Planning your visit to Ashridge Estate

Golden Valley in the spring at Ashridge, Herts

We are seeing very high number of visitors at Ashridge Estate, as we have throughout the last year, so please be patient, and follow the signs and instructions from our staff and volunteers.

We are following Government guidance to ensure social distancing and keep staff, volunteers, and visitors safe. If our car park becomes full, the gates will be closed and we'll ask you to return when it's quieter. Please respect our local communities and do not park on verges, local roads or yellow lines. 

Visiting in summer

The whole estate remains open for local visitors to access fresh air and open space. The Brownlow Café (not NT) is open for takeaway Tuesday to Sunday. Please note there is no refreshment offer on Mondays. At peak times our car parks are often full by mid-morning and we may need to turn you away.

Thank you for helping us remain open safely by following Government guidance and staying local.

Please note that our mobility vehicles are available, please enquire at the Visitor Centre on the day. We're unable to take advanced bookings at the moment. We will update this page when we have more information.

Car parking on Monument Drive

Monument Drive, at the heart of Ashridge, continues to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, most of whom arrive by car. There are very few surfaced car parking spaces. Most visitors park on the grass verges either side of the Drive which gives rise to serious problems during the winter and early spring.

The most obvious problem is the damage to the verges themselves – people stuck in ruts, and wheels churning in the mud is a common sight in wet weather. When you combine this year’s wet autumn with increased visitor numbers, as more people seek outdoor spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic, large parts of Monument Drive are no longer usable.

Where possible we ask that you avoid coming to Ashridge by car and visit outside of peak times. If the car park is full please come back another day. If you can visit midweek, rather than at weekends, please do so.

There are many reasons we ask people to make sure they use designated parking areas and avoid parking on roadside verges. These include road safety, protecting tree roots from damage, protecting rare wildflowers on banks and verges, preventing damage to roadside verges, being considerate to our neighbours and ensuring emergency access routes are kept open.  

Other car parks at Ashridge

We have over 20 authorised parking areas at Ashridge. With limited space available on Monument Drive we expect these to also become very busy. 

With the increase in visitors over the last year we have seen a large amount of overflow from these smaller car parks causing considerable damage to roadside verges and some serious road safety incidents. If the car park is full please come back later. We have closed Dick’s Camp on the B4506 due to very wet ground conditions and anti-social behaviour.  

Exploring Ashridge Estate

You can get the most out of Ashridge on foot. Whether you’re tackling our popular 17-mile boundary trail or just taking a stroll along Duncombe Terrace, our estate is a place of space, fresh air and freedom. There are four waymarked walks for you to follow during your visit. Taking in different parts of the estate, they range from a one-mile family stroll to a heart-pumping eight-mile hike for those who love nature. 

The footpaths at Ashridge are very muddy due to the wet clay soils and the paths are becoming wider as people try to avoid the worst of the mud. The result is compacted ground and plants, wildflowers and trees struggling. Please make sure you bring sturdy footwear or wellies with you so that you can stick to the designated footpaths.

Come prepared for muddy paths
Children in wellies walking on a muddy path
Come prepared for muddy paths

Ivinghoe Beacon

The chalk grassland on the Ivinghoe Hills is home to an incredibly rich and diverse range of plant and insect life. In summer the air is filled with the aromatic scent of the many colourful wildflowers, and bees and butterflies abound. This is an ancient landscape, where people lived during the Iron Age, some of whom were buried in the barrows that are dotted across the hilltops.

Unfortunately, the thin chalk soils of this landscape are also very fragile. In wet weather the chalk is very slippery and the grass is easily worn away, putting some of the rarest flowers at risk. Once the bare chalk is exposed it can take decades to recover the rare chalk grassland habitat.

We are increasingly concerned about the erosion taking place during the wet autumn and winter weather. Please keep to the designated paths and follow diversion signs. If the car park is full please come back another time.