is only a tiny bit of the forest. I had given myself a few projects for the trip and one of them was to take shots of the forest with my book.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 1

We first went to the Ashdown Forest Centre as I had a postcode for it that we could put into the Sat Nav (GPS). From there we went to the Gills Lap car park and started our walk. There is a little pamphlet that you can get either online or at the centre that outlines the route to take and a few highlights along the way. As part of my aforementioned project, below you will find the walk highlights, shot with myself and my Winnie-the-Pooh storybook.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 2

The first stop was to the Lone Pine where Pooh (and Piglet) built a Heffalump Trap (from the story, In Which Pooh & Piglet go Hunting and Nearly Catches a Woozle). On the way to this place, we passed what is thought to have been the inspiration for the 6 tall pine trees in the story, but there was a birthday party or something going on there, so we couldn’t take any shots.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 3

The next stop was to the A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard memorial. The plaque reads:

‘ “and by and by they came to an enchanted place on the very top of the Forest called Galleons Lap”
HERE AT GILLS LAP ARE COMMEMORATED
A.A. MILNE 1882-1956
AND
E.H. SHEPARD 1879-1976
WHO COLLABORATED IN THE CREATION OF “WINNIE-THE-POOH” AND SO CAPTURED THE MAGIC OF ASHDOWN FOREST AND GAVE IT TO THE WORLD’

The memorial plaque overlooks Ashdown Forest and the general area that inspired the 100 Aker Wood.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 4

The next stop on our walk was Roo’s Sandy Pit (from the story, In which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest and Piglet has a Bath). This one took a little looking around to find, but if you take the lower path from near the memorial, you come to a place that is sandier then its surroundings. The pamphlet mentioned that this place would have been sandier at the time the books were written.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 5

The next stop was a bit of a walk from the Pit Where Roo Plays, and is located across the road, but we get to the 100 Aker Wood. The bit of Forest here is actually called the 5000 Acre Wood and it can be seen in the distance of these images. The story In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One is from. I used the end of the story for my page spot as it is where Christopher Robin nails Eeyore’s new tail on.

Winnie the Pooh Ashdown Forest Stephanie Beach Photography 6

The last place we went to is a hike from the previous one. But I suppose it makes sense, as we headed to the North Pole (from the story, In Which Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole). I say it was a hike because it was a fair bit down a long hill. So the way there wasn’t so bad, but the way back was completely uphill and after a few long hiking days previous to this one, it was more than I was prepared for (we hadn’t brought any water with us, stupidly). Anyway, as a note, there is no actual sign here, but someone set up a stick like they did in the book. If I had any paper I would have written a sign for it that read:

“NorTH PoLE
DISCovERED By POOH
POOH FOUND IT”

I really enjoyed this part of our trip, and though I felt a little childish a couple times during our walk, I am really glad we did it. Winnie-the-Pooh is a happy childhood memory of mine, and it will be neat to read the stories to my future children and tell them that I was there. It will also be really neat to read the stories to them from the book that made the trip.

A special thanks to Dave for taking the shots I am in and helping me with the others, and of course for indulging me with this stop during our trip and understanding why it was important to me.

One thought on “In Which We Walk through Ashdown Forest and Visit Winnie-the-Pooh

  1. Pingback: One Year Older | Stephanie Beach Photography

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