Storybook Forest row house with dramatic past

CotchfordFarm
CotchfordFarm

There are fears one of the most famous homes in Sussex remains unsold because it was the scene of a tragic and widely publicised death.

Cotchford Farm near Forest Row went onto the market last April at £2 million. But although there has been a great deal of interest in the property, there have been no firm offers.

Grate II listed Cotchford Farm is where Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones drowned in the swimming pool on July 2, 1969. He was only 27 but had been under the influence of drink and drugs at the time, an inquest revealed.

The farm is also where AA Milne wrote stories about one of the Ashdown Forest’s most famous inhabitants, Winnie the Pooh, and stamped the nearest village, Hartfield, firmly on the literary map.

Hartfield is now visited by Winnie the Pooh fans throughout the year. There are Pooh walks, the Pooh Bridge where you can play Poohsticks and a Pooh shop.

There is also the Hundred Aker Wood - actually named the Five Hundred Acre Wood .

Real fans can even roam the Forest and look for “Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, rather boggy and sad” and the favourite haunts of other characters - Kanga, Roo, Owl (spelt Wol) and Piglet.

But since the house went up for sale there have been a number of enquiries but only one serious offer. Agents Savills say even that was below the asking price although they are confident, with an improving market, that the property will sell soon.

Founder of the Brian Jones Memorial Fan Club, Roxanne Fontana, who visited the house four times, said people are often found lurking in the bushes.

The New Yorker, 53, said: “Fans come from all over the world and ask if they are look round. Sometimes they knock on the door and ask to look around the grounds but others are found sneaking around the garden because they don’t want to bother anyone.”

Owner Harriet Johns, whose husband Alistair bought the farm in 1970, said: “Over the years we’ve had all sort of odd people jumping out of rhododendron bushes or taking pictures of themselves with teddy bears.

“But we don’t get that many people any longer, the real rush was about ten years ago. Cotchford Farm is very old house with parts that date back to the 1500s but we don’t have a bad feeling about it at all.”