For 31 years the World Pooh Sticks Championships have been held annually on the River Thames at Day's Lock in Little Wittenham, but that is all about to change this year. Organisers of the competition have announced in the last few days that they are moving the event to Witney instead, with the event to be held on 7th June. This year's championships will be run in partnership with Cogges Manor Farm, at Langel Common on the River Windrush, in West Oxfordshire. It will coincide with a themed "Stick Day" that is being held at the same venue.

Besides the Pooh Sticks competition, which will be held on the bridge that is situated in the middle of the common, visitors on the day will also be able to enjoy participation in a variety of other activities that will be running at the venue at the same time.

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These will include such traditional country pastimes as 'hook a duck' and 'splat the rat'. The chosen venue is conveniently situated to allow visitors to also look in at the nearby farm to see the animals or perhaps to simply take part in a number of other stick-related activities.

The organisers of the Pooh Sticks event have offered their thanks to the residents of Little Wittenham, the staff and volunteers of the Earth Trust and Environment Agency staff for their help in the running of the event in previous years. However, as the event's popularity has grown over the years and the use of the land has changed, the organisers have decided that the logistics have made a new location necessary from now on.

The championships feature an individual event and a six-person team event, with competitors coming from all around the world to compete.

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In the past, the players have come from the United States, Japan, Kenya and Australia, besides those from England itself.

Pooh sticks racing is a long-standing pastime for some, being inspired by the writing of A.A. Milne and the famous character Winnie the Pooh that featured in the books that he wrote. It was first mentioned as a sport in the book entitled The House at Pooh Corner. The rules are basically quite simple to follow, as the competitors take it in turns to drop their selected sticks off a bridge and then watch them "race" each other down a water course to the finish. In its simplest form, players drop their stick on the upstream side of the chosen bridge to be utilised for the event, and then wait to see whose stick appears first on the downstream side.

The World Pooh Sticks Championships were voted 'Britain's Favourite Quirky Event', according to a vote by the readers of Countryfile Magazine. #Fiction #Festivities