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Pooh sticks

Generations of children (and grown-ups) have enjoyed playing Pooh sticks and Sacrewell is the perfect place for a bit of old-fashioned fun.

Down the hill, past the mill, you’ll discover the rushing and winding mill stream –and a bridge that’s an ideal place for Pooh sticks.

The game was invented by A.A.Milne in his classic stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin in House at Pooh Corner and is still a popular past-time. There is even a world championship competition held in Oxfordshire every year.

From The Official Pooh Corner Rules for Playing Pooh Sticks by Mike Ridley

1. First, you each select a stick and show it to your fellow competitors. You must agree which stick is which – or whose, as it were.

2. Check which way the stream is flowing. Competitors need to face the stream on the side where it runs in, under the bridge (upstream). Note: If the stream runs out, from under the bridge you are standing on the wrong side (downstream).

3. Choose someone to be a starter. This can be either the oldest or the youngest competitor.

4. All the competitors stand side by side facing upstream.

5. Each competitor holds their stick at arm’s length over the stream. The tall competitors should lower their arms to bring all the sticks to the same height over the stream as the shortest competitor's stick.

6. The starter calls, “Ready – Steady – Go!” and all the competitors drop their sticks. Note: the stick must not be thrown into the water.

7. At this point in the game, all the players must cross to the downstream side of the bridge. Please take care – young players like to race across. Remember, other people use bridges and some of them have vehicles or horses.

8. Look over the edge of the bridge for the sticks to emerge. The owner of the first stick to float from under the bridge is the winner.