- County: East Sussex
- Nearest Town(s): Crowborough
- AONB: High Weald (Ashdown Forest)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Time: 10 minutes
- Height: 204m
- W3W: ///grounding.reclaimed.footpath
- Map: OS Explorer Map (135) Ashdown Forest
Unlike Sam I wasn’t on the doorstep of a National Park growing up, but the Ashdown Forest comes pretty close. It was also the inspiration for my favourite cuddly honey loving Pooh bear. The Ashdown Forest sits atop a sandy thread at the top of the High Weald AONB, nestled in the East Sussex countryside. There are several Trig Pillars within the bounds of the Forest, but Gill’s Lap has a funny name, and has a dedicated car park, so Gills Lap Trig Pillar it was.
Where to Park
There is a dedicated car park (///forgives.sitting.lately), also named Gills lap, but be aware the car park is still a ten minute walk from the trig. The view on the walk is beautiful both left and right of the flat sandy path. The car park also has the added bonus of an ice cream van for the majority of the year, meaning a post walk flake is almost a necessity. Unfortunately for those of the lactose intolerant persuasion you may have to make do with a Calippo and the view.
The Walk In
Though the car park is also known as Gills Lap the nearby thicket of trees is not the Gills Lap of Winnie the Pooh fame. For those not local or die hard Pooh fans like my mother, Gills lap is the location of Pooh’s cunning Heffalump trapping plan, and has also been known as Galleons lap. But no matter how many times we walked around we couldn’t find one either.
There is a great website for Gill’s Lap specific walks at http://www.ashdownforest.org/enjoy/walking/docs/Walk1_PoohWalksFromGillsLap.pdf)
Heading for the trig the walk starts out of the carpark (///threading.fluffed.congested) and heads along an obvious and sandy track. There are a couple of small paths that peel off the main track, but don’t be tricked by these, keep on the main path until the trig appears in a clearing to the right.
The View From Gills Lap Trig Pillar
There’s a pretty good view across the Forest but unfortunately it can’t be seen from Gills Lap Trig Pillar. The trees around the trig have grown up, a small slither of the view is visible but 100 yard walk in either direction will open a great view
The Walk Out
The easy option here is to turn tail and head straight back to the car, but there is a memorial to Pooh’s creator AA Milne and Pooh’s illustrator E.H. Shepard, marking the “Enchanted Place” which does have a beautiful view of their hundred acre wood. There are many online suggestions as to making this walk a loop of any variation of length. We, however, had a day of trig bagging planned so we headed car parkwards and on to our next ‘bag’.
There is a sizeable car park also named Gill’s Lap, which is a short walk from the Gills Lap Trig Pillar. Using ///forgives.sitting.lately should lead you to the middle of the car park, right next to the ice cream van.
Gill’s Lap has something to offer year-round. Our favourite time to visit is in late summer, when the heather is in full bloom, adding great colour to the landscape. As the ground here is mostly sandy, access is still easy through the winter, and an icy day provides a great winter photo.
Yes, you can take your dog to Gill’s Lap, but the area is popular and there are often many other dogs and people. There are also a couple of busy roads nearby, and there is often livestock nearby so keeping dogs on a lead is encouraged.
Ashdown Forest was the inspiration for A.A.Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, and Gill’s Lap is said to be the enchanted place where Pooh planned to trap himself a Heffalump. The car park by the same name is also the nearest jumping off point for the nearby A.A.Milne and E.H. Shepard memorial.
An elephant like creature created by A.A.Milne, only ever encountered in Pooh and Piglets dreams, despite their best efforts to trap one. Word of warning the term should never be used to describe your partner, no matter how much she jumps on you while you are half asleep
The Ashdown forest is in East Sussex
The Ashdown Forest is owned by the Ashdown Forest Trust a charitable foundation.
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