Ellie Harrison heads to Sussex to the real Poosticks Bridge in Ashdown Forest in Countryfile to mark the 90th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh, who first came to fame in AA Milne’s 1926 story.
Here, Ellie tells TV Times about her day out in the forest for the show discovering the real places beautifully captured in the books by illustrator EH Shepard and admits she’s never actually read the stories…
So, Ellie you never read Winnie the Pooh as a child?
“I felt like I was discovering the stories properly during my visit to Ashdown Forest. I haven’t read them to my children yet, but maybe I’ll go and buy them for them now. The characters in the stories are very sweet and they’re not all heroes. Also the setting is relatable to everyone, woods are never that far away.”
What were your tactics playing Poohsticks?
“As a kid I just used to chuck it and hope for the best. We’ve all played it, it’s a universal game, so it’s nice in the show to do it on the real bridge that’s made for it. It’s great that it’s the location for the ‘goodbye’ at the end of the episode. I’ll have a friendly competition with Matt Baker, although Matt is massively competitive and I’m not. He’s also one of those people who’s good at everything.”
In this week’s episode you visit several other places captured in the books – how did you find them?
“One of the forest rangers has used maps and the stories and a bit of artistic licence to try to idenitfy all the locations. We’re looking for the Heffalump’s Trap where Pooh dreamed up a Heffalump stealing his ‘hunny’ before he realised that he had eaten it himself all along. We’ve also got an old quarry that was Roo’s Sandy Pit where Roo learned how to do hops.”
What do you love about Ashdown Forest?
“The area has been kept quite pure and true to how it was in the stories and the original gorgeous illustrations, which is part of its appeal, but people can still come here and do their own walks and discover the spots. We touch upon how the heathland is managed now and how, when Milne was inpsired by it, it would have been at a much lower level because there were more grazing animals.”