We are very lucky to live within a short drive of Ashdown Forest. "Forest" is actually a bit of a misnomer as it is a large area of open heathland with the occasional group of trees! It is the largest area of free public access countryside in the South East. It is full of wide open spaces fabulous for ball games, chucking around a frisbee or walking off Sunday lunch. It is also famous for being the setting for AA Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories. You can play Pooh sticks from Pooh Sticks Bridge but you have to take your own sticks!
I was brought up in South London, which is not well known for it's fresh air and open spaces, so every so often my parents would pack a picnic, shovel us into the car and drive us down to the Forest. History repeats itself and we now do the same to our kids.
The views are stunning, especially on a clear day like today.
I have a bit of a thing for bare trees; the way they twist and bend their way skywards. Today, however, some of them had a little spattering of green; a sign of the possibility of summer.
There was more than a spattering of yellow, as the gorse was in flower.
Lovely wide open skies, with delicate tracings of clouds.
We only walked a couple of miles today. We ambled along, kicking a ball as we went and stopping frequently to admire the view. We heard a cuckoo call and watched a kestrel circle. The children ran about four times the distance that their more staid parents walked. After our huge exertions (!) we needed sustenance so we stopped at the aptly named Heaven Farm for a cup of tea. We like it there as it is cheap and very family friendly. Chickens and ducks wander between the picnic tables and there are tractors to climb on that DS cannot resist. Today there was a new resident.
This turkey looked like he'd escaped from the set of Doctor Who. He seemed to be very keen on DS, or at least on his ice cream. Fortunately DS managed to resist his beady glint, and hold on to his bounty.