AA Milne

A.A. Milne was bought up in London in his father’s School, Henley House, with his brothers. While studying there he found inspiration in one of his teachers, H.G. Wells, who himself would go on to be a famous writer and a close friend to Alan. On the 21st August, 1920 Christopher Milne was born, At this point Alan had written a short verse and had given it to Dorothy as a present, he told her that any money she made on it she could keep, She sent it straight away to magazines, it became a very expensive present and Success Alan was asked to write more and that's where "The Dormouse and the Doctor" derived from, which he wrote for The Merry Go Round magazine.
The childish verses became so popular he decided to write a children's book entitled "When We Were Young" published in 1924, Alan decided to call on one of his friends from punch Ernest Shepherd who went on to be a famous children's illustrator.
From there Whinny the Pooh was written, Alan got his inspiration from Christopher's toys and from there he wrote "The House at Pooh Corner" Alan claimed this would be his last book. Alan realised that writing was his dream and in 1929 wrote "Toad of Toad Hall" based on the story told by Kenneth Graham’s "The Wind in the Willows". The last book Alan published was "Year in, Year out" in 1952 which proved to be a great success.
In October 1952, A.A. Milne had a stroke, for the next three years he was to lead life an invalid, with the truth that his beloved son resented him for his stories and would seldom return to see his farther on his death bed. Many of the enchanted spots where Whinny the Pooh and Christopher Robin found adventure are tucked away in East Sussex, Pooh sticks Bridge, Galleon's Lap, Roo's Sandpit, the North Pole, the Hundred Acre Wood and the dark and mysterious Forest can be found in the area of Ashdown Forest. It was there, at Cotchford Farm in Hartfield, that Milne's son and his stuffed animals became models for the characters in the Whinny the Pooh stories.

Ashdown Forest is much the same today as when Ernest Shepherd first sketched it over seventy years ago. Some places, such as Cotchford Farm, Pooh sticks Bridge and the tiny shop where Christopher Robin and his nanny travel led in search of candy, are well marked and easily accessible (although some, like the North Pole, are on privately owned land). Finding others areas requires a good map of the area, Christopher Robin Milne's autobiography 'The Enchanted Places', and some imagination.

AA Milne was a humorist and playwright who is remembered for his children's books featuring Winnie-the-Pooh in Ashdown Forest.

Alan Alexander Milne was born in 1882 at Henley House, a private school run by his father in London. When he was 8 years old his first article appeared in the school magazine, describing a walking tour of Sussex and Ashdown Forest. After his education at Westminster School and Cambridge University, Milne began his career writing for newspapers and magazines. He became an assistant editor for humorous magazine Punch in 1906. Despite being a pacifist, during World War I he joined the army and fought in France. It was while he was in the army that he began writing plays, and his first big hit was 'Mr Pim Passes By' which was staged in London and New York. Milne had married Daphne de Selincourt in 1913. Their son Christopher Robin Milne was born in 1920 and was known to the family as Billy Moon. In 1925, the family bought Cotchford Farm near Hartfield as a weekend and holiday home. They moved there permanently in 1940. The surrounding Ashdown Forest became the setting for Milne's stories inspired by his son and his toy animals. In 1952 Milne suffered a stroke and died four years later in 1956. Disney released the first animated film on Pooh stories in 1966.

Sussex in Milne’s books

Christopher Milne was given a teddy bear for his first birthday called Edward Bear. It was renamed Winnie-the-Pooh after a Canadian black bear at London Zoo called Winnipeg and a swan in West Sussex called Pooh. Rabbit and Owl were also real animals near Cotchford Farm, while Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga and Roo were more of Christopher's stuffed toys. In Ashdown Forest you can find the places where Christopher Robin and his friends have their adventures, including Roo's sandpit and the North Pole. Owl's tree in Hundred Acre Wood was really a beech tree in 500 Acre Wood. When it blew down in a storm, Milne wrote a story about it. Near Gill's Lap you can find the group of trees which form an 'enchanted place' on the Top of the Forest, called Galleon's Lap in the books. Poohsticks Bridge was originally called Posingford Bridge and was built in 1907. It can be found in Posingford Wood near Upper Hartfield. Disney helped fund repairs to the bridge in 1999.

Illustrator EH Shepard – who also worked for Punch – drew the pictures for the Pooh stories. He based them on his own son's teddy bear, Growler, and sketches of Ashdown Forest made on a visit to Cotchford Farm. A memorial to Milne and Shepard can be found near the 'enchanted place'.

To visit the places from the Pooh stories, download a map from the Conservators of Ashdown Forest.

Get books by and about AA Milne

Click on the title to find out which libraries hold these books and reserve a copy online. You can ask to pick them up from your local library.

Books by AA Milne

  • Books about AA Milne
  • Books by Christopher Milne

A A Milne’s play ‘Mr Pim Passes By’ can be read online at Project Gutenberg.


please contact me for availability.

Home +44 (0) 1892 610522

Mobile +44 (0) 7789 993982

Copyright Robert Stewart Yew House 2009 all rights reserved

Email yewhouse@yewhouse.com