Half a mile's walk to the north-west of Angmering village lie Decoy Ponds and Wood. There is an air of tranquillity about the area. The wood, surrounded by fields of corn, feels non-threatening and provides welcome shade on a warm summer's day. Could this small wood have been the one that originally influenced AA Milne to write his "Winnie-the-Pooh" stories for his son Christopher Robin (1920-1996)?
If this question is a surprise, you might be interested to learn that in the summers of the early 1920s before moving to Hartfield, AA Milne and his family rented Decoy Cottage which is situated close to the ponds (see house upper left in above photo). In his autobiography, CR Milne wrote that on the ponds was a swan which the family christened "Pooh", and this was originally the name attributed to a swan in the Milne poem "When We Were Very Young". Apparently, the swan never came when called, and the Milnes often ended up saying "Pooh" to it.
The Decoy Ponds themselves were originally created as fishponds in the 16th century by the Palmer family of nearby New Place. They were formed by damming the spring that rises over the A27 at Hammerpot. By the early 18th century, the ponds had been enlarged to create a wildfowl decoy to provide both Arundel Castle and the neighbourhood with ducks, teal, and wigeon.
The main pond within the wood is located at OS Map Ref. TQ058053. You can reach it by joining the public footpath in the SW corner of Palmer Road Recreation Ground, walking straight ahead for 200m before turning right and walking north for a further 400m. This will bring you to the woods. Taking the footpath to the left and walking along the edge of the wood for a further 200m will bring you to the entrance of the wood and the main pond.
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