Ashdown Forest is a magnificent area of mixed woodland and heathland in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It largely features oak, birch and pine trees, with parts of the wood immortalised forever now through A.A. Milne's imaginative tales of Winnie the Pooh.
A.A. Milne wrote "Winnie the Pooh" for his son Christopher Robin, since then these gentle, colourful stories have thrilled and enchanted children everywhere. In the forest visitors can explore the famous settings that became the "back-drop" for the exploits of Pooh and his friends. You can linger on Poolsticks Bridge where the friends invented the game of Poolsticks, discover Roo's Sandpit and see Galleons Lap, a rondel of fir trees on the site of an Iron-age fort located at the top of the forest. The forest still has the hauntingly beautiful atmosphere of the " the dark and mysterious forest" that inspired A.A. Milne way back in 1926. Milne was a prominent author and playwright of his time (b.18.1.1882-d.31.1.1956) but it is perhaps for the Pooh stories that he is best remembered.
The forest is also the home of Ashdown Forest Llama Park. This was opened in 1987 and has grown so much that in now contains in excess of 100 Llama's, together with a smaller number of goats and alpacas. There is a cheerful Visitors Centre where you can learn all about the Llama's, and the park offers the opportunity of "Walking with Llama's" a one and a half hour walk through the forest with a Llama and a group of other people all leading their Llama's. This is a lovely experience, allowing you to get close to these gentle creatures in their natural habitat. The Llama's are bred for sale, and the park's gift shop is stocked to the rafters with merchandise related to Llama's and Peruvian style clothing.
Ashdown Forest covers 14,000 acres. The vast tracts of heathland and forest allow visitors to wander at will enjoying fine countryside views and chance glimpses of forest wildlife, including deer. There are plenty of shaded and open picnic spots for the enjoyment of an "al-fresco" meal.
The forest was once a Royal Hunting Forest, as such it has always been grazed and animals still roam freely amongst the bracken and heathers of the landscape.
Ashdown Forest is located around 10 miles from the Spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, the area has plenty of tourist attraction including historic properties, gardens, golf and vineyards. The village of Crowborough adjacent to the forest was once the home of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.
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