Through the Seasons is the debut book photobook by nature-loving photographer Craig Payne. During the pandemic, like so many others, he found peace and tranquility among the trees of Ashdown Forest and decided to start documenting the change of seasons from spring through 'til winter.
Ashdown Forest is famously the inspiration for the Hundred Acre Wood from AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, which is home to the honey loving, fluff-stuffed bear and his lovable companions. There’s gloomy Eeyore, wise Owl, mother and son duo Kanga and Roo, born leader Rabbit, the one and only Tigger, and Pooh’s best friend, Piglet. On the many adventures of Christopher Robin, he is joined by Pooh and his friends as they embark on ill-thought-through missions like stealing honey from bees.
Many of the locations in the fantasy world of the Hundred Acre Wood are actually based on real-life locations in Ashdown Forest. Gills Lap, for example, inspired The Enchanted Place, Roo’s Sandy Pit is based on a disused quarry, and the Heffalump Trap is based on a small hollow containing a singular pine tree – a place where Payne spent his teenage years.
Milne’s family home was just one mile from Ashdown Forest, and the stories of Winnie the Pooh are based on her frequent adventures in the forest with her son, Christopher, and his teddy bear, Winnie. Although the real Ashdown Forest is more like 500 acres than 100, today there are several short Winnie the Pooh walks that take you past all the famous spots, including the bridge where they played Pooh Sticks.
For Payne, this stunning landscape provided much-needed respite during the pandemic and enabled him to reconnect with nature. Over the course of three years, he has visited the forest more than 150 times to capture the snow-covered valleys, golden autumnal hues and glorious pastel sunsets.
The full-time wedding photographer now hopes to raise £4,000 (approximately $4,460 / AU$6,900) on Kickstarter so he can officially publish the book. By pledging just £10 ($11 / AU$17) you will receive a digital copy, £28 ($31 / AU$49) or more will get you an open edition, while £35 ($39 / AU$60) will get you a limited edition, hardback copy of the 100-page book as well as a digital edition.
Working alongside James Adler, co-author and CEO of Conservators of Ashdown Forest, Payne’s pictures have been brought to life through words and each location has been given a What3Words location so that it’s easy to find.
To make a pledge, head to the Through the Seasons Kickstarter page where you can find out more information about the book and the magical locations that inspired the heartfelt adventures of Winnie the Pooh.