Ashdown Forest - things to do and places to stay
PUBLISHED: 11:50 24 February 2015
Whether you want to stay in the lap of luxury or really embrace nature, Ashdown Forest has everything that you need, and there’s plenty to do by day too, as Alice Cooke found out
A bear of very little brain
The Hundred Acre Wood in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh was famously inspired by the Ashdown Forest. Throw pooh sticks off the bridge, visit Pooh’s house or go on the hunt for heffalumps and woozles in the forest.
Between Gills Lap at the top of the High Weald and the little village of Hartfield on the northern edge of the forest lies Cotchford Farm, where A.A. Milne lived from 1925 and brought up his son Christopher, for whom the character of Christopher Robin was named. The two used to walk up from the house to Gills Lap on constitutional walks.
For mapped Winnie the Pooh walks go to www.ashdownforest.org or pick up a map from the Forest Centre.
This little haven of peace and quiet is set on the 150 acres of land belonging to Wapsbourne Farm. Go glamping, stay in a gypsy caravan or light a wood burner and bed down in a yurt – the choice is yours as there are plenty of very sweet places to lay your head.
Play music locally? You can sing for your supper on a Saturday night and get a free overnight stay for you and your family in exchange for a sing-song around the campfire. For the young or the young at heart the place is like one big natural adventure playground, with trees to climb, tyres to swing on, ditches to roll around in and endless camp-making opportunities in the undergrowth.
01825 723414; www.wowo.co.uk
Ashdown Park Hotel
Connecting with nature is all well and good, but if you’re in the market for something a little more indulgent then this listed 19th century mansion has 186 acres at its disposal, which includes an 18-hole par three golf course, an indoor pool, a gym, a spa, gourmet dining and plenty of sports and activities for you to enjoy. The Anderida Restaurant specialises in a modern take on classic cuisine.
01342 824988; www.ashdownpark.com
They offer unusual products, homeware and furniture in a beautiful Grade II*-listed showroom. Their Elephant Café also doubles up as a music venue, with past live acts including Steve Hackett, Carl Palmer and Rick Wakeman. It was voted as one of the top ten live music venues in the country by Prog Rock magazine.
01825 790200; www.tradingboundaries.com
A year in the life of the forest
The Friends of Ashdown Forest have made a 20 minute film that gives you the chance to see what is involved in managing and maintaining the woodland. Watch it on their Youtube channel by searching for Friends of Ashdown Forest.
Be mindful of deer when driving near Ashdown Forest. Last year there were 220 deer collisions in the area. “They aren’t going to look out for cars, so for your own safety as well as that of the deer, be aware and drive slowly.” - Paul Crosskey, Sussex Deer Management
• Sussex walk - Ashdown Forest - This short walk in Ashdown Forest encompasses an old World War II airstrip.
• Take a Sussex stroll around Ashdown Forest - Poohsticks Bridge, 4.5 m (7.2k) - This circular walk at Ashdown Forest includes heathland, bluebell woods, fields and two Poohsticks bridges.
• How Chichester has changed over the years - with pictures - The discovery of an 80-year-old book inspired Paul Baxter to track Chichester’s changing landscape.