On the borders of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire this National Trust estate is a lovely area of woodland with numerous footpaths, a large green space, meadow, a pond and a natural play area for the kids. The house itself is now a conference centre but can you still walk around parts of the grounds. We are regular visitors to the Ashridge Estate so I’ll be regularly updating this review with new photos across the year.
Harry Potter fans might be interested to know that the Whomping Willow was actually a tree in Ashridge. Sadly it’s no longer there though. For Star Wars fans the latest movie was partially filmed on Ivinghoe Beacon. Scenes from Fast and Furious 9 were filmed here, so were some from Killing Eve.
It’s a popular film location!
You might be forgiven for thinking that “Ashridge” comprises of just a couple of paths and is a relatively small area. Actually, it’s huge; if you do the boundary walk then it’s 16 miles and they say it will take you 7 hours!! There are lots of (much easier) walks on the National Trust website that you can download
They have a large herd of deer and they’re surprisingly easy to spot if you go off the main path. During most holidays there’s a trail for children for an additional fee. Ashridge is a popular place, particularly when the weather is good, but most people tend to stick to certain areas so if you go away from those main paths then you can get away from everyone.
These woods have some of the boys’ favourite climbing trees, there’s a troll bridge you can go over and there’s a pond you can go pond-dipping in. If you take the mobility scooter path to the right of the monument then, after a while, you’ll go over the bridge and come to the little house. Apparently this is a Victorian shooting lodge that caught fire in the late 80’s. Sorry but this is straight out of Blair Witch Project and there is no way this isn’t haunted!!!!! See for yourself……..
There are plenty of accessible paths, but it is a woodland and it does get muddy up there. The Christmas Pudding trail in 2017 was particularly bad though. Middle child basically ended up caked in mud from head to toe. If you’re going to be going off the main motability trails with a baby then I’d recommend you use a baby carrier instead of a pushchair. You will not get through in the winter months with a pushchair. Also, not all of the walks are circular. One of the most popular is actually linear – if you follow it to the end you come onto a road. We normally get a certain distance and turn back. It is a long trail though so you can easily walk for over an hour with little people before turning back.
It’s worth noting that during May there is a stunning display of bluebells in Dockey Wood. It’s part of the Ashridge Estate as well and you can have a look at my review here.
What’s there for children?
The tree stump play area is fantastic. It’s just old stumps but the kids love it; they can clamber around safely to their hearts content. Keep an eye out for the carvings in the tree stumps – they’re very cool. In the visitor centre there is an exhibition area which provides hands-on exhibits about wildlife for the kids.
During summer weekends you can climb the monument if you want. There are a LOT of steps, but the views up there are phenomenal (as long as you have a head for heights). This is chargeable, unless you are a National Trust member, but it’s a nominal fee.
Parking / How to get there
Parking – Free, on-site, but can get busy
Address – Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1LT
In the visitor centre but those are the only ones on the estate.
There is a cafe on site. It does get very busy but the scones are MASSIVE and very nice. After a nice long walk and you’ve earned one! Picnics are welcome and the green in front of the monument is a great place to have one. Alternatively you could have one on the meadow if it’s been mown.
Our ashridge estate review
Rating – 5 / 5. We are regular visitors in all seasons.