Ashridge Estate car parking FAQs

Monument Drive at Ashridge, Hertfordshire

We have spent some time exploring options in this challenging site. We are still in the feasibility stages, but we’d like to provide you with as much information as we can. Here are some answers to common questions about the Ashridge Estate car parking project. We’ll update these FAQs as more information becomes available.

Why do you want to create new parking arrangements at Ashridge?

We need to protect the estate and create a better experience for visitors. The current facilities are inadequate for the number of visitors and cars are causing damage to trees and verges.

What are the options?

Because Ashirdge is so special, it is highly designated in terms of ecology, heritage and landscape. This places significant restrictions upon what we are able to achieve.

To date we have explored a wide range of options across the Estate, including pocket car parks in the woodland. Consultation with Natural England as revealed that this latter option would not be acceptable because the woodland surrounding Monument Drive is designated a Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) under European law.

We are now reviewing what can be done to formalise parking arrangements along Monument Drive. Our aim is to create the most sympathetic, appropriate surfaced car parking scheme for our visitors, at this important and much-loved site.

How many spaces do you need?

Based on data from car counters and visitor surveys, there are on average 300-450 cars parked at Monument Drive on weekends between spring and autumn. This can reach over 600 cars on very popular weekends.

There are currently around 200 spaces in existing surfaced car parks, which we intend to retain. We are investigating how best to accommodate additional vehicles, including provision of temporary overflow parking on peak days.

Will we still be able to park and picnic?

We’re very keen to ensure that people enjoy Ashridge as they always have, with access to grassed areas to put up chairs and picnic tables.

We're looking into ways to change our parking
Girl sitting in a car boot at Ashridge, Herts
We're looking into ways to change our parking

Will you introduce pay and display?

Members of the National Trust will not have to pay to park at Ashridge. From Spring 2019, a member of staff will be present on Monument Drive at weekends, inviting visitors to provide a donation towards their visit.

Once we better understand what can be achieved in terms of formalising parking arrangements, we will explore the possibility of pay and display machines. Due to the complexities of the site, it will take some time to determine if pay and display is a viable option.

Why do you need to raise income?

Increasing visitor numbers mean that the money we spend on path maintenance, litter clearance, car park repairs, visitor facilities and dog bins is continually rising. We also need to raise additional funds to increase the core conservation work in the countryside we care for.

How much will it cost to park?

From spring 2019 non-National Trust members, will be asked to donate a small sum to help cover the cost of their visit.

When in place, fees will be in line with that of similar locations in the area. There will be a short-stay and all-day parking charge.

Who will have to pay?

National Trust members, active National Trust volunteers and blue badge holders will not have to pay for parking. Pre-booked coaches bringing children for an educational visit and annual riding permit holders won’t have to pay to park. Other users will be asked to contribute.

I thought the National Trust was encouraging people to get outdoors?

We are keen to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors. However we also have a responsibility to protect what we look after and we need to ensure we have the funds available to do so.

How do I take out membership?

You can join the National Trust at Ashridge. Just pop into the visitor centre and ask any member of staff. It’s open from 10am – 4pm daily in the winter months and to 5pm in summer.

If you join at Ashridge, your first year’s membership fee stays at Ashridge so it’s a great way to support your local property.

How do I make my views known?

Please send your comments or questions to our project manager jennifer.ponsford@nationaltrust.org.uk