Millions watch BBC programme as it features iconic Sussex forest

The beauty of the iconic Ashdown Forest in East Sussex was showcased to millions of people last night on BBC1's Countryfile.

Chief Executive Mark Pearson said he was delighted with the hour-long programme from 6pm to 7pm.

Mark said this morning: "The Ashdown Forest is such a lovely and precious site, and it was great to be featured on BBC1 at primetime on a Sunday evening. It really did show the Forest at its best, and I would urge people to come and visit us here and see what we have to offer. It is a beautiful place to come and walk as well as to appreciate the wonders of the Forest. It really is an amazing place."

Ashdown Forest is, of course, the place where writer AA Milne created Winnie the Pooh, and presenters Matt Baker and Charlotte Smith started and ended the show playing a game of Pooh Sticks on the world famous Pooh Sticks Bridge.

The opening feature on the programme was with Winnie the Pooh fanatic and local museum creator Neil Reed, who spoke about his absolute passion for the Forest.

There was a focus on the numbers of deer on the Forest. They are at their highest levels for many, many years, and the importance of managing that high number was featured. Drones are used to map exactly where the deer are.

There was also a spotlight on how the landscape has been transformed in the past 100 years, and how trees need to be cut down regularly. Much of the wood is burnt due to the sheer volume.

The Exmoor Ponies on the Forest were filmed, and the importance of volunteers was also highlighted.

Mark said: "I want to thank the BBC - it was great to welcome the Countryfile team for the day, and the end result was amazing."

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