March – Two weeks in the Ashdown Forest
This blog post was originally published on the 23rd June 2018.
Our fourth housesit took us to a picturesque house with views out onto the Ashdown Forest from the living room! We spent just under two weeks here looking after two gorgeous Burmese kitties, Micha and Brownie. Though independent as all cats are, Micha and Brownie loved company! When they weren’t upstairs in bed cuddling together, or bringing in baby rabbits to devour (!!) they enjoyed many hours curled up in our laps, purring softly, and it was through this time together that we discovered three-legged Brownie would love a scratch behind the ear on the side of her missing leg!
We were fortunate enough to not get any snow or ice while at the Ashdown Forest – the first housesit since our travels that we could say that about – though unfortunately we did get quite a lot of rain! While we did manage to get out and about on brighter days, the rainy days made for some real Hyggelig down time. Nestled in warm, cosy blankets on comfy felt sofas, overlooking the Forest through the misty rain, we spent some quality time together reading books, petting the velvet-soft cats or dragging string along for them to chase! When the kitties did decide to get up to stretch their legs, the pitter-pattering of their claws on the wooden floors of the house only added to the relaxing nature of the house, and we certainly didn’t mind the weather forcing us to spend more time inside!
As the Ashdown Forest provided the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s stories of Winnie the Pooh, there are many sweet places scattered throughout the Forest that give a nod to the books. Places such as Friends Clump, which was apparently a place of great inspiration for Milne and he ended up writing the clump of trees into his stories. We spent some time here playing hide and seek amongst the trees, or walking from one end of fallen trees to the other while trying not to slip, before sitting down on a nearby bench to admire the view of the Forest. Many places like this, which have been preserved to continue to magic of Winnie the Pooh, made for some of the best days together while exploring the Forest as we never knew what surprise we’d stumble upon next.
The 100 Acre Wood
After Friends Clump we were keen to visit more of the sites that inspired the tales of Winnie the Pooh, so of course we visited the 100 Acre Wood! At the beginning of the Pooh-themed trail we found the memorial to A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard, overlooking a beautiful view of the woods. The little touches to the walk that followed were what made it so special. In sweet dedication to the imagination of A.A. Milne, in the Wood you’ll find a door for Piglet’s house, one for Owl’s house, and one for Pooh’s house right by Pooh Stick bridge!
We spent some time playing Pooh Sticks on the bridge, before continuing the trail to Pooh’s Corner – a cute cafe decorated in a plethora of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia! We enjoyed a sandwich and a hot chocolate each and were pleasantly surprised when, on the hour, at least five cuckoo clocks on the walls around us began playing different Winnie the Pooh tunes! The experience made for a perfect ending to our Winnie the Pooh day out in the Forest.
Our time in the Ashdown Forest made for a very relaxing housesit! We loved spending time at home snuggled in blankets, cuddling Micha and Brownie, and when we went out for walks it was amazing to explore the natural beauty of the Ashdown Forest. A leisurely twenty minute walk took us from our doorstep, through trees and fields of wildflowers, to the Airman’s Grave – a memorial dedicated to six men who lost their lives when their plane crashed on the site. The Forest is full of points of interest like this. Uckfield was only a ten minute drive away if we did want to buy food or go shopping, but mostly we were happy to be tucked away in the comfort of our gorgeous country home. The only slight downside to this sit was how strange it was to not have dogs with us, and we realised how much we enjoy walking and exploring new places with dogs at our side! Though it did mean that we didn’t have to worry about whether we could take our pets with us, and we didn’t have to rush back to tend to Micha and Brownie as they mostly took care of themselves – apart from cuddles and ear scratches! All in all it was great to have some cosy downtime, though by the end of the sit we were ready to get stuck into another dog sit!