Places to Go

Ashdown Forest

Covering a vast area of over 6500 acres, the Ashdown Forest started off as a deer hunting forest in Norman times. These days it offers one of the largest open spaces in the South East and it’s well worth a visit during your next holiday in Sussex.

A visit to Sussex would not be complete without a trip to the Ashdown forest, a beautiful, extensive area of forest and heath land. I was lucky enough to spend some time here recently and was not disappointed. The forest sits in the centre of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty and as soon as you drive across the boundary the scenery is breath taking; it’s no wonder artists and writers flock here. Undulating hills are intersected by rolling valleys, covered in heath land and ferns. It must be a wondrous place to visit at any time of year but my trip in early spring captured the green hues of new leaves, pretty as a picture.

A good place to start if you’re new to the area is the Ashdown Forest Centre on Forest Row (sat nav RH18 5JP). Here you’ll find lots of interesting information about where to go and what to see. The Park Rangers are based here and there’s often exhibitions from local artists and photographers on display.

Winding roads through Ashdown Forest

The roads wind through the valleys, interspersed with tiny villages. There are regular turn offs to car parks with footpaths crisscrossing in between and an abundance of wildlife to discover including deer, foxes, stoats, rabbits and squirrels (to name a few). 

Everyone has heard of the Hundred Acre Wood and the tales of Winnie the Pooh so I couldn’t leave without a quick look at Pooh Bridge. Aiming for Chuck Hatch, the car park is 100 yards away on the right, I parked up and followed the signs to PB. It’s a lovely tranquil walk with a gentle incline winding its way through the forest. After about 15 minutes the path opens up and low and behold, Pooh Bridge appears.

Looking for our Pooh sticks in the stream.

I found it hilarious that out of the half a dozen people gathered at the bridge all were adults, and all were searching for implements to play Pooh sticks. Notices in the area do ask you to look for sticks on the ground and not break them off branches, there was a great collection of decent sticks waiting on the floor, clearly it’s a very common activity. I felt duty bound to find a stick and dutifully dropped it off the side of the bridge into the water; it took ages to come out the other side but that was due to poor water flow, not my weak shot, honest! After ten minutes of soaking up the peaceful atmosphere I headed back to the car.

Grown ups playing Pooh sticks

In summary, the Ashdown Forest is a great place for a day out whether you are a seasoned rambler, biker or merely want to have a gentle stroll in peace and quiet.

Stay in one of our Sussex holiday cottages to explore the Ashdown Forest.

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