We're heading to Ashdown Forest, an ancient heathland - and the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. Look forward to five wild miles of rolling hills, streams, woods and scattered hamlets.
Less than 40 miles from central London is the last untamed fragment of the mighty forest that once stretched from Hampshire to Kent, and from the North to the South Downs. The 8th century monk and scholar, Venerable Bede, referred to it as, 'thick and inaccessible, a retreat for wolves and wild boars'. The animals are long gone but it is still a wild place.
The view from the car park gives you a taster of the wonders in store. The backbone of Ashdown Forest is a sandstone ridge. Our route starts along this ridge where you can enjoy tremendous views. After a visit to a restored windmill, the route goes round off the ridge to a famous traditional teashop. A short climb to a viewpoint, then an exhilarating walk along more of the ridge completes this fabulous walk.
Duddleswell Tea Rooms - a charming, traditional establishment set in the heart of the Forest - has been serving teas since the end of the 19th century. It offers an excellent selection of cakes and other teatime goodies, including a lovely selection of set teas.
You can even have a The Pooh Bear Tea - a scone with honey and clotted cream, and a slice of cake. We're sure that silly old bear would have approved of such a 'smackerel'. For lunch there is a choice of sandwiches, tasty rarebit or more hearty options, such as ham or quiche with new potatoes and salad. And if it's a nice day (fingers crossed) you can enjoy your food at the outside tables.
The Duddleswell Tea Rooms are open from the beginning of March until the end of November between 10am and 5pm every day, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Telephone: 01825 712126.
Remember to bring a drink with you for the walk as there isn't anywhere to get one until you get to the teashop.
DISTANCE: 5 MILES