Ashridge ancient trees walk

Walking trail

This route guides you through some of the woodland closest to the visitor centre and, by introducing you to some of our oldest residents, gives you the chance to see these well frequented areas in a new way.

A gentle walk through the woodlands

The walk can be done in two sections both beginning and ending at the visitor centre. The shorter section is covered by points 1-6 and is approximately 0.8 miles (1.3km). The remaining section from point 6 back to the visitor centre is approximately 1.2 miles (1.9km).

Bob's Oak at Ashridge, Herts


Map route for Ashridge ancient trees walk


Ashridge Estate visitor centre, grid ref: SP978125


This walk begins at our visitor centre. Facing the building, take the path to your left around the outside of the car park. At the corner of the car park you will find a wooden gate. Follow the well-surfaced path behind the gate as indicated by a bridleway sign. Continue to follow this path as it skirts around the outside of Meadley’s Meadow until you reach the far end.

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When you reach the bottom of the meadow you have a choice. You can continue around the edge of the meadow and pick up the walk at point 5 or take the longer route by turning into the woods following a rough track. As you walk into the woods the track will soon open out, and you will find yourself with an area of coppiced sweet chestnut to the left and piles of dead wood to your right. We leave deadwood and dead trees like this around the estate as they provide important habitats for animals and insects: owls and other smaller birds such as nuthatches and blue tits nest in rot holes, whilst woodpeckers excavate their own holes in rotten branches high in the canopy; bats roost in cracks in the bark or other vertical splits and crevices; and rotting wood is essential for many specialist insects including some which are internationally recognised as endangered species. Once you've had a look to see if you can see any interesting creatures in the deadwood continue along this path until you come to a crossroads.

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This crossroads is Five Cross Rides. 'Rides' are the wide paths which crisscross the area and which would have historically been the routes taken by the Bridgewaters as they travelled around their estate. This cross road is the junction of at least five rides, but if you look at the layout you might expect a sixth. Standing with your back to the path from which you've come, take the path immediately to your right which passes along an avenue of trees. Keep your eye out for a large Wellingtonia to your right (a large evergreen coniferous tree). This tree is particularly identifiable because of its beautiful bark.

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Just beyond the Wellingtonia turn right down a rough track into the woods. Follow this path as it weaves between the trees and veers right. This area has some giant sweet chestnuts which have been allowed to mature. They were planted for timber but the conditions have not been right for them and they are not good enough quality to be sold so they have been allowed to grow on. Continuing along this path you will soon begin to see the meadow through the trees. Walk towards it.

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At the junction with the path at the edge of the meadow ignore the stile ahead and follow the well-surfaced path left, around the outside of the meadow. When you come to a T-junction with another major path - beside a sign post for the mobility vehicles - turn right towards the visitor centre. When you arrive at the visitor centre you could break your walk with some refreshments at the café.

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Cross Monument Green and onto Duncombe Terrace which is a flat and well made path that goes into the woods beside the monument. There are stud posts at the beginning to keep vehicles out. After a few yards you will pass by a large map showing cycle routes. This first part of the path has some open sections most of which have been caused by the loss of a veteran tree. See how many trees are now competing to fill the space previously occupied by one. Continue down the path and over a low footbridge. After approximately 550yd (500m) you will pass an enclosed barrow on your left. This feature has been fenced to protect the archaeology of the barrow from compaction damage.

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On your left you will see the Victorian reproduction of an 18c shooting lodge. Just before you reach it turn right onto a grassy path known as Dell’s Ride. Before the Trust took over the estate, workers were sometimes given areas to maintain as a form of pension. This particular ride was maintained by Walter Dell who kept the grass and surrounding shrubs well-manicured. Follow Dell’s Ride, keeping right where the path is less distinct, until the track forks. This section can be particularly muddy in the winter.

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When the track forks keep right skirting the line of large evergreen Laurel bushes until a path appears on your right between two tree boxes.

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Turn right between the two trees protected wooden boxes and bear right when the path forks a little way on. Continue forward on this wide path, ignoring a track to the left labelled ‘5’ by an orienteering post, until you come to a shallow ditch.

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Cross the ditch and continue ahead until you come to a T-junction. Turn left and follow the path through a clearing ignoring paths to the left and right. When the path becomes enclosed again you will come to an old crab apple tree. Pass this tree and continue on the path until you come to a spot where five paths meet.


At the junction of five paths you will see two paths straight ahead. Take the left of these and continue along the path until you come to a large group of beech trees (one has been carved into many times over the years).

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Just beyond the beeches turn right down a narrow path which passes through a group of oaks.


The path will soon open into a clearing with a great oak stump from which you take the right hand path. Follow this path straight across a crossroads, pass a pond on your left and a second on your right to return to Monument Drive and the visitor centre.

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Ashridge Estate visitor centre, grid ref: SP978125

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Ashridge ancient trees walk


Mainly well trodden footpaths and surfaced tracks but some muddy and rutted sections.

Dogs are welcome but should be kept under close control at all times to avoid worrying wildlife.

Ashridge ancient trees walk

Contact us

Ashridge ancient trees walk

How to get here

Ashridge Estate, Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Berkhamsted, HP4 1LT
By train

Tring train station 1¾ miles (3km) - from the station you can take a taxi or walk uphill to the estate. Ivinghoe Beacon: Cheddington train station 3½ miles (5.8km).

By road

The entrance to Monument Drive and the Estate Visitor Centre is off the B4506 between Berkhamsted and Dagnall

By foot

The Ashridge Visitor Centre is a short detour from the Ridgeway footpath at Ivinghoe Beacon.

By bus

Buses stop close to the end of Monument Drive. Buses stop in Aldbury village which is a ½ mile (0.8km) uphill walk and also in Tring, which is a 3¾ mile ( 5.6km) walk.

By bicycle

The Ashridge Visitor Centre is close to the Chilterns Cycle Route and there are cycle stands at the centre.

Ashridge ancient trees walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilets and non NT café (outdoor seating only) can be found at the National Trust Visitor Centre
  • Dogs are welcome under close control