Ashridge protected landscape trail
Ashridge visitor centre, Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Herts, HP4 1LTRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This walk takes you into one of the ancient woodland areas of the Ashridge estate. It is a good walk for the whole family at any time of year and gives you the opportunity to see Fallow deer and possibly Muntjac too. There are also many different birds to be seen and in summer butterflies as well.
- Bus stop
Start: Ashridge estate visitor centre, grid ref: SP969130
Starting from the visitor centre, walk across the green towards the Monument and take the path to the right which has stud posts across it.
The main point of focus on this walk is to observe the ancient trees all around. There are oak, beech, sweet chestnut and lime amongst others. See if you can identify any of them. Pollarded trees like this one are mainly at Frithsden.
You are now entering ancient woodland so look at the trees around you and see if you can identify them. There are a large number of badgers in the area so keep a lookout for signs, either their tracks or their setts (holes), which are commonly in amongst tree roots.
Badgers have been building their setts in the roots of these very old trees for generations. Badgers are clean animals and have separate holes or 'latrines' as toilets - you may also see these if you look closely. As the young grow up they will move away and start a family of their own so that the colony gets bigger and bigger. Luckily there is plenty of room at Ashridge.
You will soon reach a wooden bridge crossing a small ravine. Once across, continue along this ancient drovers' path, which has been worn into a ditch by villagers over the centuries taking their animals to graze on Pitstone Common. Continue to Moneybury Hill, so-called because buried Roman coins were found here in the past. Please note that metal detectors are prohibited on Ashridge Estate.
As you walk along this route you are quite likely to see deer. Fallow deer move around in groups but Muntjac are mainly solitary.
On your left is Bell Barrow, so-called because of its shape. It is thought to be a Bronze Age burial mound and is fenced off at present to prevent further deterioration. Archaeological excavation is planned in the near future. Soon after that you will see a wooden building on your left - this is a copy of a Victorian shooting lodge that burned down in 1989.
The Victorian shooting lodge was burnt down and has been rebuilt in its original style. It is very popular with film crews.
Further along the path you will see a huge log on the right-hand side, which has been made into a seat. If you sit here you will get a lovely view of Pitstone Hill and Aldbury Nowers through the gap in the trees. Walking on, note the hazel trees that have been coppiced to provide wildlife habitats. Coppicing is a method of cutting trees down to the ground and letting them re-grow. In the past this wood would have been used for basket making. There is a fallen cedar tree which is still alive and growing. The nearby conifer plantation is being gradually removed as they were planted in the 1970s to make money but do not really belong in this ancient woodland. In the gap already made, take a few minutes to look skywards for birds, see how many you can identify.
Birds of prey are known as raptors - there are quite a variety of them here at Ashridge. Favourite amongst them is the red kite which is now seen here frequently.
You will soon emerge onto Clipper Down Common where the walk ends. This is another good point for bird watching.
You will see the turning point for mobility vehicles. There is an option for you to turn back here too or continue for another mile to Ivinghoe Beacon. This extra stretch is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs but otherwise is well worth the extra effort.
Ivinghoe Beacon is one of the highest points in the Chiltern Hills. It is the start of the Icknield Way to the east and the Ridgeway long-distance path to the west.
End: Clipper Down, grid ref: SP9641475
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1.5 miles (2.5 km)
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: Explorer 181
This route has a mainly even surface, suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs, though it can be very muddy after rain. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept under close control at all times to avoid worrying wildlife.
- How to get here:
On foot: There are footpaths up to the Ashridge estate from Aldbury (½ mile), Tring (½ miles) and Ivinghoe village (¾ mile)
By bike: Quiet lane and off-road cycle routes, including the Icknield Way and the Tring and Berkhamstead circular rides, pass through the estate. Cycle parking is available at the Monument
By bus: Arriva 30/31 from Tring - alight in Aldbury, ½ mile away; Arriva 30 from Berkhamsted town hall stops close to the centre; Chiltern Rambler 327 service links Hemel Hempstead and Tring to Ashridge's Monument and Beacon, as well as the Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park on Sundays between May and September
By train: Tring Station is approx 1½ miles from the Bridgewater Monument
By road: The Ashridge Estate visitor centre is between Tring and Berkhamstead, 3 miles north of the A41, along the B4506 from Northchurch (to Ringshall and Dagnall). It can also be reached from the A489 from Dunstable
- There is plenty of parking at the visitor centre
- There are toilets at the visitor centre including one with disabled access
- There is a non-NT café with outdoor seating only, which is also accessible to wheelchairs
- Contact us