Ashridge is the Enchanted Forest in Maleficent

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

There’s something magical about the Ashridge estate, a beautiful patch of southern English countryside less than an hour from central London.

That’s why Disney chose it as the location for scenes in Maleficent, the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain, from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty.

'People think you can create almost any image with a computer these days, but we are not quite there just yet, and the successful combination of reality and fantasy in film making is an art form in itself. Maleficent is a celebration of that form, in which Ashridge Estate plays an integral part.' Said Bill Darby, Supervising Location Manager on Maleficent.

Ashridge becomes an enchanted forest

The Ashridge woodland with its otherworldly trees and abundance of wildlife, provided the real location for the Enchanted Forest, where Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie lives.

With a little help from computer wizardry and a generous helping of mischievous pixies and magical faery folk, Ashridge was transformed into a bewitching landscape.

Starring role supports conservation

'Ashridge was saved from development by a public appeal and donated to the National Trust in 1926, so it’s fitting that the story, which is about protecting an enchanted forest kingdom, was partly shot in the ancient woodland here, and that the fees from the shoot will be used to continue to care for this special place.'

'And while we can’t confirm we’ve seen any magical pixies and faeries in the woods, the estate is home to ancient trees, rare plants, butterflies, birds, insects and mammals including fallow and muntjac deer, all of which can be spotted and enjoyed on a day out at Ashridge.' Said Kirsten Proctor, the general manager at Ashridge.