The iconic Poohsticks bridge made famous by the Winnie-the-Pooh books has been ‘closed indefinitely’ after being damaged by a fallen tree.
Poohsticks Bridge in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, was first built in 1907 and provides the setting for the beloved children’s novels.
The wooden bridge was officially declared closed on Monday after the wooden railing was ripped from the side of the bridge and the uprooted tree was left lying across the river.
The bridge is visited by thousands of tourists each year after it was made famous in A. A. Milne’s famous Winnie-the-Pooh children’s stories.
Ashdown Forest provided the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood where Pooh and friends live, often playing the popular game ‘Poohsticks’ on the bridge – a game first mentioned in A. A. Milne’s book, The House at Pooh Corner.
East Sussex’s Ashdown Forest and the wooden bridge provided the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood where Pooh and friends live in A. A. Milne’s famous children’s novels, but was damaged by a falling tree
The picturesque wooden bridge, pictured here before the damage, was originally built in 1907
The history of Poohsticks Bridge
The wooden bridge was built in 1907 across a tributary stream of the River Medway River.
Originally called Posingford Bridge, it can be accessed by a short walk through Ashdown Forest.
Over the years the bridge has been rebuilt to replicate the original sketches made by artist Ernest Shepard for A. A. Milne’s books.
The reconsutruction was made possible with a substantial donation from the Disney Corporation and donations from members of the public.
It was renamed Poohsticks Bridge and reopened after its reconstruction in 1979 by Christopher Robin Milne, the famous author’s son and the inspiration behind the character Christopher Robin in his father’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
Now it has become a popular spot with tourists, and thousands visit every year to play the game of Poohsticks – a game first mentioned in A. A. Milne’s book, The House at Pooh Corner.
The bridge has now been ‘closed indefinitely’ while repairs are made.
Devastating images of the damage caused by the tree, which was uprooted by strong winds over the weekend, were shared by a local cafe and Winnie-the-Pooh themed shop, Pooh Corner, on Facebook.
The post was captioned: ‘We are devastated to be saying that Pooh Bridge is now closed indefinitely as a tree beside the bridge has collapsed in the recent weather.
‘East Sussex County Council and the landowner have closed the footpath and will be getting to work removing the tree and fixing the bridge, so we thank them and please ask everybody to keep away until we can announce it has reopened.’
The images have left social media users heartbroken, Lauren Blake commented: ‘So sad! I’m thankful I was able to visit Pooh Stick Bridge last November when I came from the US. Hope it gets repaired soon.’
Nicole Marie added: ‘This is absolutely heartbreaking. My fiance proposed to me on Pooh Bridge Wednesday just gone, and I feel so lucky for this to have happened. Praying Pooh Bridge is fixed soon.’
Reima Casey posted: ‘Sorry to hear this news thankfully the council and owner are getting it sorted.’
And Tia Barham said: ‘So sad at the loss of this magnificent tree and the damage to the bridge.
‘Grew up around here and have lived a two minute walk from the bridge for ten years.
‘Played countless games of pooh sticks as a kid and now with my kids. The bridge will live on. Here is my favourite photo with that lovely tree in it.’
The bridge was made famous in A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which follows the lives of the fictional yellow bear (pictured) and his friends
The wooden bridge has had to be closed afer the fallen tree landed on the railings and lying across the river
The bridge is usually visited by thousands of tourists every year who play Poohsticks, a game that involved involves dropping sticks from a bridge into a downstream river, with the person whose stick comes out the other end of the bridge first becoming the winner
Tia also uploaded a picture of the bridge and the now fallen tree which she took in February 2018 which shows the bridge and tree under a blanket of snow.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Council today said: ‘Our countryside rangers have been on site and are working with the landowner to clear the tree from the bridge before they can make the bridge safe.’
The iconic bridge was made famous by author A. A. Milne after he invented the game Poohsticks at the bridge.
This game would later become a favourite of Milne’s most famous creations, Winnie-the-Pooh, who resides in Ashdown Forest, the home of the bridge.
Poohsticks involves dropping sticks from a bridge into a downstream river, the person whose stick comes out the other end of the bridge first is the winner.
In The House on Pooh corner, where the game was first mentioned, describes how Pooh accidentally drops a pine cone into a river from a bridge and, after watching how it appeared on the other side of the bridge, devises the rules for Poohsticks.
All the other characters joined in the game in later books, including Christopher Robin, Tigger and Eeyore.
The bridge has undergone substantial repairs in recent years due to the number of visitors it receives.
The bridge has even drawn the patronage of Disney who provided funding for works in the 19990s.