Planning your visit to Ashridge Estate

Iconic beech tree on Monument Green Ashridge Estate

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.

Visiting this autumn

The whole estate is open for visitors and there is no booking required to visit Ashridge. The visitor centre, shop and toilets are open daily from 10am-5pm (10am-4pm from 1 November). The Bridgewater Monument is now open at weekends and bank holidays from 11am-4pm until 31 October, weather permitting.

The Brownlow Café (not National Trust) is open Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm with an outdoor seating area for customers. Please note there is no refreshment offer on Mondays.

Car parking

There are very few surfaced car parking spaces on the estate. Monument Drive, leading to the visitor centre and Bridgewater Monument, has grass verge parking either side of the drive up to the visitor centre car park at the top. Half-way up the drive on the right is Barrack’s Square where this is some surfaced parking. There is no charge for parking but there are some car park donation points.

We have a number of smaller car parks dotted around the estate which are shown on the property map.

Please only park in designated parking areas. If any of our car parks are full, please return at another time and do not park on roadside verges as this can lead to road safety incidents and causes considerable damage to verge habitats.

Accessibility

We have two disabled parking zones, providing 12 spaces on site. One is located in the main car park by the visitor centre and the other is past the visitor centre, opposite the café. It’s easy to find - just follow the signs.

There’s also a disabled toilet at the visitor centre. To find it, go to the front of the building and go round the side to the left. You’ll find the disabled facilities next to the main toilet corridor. This toilet is not part of the radar scheme and is only accessible during opening hours.

There are several surfaced paths at Ashridge that are suitable for wheelchairs. This includes the Meadley’s Meadow track (0.8 miles) and Duncombe Terrace (2.5 miles).

If getting around is a challenge, we have a mobility vehicle service. Our single-seater scooters and two-seater golf buggies are available to borrow from April until the end of October, Mon-Sun between 12-4pm (last departure 3pm). Vehicles can be collected from just outside the visitor centre and can be borrowed for up to an hour, weather permitting. There is no charge, but we rely on donations to keep this service running. Due to limited availability, we do advise you to book in advance by calling the visitor centre on 01442 851227. We can’t take bookings on the day over the phone, by email or at the weekends.

 

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.


The footpaths at Ashridge can become very muddy after wet weather. This has led to the widening of paths and compacting of the ground which impacts on wildflowers and trees. Please make sure you bring sturdy footwear or wellies 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

Picnics

We have lots of lovely spots which are great for a picnic. Why not pack a hamper and join us?

Monument Drive

If you don't want to walk far, park up on Monument Drive and have a picnic nearby. It is also the only spot that we allow barbecues if you want to do some cooking. 

Monument Green

Head towards the Bridgewater Monument for a central spot close to our visitor centre. Please note that barbecues, gazebos and pop-up tents are not permitted in this area.

Meadleys Meadow

Make your way to our meadow, behind the visitor centre where there’s lots of open space for family games, large groups and room to spread out your picnic blanket. Please note barbecues are not permitted in this area.

Explore further

With over 5000 acres of countryside there are lots of other great places for picnics on the estate. Pop into the visitor centre to find out where else is a good place to go.

Groups and parties

All groups and parties of more than 30 people need to contact the visitor centre to gain permission for their event. Please call the visitor centre on 01442 851227 for more information. 

Litter

There are no litter bins onsite so we ask you to please take all of your litter home with you to keep Ashridge special for everyone.

Barbecues

We want everyone to have an enjoyable time at Ashridge. In the summer our visitors like to have a barbecue when the weather is fine. Please follow a few simple rules when planning your barbecue to keep yourself and the landscape safe.



Where are barbecues allowed?

Barbecues are only allowed along Monument Drive between the road and the treeline. Please make sure they are far away from trees and you don’t leave them unattended. Barbecues are not permitted in Meadleys Meadow, behind the visitor centre, or on Monument Green where the Bridgewater Monument stands.

Which type of barbecue can I bring?

We only allow non-disposable barbecues and they must be raised off the ground. Disposable barbecues are an extreme fire hazard. If you are planning a barbecue, please bring plenty of water to extinguish if necessary.

For more information about BBQs please ask at the visitor centre.

Ivinghoe Beacon

The chalk grassland on the Ivinghoe Hills is home to an incredibly rich and diverse range of plant and insect life. 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 currently doing some essential erosion repair work to help this important site recover. Please keep to the designated paths and follow diversion signs.