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Ashdown Forest, part 1 - Pooh Bridge

After two lovely days, it was time to head down to Ashdown Forest. We pulled out of the coach park and turned right, following the road around the pub, then on through the lanes to a B-road heading South. At a village called Chuck Hatch, I turned right, then right into a car park. The car park was empty. However, it was also filthy. I didn’t take photographs as the images would have been disgusting. ‘Wet-wipes’ and johnnies littered the car park. Dogging evidence was everywhere. I have never seen a car park more foul than this one! I did my best to try to remove the worst of it.

The night was peaceful, with just the calling of a couple of owls.

In the morning, a little surprised with how quiet it was, I decided to wander down to Pooh Bridge, of Winnie the Pooh fame. Rowan started to follow me. As it was quiet, I encouraged her. A little way down the path, I happened to look around, as I do whenever Rowan is walking behind me, just as a dog was running from a connecting footpath, making a bee-line for Rowan. I quickly went to grab Rowan up just as she became aware of the dog and bolted. She shot up a nearby tree. I noticed that the trees lower branches are several feet up. I knew that if she went all the way, it would be impossible to get her down. So, before she could go too far, I grabbed her into my arms. Rowan was hissing and growling fiercely. Once the dog had moved on, I let Rowan down. It was then that I realised that through her fear, she had pissed down my jumper and jeans. The next thing I know, Rowan bolted again. There were children and more dogs coming down the path. This time, though, she went through a small hole in the fence that bordered the path from privately owned woodland. She wasn’t coming out!

I had little choice but to leave her where she was safe. I went home to wash and change my clothes. On the way, I met dozens of people. It was as if there must’ve been a starting gun. A few minutes later, the car park was so full that some cars were going around in circles hoping for a spot to become vacant! It stayed like that all day. No sooner did one family leave the car park, than the empty space was filled with a new arrival. Even if I had wanted to, there was no way I could get out.

Once cleaned up, I headed back down. Rowan was alright, just chilling, unseen by both dogs and children. I continued on to a stream.

Over which stands Pooh Bridge. And no, I did not play Pooh sticks.

Wet woodland dominates area.

On the way back, I spotted something on a tree. Closer inspection revealed Owl’s house.

I then spotted that another tree close by also had something on it. That turned out to be Piglet’s house.

I realised then that close by, somewhere is likely to be Pooh’s house. I had no idea where that would be found. As I had signal, I researched. I quickly established that I had to return across the bridge. I almost walked past it.

I noticed a little latch on the little door. Curiously, I opened it

On the way back, I checked on Rowan. She was fine. Once home, I grabbed some treats and took them down to her. I popped down several times during the day. By late afternoon, the crowds had thinned out. Even so, Rowan was refusing to come home. A while later, it was quiet enough. I went back for Rowan. Finally, she was persuaded to come out from within the fence. I sighed a breath of relief. Just then, another poxy dog appeared! Rowan bolted back through the fence! Exasperated, I returned home. I was beginning to despise the sight of dogs. We were being plagued with them that day.

After a lovely sunset though the trees, I headed back down, praying that Rowan would finally be persuaded to come home.

Rowan did come out, but was frightened of the path. She had no understanding of how safe it was. She therefore dived back behind the fence. She then made her way through the undergrowth. I lost site of her, but we kept calling to each other. Eventually, she appeared in the small section of woodland that was not fenced off. From there, we made our way together through the woods home.

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