Bridge made famous by Winnie the Pooh is bought by real-life owner of Ashdown Forest’s ‘Hundred Acre Wood’
A bridge made famous by Winnie-the-Pooh has been bought by the real-life owner of the renowned bear’s home - ‘Hundred Acre Wood.’
The original iconic Poohsticks Bridge was sold at an auction in Billingshurst yesterday - and was snapped up by Lord De La Warr, owner of the Buckhurst Park estate in Withyham, East Sussex, of which ‘Hundred Acre Wood’ forms part.
The bridge carried an estimated selling price of £40-£60,000 but went for £131,625 in a sealed bid at Summers Place Auctions.
Lord De La Warr said: “I am delighted to have been able to purchase the original bridge.
“It will take pride of place on the estate close to its original position and I hope that many children - and adults - will be able to admire the original bridge which inspired one of the most famous games still played by children in the UK and abroad - ‘Poohsticks’.”
Auction specialist James Rylands added: ”We were absolutely delighted that we could sell a piece of literary history which has given pleasure over the generations to millions of children around the world.
“We were thrilled by the interest the bridge received globally, but are pleased that the bridge will stay in this country.”
One of the vendors said: “We are pleased to hear that the bridge will be looked after for generations to come and that it will continue to provide enjoyment for children.
“The timing of the sale is perfect, I used some of the local wood to restore some parts of the bridge and I will now use part of the proceeds to plant trees locally.”
The bridge was built around 1907 in Ashdown Forest and a replacement was built in 1999, but the original bridge has now been fully restored.
It was build as a sturdy river crossing for horses and carts as well as pedestrians in the forest and originally known as Posingford Bridge.
It rose to fame when children’s author A.A. Milne was inspired by his son Christopher Robin playing on it as a child in the 1920s and they invented the game of Poohsticks.
The first mention of the bridge is in The House at Pooh Corner when Pooh accidentally drops a pine cone into a river from a bridge and, after watching how it appeared on the other side, devises the rules for Poohsticks.
It subsequently appeared in later books being played by the other main characters, Christopher Robin, Eeyore and Tigger and was immortalised in E.H. Shepard’s illustrations.
The original bridge, made of carved oak, has been reconstructed over the years replicating Shepard’s original illustrations and was reopened by Christopher Robin Milne and officially renamed by him as Poohsticks Bridge in 1979.
By 1999 the bridge had become worn by countless thousands of visitors and was therefore replaced with a new bridge built with financial help from local groups and the Disney Corporation.
The original was dismantled and stored for many years in the Ashdown Forest Centre until recently when the local parish council gave permission for it to be rescued.