The woodland home of Winnie the Pooh is among five Sussex sites singled out to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee

Three ancient trees and two woodlands in Sussex have been dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee - and Winnie the Pooh would be delighted to learn his home is amongst them!

The Cowdray tree which, it is said, Queen Elizabeth I sheltered beneath from the rain while out hunting
The Cowdray tree which, it is said, Queen Elizabeth I sheltered beneath from the rain while out hunting

The remarkable trees at Cowdray Park, Midhurst; Tilgate; and Preston Park, Brighton are among 70 across the UK selected to mark her 70 years.

Historic records reveal that the Queen Elizabeth I Oak at Cowdray Park Estate sheltered Queen Elizabeth I. She rested and took lunch under the Oak in 1591 during a hunting trip to Cowdray Estate deer park. One of the largest and oldest sessile oak trees in the UK, this oak is still living and is estimated to be around 1,000 years old. It forms part of the Cowdray Estate Deer Park, which combined with the neighbouring arboretum and benbow pond make it a popular attraction for Midhurst locals and tourists, with stunning views of the South Downs.

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The Preston Twin Elm, Preston Park, Brighton has also been awarded the highest accolade. Until as recently as 2019, the ancient elm at Preston Park was one of a pair. Brighton proudly boasted two of the largest and oldest English elms in the world. Each of the ‘Preston Twins’ were thought to be around 400 years old. Despite efforts to preserve both, one of the twins was felled to protect the other after contracting Dutch Elm Disease.

Earl De La Warr at the wood immortalised in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Credit: ‘AdasGold Photography’

The Tilgate Hawthorn at Tilgate is an amazing example of an ancient hawthorn. Retained during the 1960s despite development in the area, the trunk of the tree is hollow and split as if cleaved by a giant. It is rare to find a tree like this in an urban setting.

In addition, 70 woodlands have also been highlighted. In Sussex these include:

Ebernoe Common in West Sussex is a mixture of ancient semi-natural woodland and ancient wood-pasture, with associated new wood-pasture development. Alongside all the incredible veteran trees and ancient glades full of flowers and ant hills, the reserve has many interesting cultural features including a 16th century furnace pond, associated with early iron production in Sussex and an 18th century brick kiln with many small clay pits. Five Hundred Acre Wood at Crowborough, East Sussex, is most famously known for its connection with A.A Milne’s series of children’s stories about Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh where it became ‘100 Aker Wood’. The woodland borders the Ashdown Forest, an ancient area of open heathland, formerly used as a hunting ground for nobility On Sunday May 1, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), unveiled the nationwide network of 70 Ancient Trees and woodlands to be dedicated to Her Majesty in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee.

To mark the launch, The Prince of Wales recorded a video message under one of the Ancient tree dedications – the old Sycamore at Dumfries House in Scotland.

Earl De La Warr at the wood immortalised in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Credit: ‘AdasGold Photography’

His Royal Highness said: “…I am delighted to have the opportunity to launch this project in the grounds of Dumfries House under the majestic branches of this old Sycamore, which pre-dates the very House itself, having grown from seed more than 420 years ago.

"Planted in 1599, during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James VI, it is remarkable that this ancient tree is as old as Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Caravaggio’s David and Goliath.

"These working woodlands and magnificent trees span our nation’s amazing landscape and exist for everyone to enjoy. The Ancient woodlands and trees can be found in urban as well as rural environments, from National Parks to residential areas, representing the unique diversity of all corners of the United Kingdom. Trees and woodlands have a profound significance for us all – their steadfast and reassuring presence a reminder of our long serving Sovereign and her enduring dedication.

"Let us ensure that in her name we can now protect and strengthen this wonderful living Canopy for the next seventy years and, hopefully, way beyond. And, above all, let us ensure that future generations can celebrate and enjoy them.”

Earl De La Warr at the wood immortalised in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Credit: ‘AdasGold Photography’

In addition to the identification of 70 ancient trees and woodlands, a major tree planting project has been conducted with enormous success across the country - not least in Sussex.

The Buckhurst Estate. Credit: ‘AdasGold Photography’