Do you ever get those days where all you want to do is run away and live like Mowgli. I had one of those days recently. As much as I love London to pieces and can’t ever really see myself leaving, sometimes it’s nice to grab a train out to the countryside and breath that fresh air (particularly when you have asthma like me!).
It lead me to Ashdown Forest. Situated in the Sussex countryside, lies this beautiful leafy 11 square miles of greenery. I live in Clapham, which to me is the perfect balance of city life, while being near wide open commons but you don’t feel suffocated by the buildings. And what’s convenient, is that Clapham Junction is THE busiest train station in England (which definitely helps when you’re after a quick getaway!). So it’s only a hop, skip and jump away from retreating to somewhere calmer.
I don’t know if it was the fact we went midweek, but we managed to see the deer just casually strolling around with about 5 bambi newborns tagging behind. It was adorable. But our main mission of the day was to find the Pooh sticks bridge. I don’t know if any of you know, but Ashdown Forest is where A. A. Milne based Winnie the Pooh’s 100 acre wood. Swoon. If this forest has stood the test of time so far, it’s bound to be magical.
I don’t mean to look so on edge. But when you hear branches crack, and nothings there, you can’t help but let your imagination get the better of you! I think we ended up walking a good 10 miles. It’s hard not to want to explore everything it has to offer and we didn’t even touch the sides.
Having finally got to the bridge after a 2 hour walk (we went off the beaten track far too many times!), we wanted to grab lunch somewhere near by. What’s lovely is that between all this vast woodland, there are small villages dotted about so you’re never more than an half an hour (give or take) walk away from a cup of tea.
We ended up at Hartfield – a quaint little village between Tunbridge and East Grinstead. They have a delightful little tea house called Pooh corner, based on (you guessed it)…Winnie the Pooh. It also features a gift shop, which sells everything and anything Pooh related- even the bread!
We stopped for a pot of tea each and something small to snack on. I would absolutely suggest stopping there if you’re ever in the area, especially if you have little ones. It’s all so charming. And in the summer, or warm spring days, they have an outside terrace.
There are so many walks and trails around, you could come here hundred time and never end up doing the same walk. Next time you’re down this way, see who can beat who on the Pooh sticks bridge.