Winnie the Pooh’s real-life Hundred Acre Wood devastated by forest fire

An overnight fire ripped through a forest in England that provided the setting for the Winnie the Pooh children’s stories.

The blaze at Ashdown Forest, in East Sussex, started at around 9.30 p.m. Sunday and affected an area of more than 35 acres, according to the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

Six fire crews were on the scene as flames fed on dry undergrowth in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne, who lived in nearby Cotchford Farm, Hartfield, drew inspiration from Ashdown Forest to write the popular series of children’s books in the 1920s.

In the stories the woodland became the fictional Hundred Acre Wood, home to Winnie the Pooh and his friends Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and others.

The fire was brought under control around 4 a.m. Monday.

Andrew Gausden, commander of the fire station, said: “It’s unusual to have a fire of this size at night. This seems to have caught hold before people noticed the fire. The undergrowth was very dry in the forest, despite the recent rain, and the fire caught quite quickly.”

The cause of the blaze is unknown but it does not seem to have been started deliberately, Gausden said.

Ashdown Forest is in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which covers parts of Kent, Sussex and Surrey in southeast England.

Two wildfires, accidentally started by volunteers, scorched the woods in February.

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