A.A.Milne wrote the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. They were inspired by the adventures of his only son Christopher Robin. The Milne family moved from their town house in Chelsea, London, to Cotchford Farmhouse in 1924. With them came Nanny Olive Brockwell. From pavements to woodland paths and from the company and chatter of other Nannies to the creatures of Posingford Wood and the Ashdown Forest – the contrast for Nanny and Christopher was dramatic. Alan Alexander Milne was a successful playwright and had stage productions on in both London’s West-End and on Broadway, New York. He kept on the house in Chelsea and commuted by train to Sussex for the weekends. Upon his arrival home his wife Daphne would bring him up to date with how well their son was doing.
Much of the information she was able to share with him had been given to her by Nanny. It was Nanny who accompanied Christopher and actually took part in his nursery games. The games extended into the surrounding countryside and involved his favourite nursery toys. A.A.Milne was a keen walker and with the young Christopher became familiar with these places and consequently incorporated them into his writing. Soon after he had submitted the stories to his publisher E.H.Shepard was suggested as the illustrator. Milne was not immediately convinced but following a surprise visit to Hartfield by Ernest Shepard after his expedition into the Ashdown Forest through Posingford Wood and across the Poohsticks Bridge, Milne saw how he had captured the characters and the atmosphere so completely. The stories created first by the child, then given life by the author and the illustrator have become legendary.
When Christopher Robin Milne remembered his childhood in his book ‘The Enchanted Places' he recalled his weekly trips to the village with his Nanny and their visit to the Pooh Corner shop for bulls-eyes which were their favourites:"Subsequent trips included our weekly visit to Hartfield, a mile away along a main road, up a steep hill, down a steep hill and in at the first shop on the left hand side. Jessica needed no urging and the woman behind the counter no instructions. It was a pennyworth of bullseyes for each of us."
The Enchanted Places - Christopher Milne
If you decide to find the famous Poohsticks Bridge and follow in the footsteps of Christopher Robin, first check out ‘The official POOH CORNER RULES for playing POOHSTICKS’- there's a rather clever way to win! Oh yes, and don't forget to take your ‘EXPOTITION CERTIFICATE' with you to tick off the places you visit so that you can return to Pooh Corner and have it endorsed with a gold sticker to become ‘Certified’!