Ashdown Forest, where Christopher Robin's father conjured up Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore, has been sold to local authorities for $2.2 million.

The 6,000 acres of heath and woodland, the largest open space in southeast England, was put on the market last year by the executors of the estate of the 10th Earl de la Warr.The buyer, East Sussex County Council, pledged Thursday to allow continued public access to the forest, which was badly damaged in the October 1987 hurricane.

The forest was the setting for the children's stories conjured up by A.A. Milne 60 years ago for his son Christopher Robin's entertainment.

Conservationists and Pooh fans successfully fought off an attempt by British Petroleum last year to drill for oil in the forest.