A fire has broken out in the forest that was the inspiration for AA Milne’s location in his celebrated Winnie the Pooh books. Fans of one of the most recognizable children’s book series will be shocked and saddened at the news of the fire that has claimed an area of the famous wood that has become a part of the literary landscape.
Ashdown Forest, situated in East Sussex, England, was a place familiar with the famous children’s author, who wrote his much-loved books in the 1920s while living in Hartfield, close to the area that has now been claimed by fire. The forest that inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, the home of such famous and beloved characters created by Milne such as Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Piglet, began on Sunday night, leaving with it a trail of destruction that has decimated local wildlife and will leave fans of the classic children’s books bereft.
According to BBC News, the fire was reported at 9.30 BST Sunday night by East Sussex Fire and Rescue, with six fire crews initially attending the blaze. The fire may have been able to spread due to the unusual timing of a wildlife fire, which typically happen during daylight hours. At the height of the blaze, fourteen acres of the real-life Hundred Acre Wood was affected. The area is rich with wildlife and the impact this fire has had will be particularly devastating given the time of year, which will mean the destruction of nests and their eggs. At this stage the fire is not thought to have been deliberate.
With its varied and rich landscapes, the British countryside is renowned for influencing writers over the centuries, from the bleak Yorkshire Moors of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights to the rich and bountiful Shire brought to life by JRR Tolkien. In his Lord of the Rings series, the esteemed author is thought to have used areas of the English countryside such as Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, as well as the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons of Wales as inspiration for creating some of the most famous landscapes in literary (and now cinematic) history. In recent years, the Forest of Dean has also been cited as a major influence for JK Rowling, a place which Harry Potter fans may now well be familiar with – an area that Hermione Granger mentions in the Deathly Hallows and where filming took place for the movie. With its densely populated forests, ancient woodlands, rivers and rolling hills it is not hard to see why the Harry Potter author, who grew up close by, drew her inspiration from this part of the world. This area has also been brought to the screen as a filming location for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Doctor Who.
While this will be a blow for the local community, the wildlife and AA Milne enthusiasts, it is envisaged by rangers who care for the forest that the area will repopulate again in the coming months, and that the forest that became the home of some of our much-loved characters in Winnie the Pooh, will spring back to life again soon.
Source: BBC News