How to play Poohsticks

Playing Poohsticks

A recent newspaper article reported the following:

Scientists say there is a formula for winning the stick-throwing bridge game made famous by Winnie the Pooh and friends

Poohsticks, the timeless game made famous by Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Christopher Robin, is not a game of chance, according to scientists – and there’s even a formula to win.

The game, in which competitors drop sticks into a river upstream off a bridge and see which comes out downstream first, is first mentioned in the book The House At Pooh Corner by A.A.Milne published in 1928.

The research was commissioned to celebrate the release of The Poohsticks Handbook: A Poohstickopedia, written by comedy writer Mark Evans and illustrated by Mark Burgess, and featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends. It reveals the secrets to finding the perfect Poohstick, according to a top scientist, and names the best places in the country to play.

The formula contradicts most Britons (57%) who believe Poohsticks is a game of sheer luck.

Egmont Publishing joined Dr Rhys Morgan, director of engineering and education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, to equip the 39% of people who already take time sourcing the perfect Poohstick with the formula to ensure they pick the speediest stick to sail to victory.

It comes after a survey of 2,000 British parents revealed that 41% of players take the time to personalise their sticks to ensure they take no chances in knowing exactly who wins!

It turns out that just 11% of Britons naturally pick the right sort of stick, with a third of people (30%) heading straight for a long and thin stick, which according to Dr Morgan is only half right.

The scientist, a father of two and avid Poohsticks player himself, said the main variables that need to be considered when designing the optimum Poohstick included cross-sectional area, density/buoyancy, and the drag coefficient.

The perfect Poohstick would be tubby and long, fairly heavy (but not so heavy it will sink to the bottom of the river), with quite a lot of bark to catch the flow of the river like paddle.

The top 12 Poohsticks-perfect bridges, as recommended by VisitEngland:

  • Sheepwash bridge, Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire
  • Morden Hall park, London
  • Heale Gardens, Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • Packhorse bridge, Watendlath, Cumbria
  • Mottisfont, Romsey, Hampshire
  • Little Wittenham bridge, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Mathematical bridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
  • New Lower bridge, Boscastle, Cornwall
  • Bridge over Bourne Eau, Bourne, Lincolnshire
  • Cantlop bridge, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • Essex bridge, Shugborough, Staffordshire
  • Hutton-le-Hole, Ryedale, North Yorkshire




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