Yesterday I went on a day trip with my mum to West Sussex, about an hour and a half drive from London. Why? Because as it's the summer holidays, I was getting bored with nothing to do, and was also a little down. Nothing like the beautiful countryside away from the fast paced hustle and bustle of city life to cheer you up right? (although, all I was really doing was sit around at home all day :P).
Anyway, it was an amazing day! I absolutely loved it! We set off around 12:45pm (yes, I'm too lazy to leave at 8am or some crazy time like that), and before I knew it we were driving through lush hills and farms under the open sky. I planned the itinerary, and we first went to Ashdown forest, this huge forest where you can go for walks and see the views. It's also famous for being Pooh country! Yup, apparently in 1925 A. A Milne and his family went to live on a farm in Hartfield (near the forest) and he was inspired to write the Winnie-the-Pooh series and their adventures in Ashdown forest. Some sites can be recognized in the forest (though their geography is fictionall), like Pooh sticks bridge, Wren's warren, Eeyore's gloomy place..) We went down a path to see Pooh bridge (after we got lost and ended up parking in a retired farmers home, but luckily he was very helpful and showed us the way, and also later gave us 2 free plums from his plum tree). The paths were lined with wild growing blackberrries which we picked - nothin' like free fruit eh? The bridge was just like I imagined it when i read the books as a kid. We also saw 'the Enchanted place' and a memorial there erected by A.A Milne's son. The views were stunning as you can see, and luckily the day was warm and nice- there was even with a little sun in the afternoon!

We sat here for a picnic before going home

Next we visited Plaw Hatch Farm, a bio-dyanmic farm just 5 minutes drive from the Forest visitor centre. The people who work there are truly passionate about what they do, and it was awesome talking to them about their produce. They keep about 60 cows, which they milk (and sell some beef as well), as well as chickens for eggs. They also grow a huge variety of vegetables and fruits, like greengages, radish, spinach, cucumber, marrow, onions, garlic, etc etc!! I spent ages at their chilled fridge, where they have dairy products all made from their completely untreated, unpasteurised milk - they have , 'green - top' raw milk, cheeses like cheddar, halloumi and a dutch cheese with cumin (which they kindly let us taste, but i found it a little bland), and cream, as well as pasteurised yoghurts and dessert pots. They're developing a feta too (which they're gonna contact me about when it's done). They also have frozen beef and raw frozen goats milk from a nearby farm! I loved looking at all their products.
Then, othe farm manager, Alison, offered to show us around the farm, and we saw the cows being milked. Tom, the milker was so passionate about the way of farming, and explained the cows are fed only grass in the summer, hay and silage in the winter and some oats while they get milked (and ofcourse no hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, etc) Biodynamic farming is like organic, but...well....better i guess! And you gotta trust a farmer who knows the names of all his cows!
We also toured their vegetable growing area, which overlooked more stunning views, picked some more blackberries from the hedges, then went to the car at around 7pm, after the farmshop had closed.
I had planned to visit one or two historic little villages on the way back, but we didn't have time; we saw some while driving anyway. The little cottages were so beautiful!

All in all, i had a FANTASTIC day and got to bring home loads of yummy food! There's nothing like visiting these beautiful countryside areas of England

Dairy products and veg

Ashdown Forest
Visitor and information centre: Wych Cross, Forest Row, East Grinstead, Sussex RH18 5JP

Old Plaw Hatch farm
Old Plaw Hatch Farm, Sharpethorne, West Sussex RH19 4JL
Farm shop tel: 01342 810201