Ashdown Forest Travel Guide

Discover the hidden gems of Ashdown Forest with this comprehensive travel guide. Explore natural attractions, cultural landmarks, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, local customs, and more.

Introduction to Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest, located in East Sussex, South East England, is a stunning protected area known for its breathtaking landscapes, cultural landmarks, and outdoor adventures. Covering more than 6,500 acres of heathland, woodlands, and valleys, Ashdown Forest is also one of the largest public-access spaces in South East England.

List of Places to Visit in Ashdown Forest

Whether you’re looking for natural attractions, cultural landmarks, or outdoor activities, Ashdown Forest has something to offer for every type of traveler. Here are some must-visit places in Ashdown Forest.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Pooh Corner: Known for its connection to Winnie the Pooh, Pooh Corner is a small museum and gift shop located in the heart of Ashdown Forest. The museum celebrates the beloved characters of AA Milne’s stories and their link to the forest.
  • St. Dunstan’s Church: This 13th century church is situated in the picturesque village of Mayfield, where the interior is decorated with an elaborate 15th-century screen and other historic details.
  • The Ashdown Forest Centre: Located close to the Visitor Centre is The Ashdown Forest Centre. The centre provides a wealth of information about the history and wildlife of the forest since it opened in 1980.

Natural Attractions of Ashdown Forest: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • The View from King’s Standing: A must-visit spot in Ashdown Forest, King’s Standing is a stunning viewpoint that offers panoramic views over Ashdown Forest and the surrounding area.
  • Ashdown Forest Llama Park: Take a walk with the Llamas, and explore the stunning natural landscapes of Ashdown Forest in a unique way.
  • Gills Lap: Gills Lap is regarded as one of Ashdown Forest’s best viewpoints. Located near the Ashdown Forest Centre, this viewpoint provides a mesmerising view of the scenic woodland and heath.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest has an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that offer visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area. Here are some of the best routes to try out:

  • Pooh Walk Trail: A circular trail that takes visitors on a journey into the world of Winnie the Pooh. The trail covers approximately three miles of stunning natural beauty.
  • Weir Wood Reservoir – East Grinstead: This trail is perfect for cycling lovers as it offers smooth tarmac surfaces, and passes through several charming villages and fantastic woodland areas.
  • Ashdown Forest Walk: This circular route takes in some of Ashdown Forest’s key features, such as Pooh Corner, Eeyore’s House, and Ghyll Manor.

Best Things to Do in Ashdown Forest: Activities and Tours

Ashdown Forest is the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors and enjoy activities such as hiking, cycling, and horse riding. Here are some of the best things to do in Ashdown Forest:

  • Go on a Guided Wildlife Walk: The forest is home to various types of wildlife, some of them rare, such as nightjars, woodlarks, and Dartford warblers. Joining one of the guided wildlife walks will give you a chance to see them up close.
  • Explore on Horseback: Whether you’re an experienced rider or a beginner, exploring the forest on horseback is an experience you won’t forget soon.
  • Try Forest Bathing: The art of Forest Bathing can be practised in the Forest. This activity involves taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of the forest, and disconnecting from tech devices.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ashdown Forest

If you have a week to spare, then Ashdown Forest is an excellent place to spend it. Check out our week-long itinerary for Ashdown Forest.

Day Activity
Day 1 Pooh Walk Trail
Day 2 Weir Wood Reservoir
Day 3 King’s Standing Viewpoint
Day 4 Ashdown Forest Llama Park
Day 5 Gills Lap
Day 6 Horse Riding
Day 7 Guided Wildlife Walk

Food and Drink Scene of Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest’s food and drink scene is a great way for visitors to experience the local culture through cuisine. Here are some of the must-try dishes and local beverages in Ashdown Forest.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Sussex Smokie: Given its location, Ashdown Forest is an ideal place to try this smoky fish dish.
  • Linguine with Garlic Roasted Wild Mushrooms: This dish is prevalent in the area since it uses fresh mushrooms harvested from the forest.
  • Venison: Freshly prepared venison is another favourite in the Ashdown Forest region. The meat is sourced responsibly from the forest’s deer population.

Local Beverages

  • Harvey’s Ale: Brewed in the nearby town of Lewes, this beer is famous for its floral aroma and malty flavour.
  • Ashdown Forest Elderflower Cordial: This refreshing beverage is made with locally sourced elderflower blossoms and spring water from the forest.

Where to Stay in Ashdown Forest: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ashdown Forest has a variety of accommodation options for visitors to select from. Whether you are looking for luxury or on a budget, Ashdown Forest has something for everyone.

  • Broadstone Warren: An excellent budget-friendly option, Broadstone Warren is located within the natural surroundings of Ashdown Forest.
  • Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club: This luxury hotel is set in a magnificent Victorian mansion and boasts of elegant interiors, a spa, and an 18 hole championship golf course.
  • Pooh Room, Airbnb: The Pooh Room is situated in a peaceful area near the heathland. This room, designed with Winnie the Pooh decorations, is perfect for families visiting Ashdown Forest.

What to Buy in Ashdown Forest: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs or local products to bring home, Ashdown Forest has plenty of options. Here are some of the best souvenirs and local products to consider buying in Ashdown Forest.

  • Winnie the Pooh Merchandise: It’s almost impossible to leave Ashdown Forest without something related to Winnie the Pooh. Pooh Corner is the place to go to, and they stock numerous items, such as books, clothes, and other memorabilia.
  • Ashdown Forest Honey: This honey is harvested from the forest’s bees and is known for its quality and delicious taste.
  • Locally Made Arts and Crafts: There are many artisanal shops in and around the forest that sell unique handmade items like pottery, jewellery, soaps, and other products.

Local Culture and Customs of Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest has fascinating history and culture that visitors can learn about during their stay. Here are some customs and traditions of Ashdown Forest:

The forest’s customs and traditions are all about preserving and protecting its natural beauty. Visitors to the forest should respect and preserve the wildlife and environment for future generations.

Best Time to Visit Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest is a place to visit throughout the year, but the best times to experience its beauty are during the spring and autumn months. During these times, the weather is pleasant, the trees turn colourful, and the park is at its most beautiful.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ashdown Forest

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts to consider when visiting Ashdown Forest:


  • Respect the park’s wildlife and nature.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and equipment for the outdoor activities.
  • Plan beforehand and check for any park regulations to avoid any mishaps.


  • Litter or leave any trash behind.
  • Approach or disrupt the wildlife.
  • Make unnecessary noise to disturb the peace of the park.

Safety and Health

When visiting Ashdown Forest, it is essential to prioritise safety and health. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Safety in Ashdown Forest

  • Always follow the park’s safety regulations.
  • Carry a map and water with you when hiking or biking.
  • Check weather updates before heading out.

Health in Ashdown Forest

  • Apply sunscreen before heading out.
  • Wear comfortable shoes or boots for longer hikes.
  • Carry insect repellent to protect against ticks and other insects.

Getting to Ashdown Forest: Transportation Options and Logistics

Ashdown Forest is easily accessible by various modes of transportation. Here are some options to consider:

Airports Near Ashdown Forest

  • Gatwick Airport: Only 16 miles from Ashdown Forest, it is the closest airport to the park.
  • London City Airport: Approx 37 miles from Ashdown Forest, it is another popular airport option.

Bus Stations Near Ashdown Forest

  • Royal Tunbridge Wells: From Royal Tunbridge Wells, it’s a short drive to Ashdown Forest.
  • East Grinstead: Direct buses leave from London Victoria Coach station to East Grinstead.

Other Options

  • Cycle to Ashdown Forest: For fitness enthusiasts, cycling is an eco-friendly way to explore the park.
  • Drive to Ashdown Forest: For those who prefer to drive, there are many car rental options available.

How to Get Around in Ashdown Forest

Ashdown Forest is best explored on foot or by bike. There are several bike and hiking trails available in the park.

Where to Go Next from Ashdown Forest: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There are many other nearby destinations and excursions that visitors can explore after visiting Ashdown Forest. Here are some options:

  • Lewes: A historic town that is only a short drive from the forest, Lewes has a charming mix of antique shops and unique pubs.
  • Brighton: One of the UK’s top seaside cities, Brighton is only a 45-minute drive from Ashdown Forest and is home to an array of attractions.
  • Seven Sisters Cliffs: The Seven Sisters cliffs are a stunning natural attraction located an hour’s drive from Ashdown Forest.


Ashdown Forest is a hidden gem in South East England. With its stunning landscapes, cultural landmarks, and outdoor activities, visitors to the park will never run out of things to do. With this comprehensive travel guide, you’re now prepared to plan a memorable trip to Ashdown Forest.