Outdoor activities at Ashridge Estate
Ashridge Estate has over 80 miles of pathways. Whether it’s a short stroll or the 17-mile boundary trail, cycle trails on two wheels or four legs on a horse ride, there are 5,000 acres to explore.
BBQs at Ashridge Estate
With the drier, hotter summers we are experiencing, the risk of serious fire at Ashridge Estate increases. In order to protect the ancient woodland and its wildlife, BBQs are no longer permitted anywhere on the estate. If you are bringing a picnic please remember to take all rubbish home with you. Litter left in the landscape not only presents a danger to wildlife but also creates a fire risk particularly during hot weather. Thank you for your cooperation and for helping to care for this special place.
Walking in the Ashridge countryside
There are over 80 miles of designated footpaths and bridle paths for walkers wishing to plan their own route. For those who want a simple waymarked route, the ancient tree-walk and the woodland walk both start and finish at the Bridgewater Monument.
There are the options of 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.
Cycling at Ashridge
There are over 30 miles of public bridleways to cycle on at Ashridge. You can either get an Ordnance Survey map before your visit, that will show all these routes, marked with a long green dash, or you can buy an Ashridge cycling map from the visitor centre for £3.99.
Family cycle route
If you're looking for a shorter ride, there is a four-mile route that is suitable for families. Taking you through woodland and commons, you'll see some of Ashridge's best landscapes as you pedal by. The route is marked with red waymarkers and starts near the café as you head down the hill.
The Chilterns Cycleway passes right through the estate past the visitor centre, shop and café. Find out more about the Chilterns Cycleway.
Stick to the path
Ashridge is visited by a wide variety of people so to ensure everyone has an enjoyable visit, please use only the designated bridle paths and marked cycle trails. Cycling off these paths can spoil other visitors’ enjoyment of the estate. It also causes erosion and ground compaction.
Please ride carefully and always give way to walkers and horse riders.
Horse riding at Ashridge
Ashridge is a great place to ride your horse. With over 30 miles of public and permitted bridleways, there are plenty of places to explore on a ride.
Find your way
There is also a permitted bridleway network covering a further 20 miles of paths. We have created a waterproof pocket-sized riding map which shows all the bridleways at Ashridge. Be sure to stop by the visitor centre shop during your next visit to pick up a copy.
Permits and day passes
We sell day permits priced at £8 (£6 for children).
If you would like more information about horse riding or would like to ride on our permitted bridleway network, please contact our visitor centre on 01442 851227.
School Groups at Ashridge Estate
For visiting Ashridge with schools, we can only offer led visits. Any visits by schools must book in with us prior to arriving.
Led school visits
Fraxini provide taught schools’ sessions at Ashridge. The sessions are run by experienced, DBS-checked, trained teachers and are suitable for all age groups. The activities are closely linked to the National Curriculum requirements for KS1 and KS2 but can be adjusted to work for secondary pupils too. Taught schools’ sessions at Ashridge are based at the Bunkhouse – we have a large classroom with space for storing lunches, coats and bags. There are toilets (including disabled facilities), a secure place for children to play outside, indoor and outdoor lunch areas, free tea and coffee at lunchtime for adults and parking for one coach.
-walk in the woods, hunt for minibeasts, build a den and make some transient natural art.
-look at the different colours of the woodland, make small and large transient natural artworks.
-learn about the trees at Ashridge, discover how old and how tall some trees are, look at flowers or seeds (depending on season).
-investigate woodland and grassland habitats, search for clues to the animals that live in each habitat.
-a half-day activity plotting coordinates on a map and then using the coordinates and map to find letters, pictures or puzzles (depending on age).
-we can plan days to suit you, mixing activities from various workshops or designing something new to match your topic or learning journey.
-walk in the woods and listen to a story, then look for minibeasts, make patterns with natural materials and build a den in our new EY area.
To find out more and book your trip, email us: email@example.com
Organised groups at Ashridge Estate
We have recently made changes to organised groups and events at Ashridge to help safeguard the future of the estate. These changes have been carefully considered as part of our Protecting Our Roots project to allow us to manage the careful balance of increased visitor numbers with the impact on nature.
For third-party organised events, we have altered event routes where possible, moved them to Dunstable Downs (another local property in our portfolio), or in some cases, we have had to decline requests. We have also halted our own programme of events since spring 2022 in order to reduce footfall to Ashridge as part of an interim impact mitigation decision.
All organised events must be discussed and booked in with us prior to arriving. Groups will be asked to provide relevant risk assessments and public liability insurance as well as a donation to the estate. To enquire about an event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions
For a number of years now we have been able to allow DofE groups and schools to use our sites carparks for drop-offs and pick-ups.
In light of the amount of DofE bookings we get at Ashridge Estate, we have made the decision to no longer allow drop-offs and pick-ups at Ashridge Estate. Monument Drive is designated SAC (Special Area of Conservation) as well as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and also part of a historic Design Landscape and we need to look at ways to reduce impact on the driveway and our other carparks. Ashridge Estate is still available for your expeditions but the routes must be kept to permitted footpaths.
For an alternative option, we have agreed to give use of our grass overflow carpark at Dunstable Downs for DofE and school groups to use.
We want all our visitors to enjoy their visit but we need to protect the landscape too. We don't allow open fires, barbecues, metal detectors, drones, quad bikes or scramblers anywhere on the estate. We also don't allow model aircraft to be flown unless you are a member of the Ivinghoe Soaring Association. By following these rules, we can keep everyone safe and keep Ashridge special for everyone.
We are looking at making changes to the infrastructure across the estate to help manage the careful balance of increased visitor numbers with the impact on nature. Read about the 'Protecting Our Roots' project and find out more about our vision for the future of Ashridge Estate.
Ashridge is a two pawprint rated place with over 80 miles of pathways. Find out more here.
Ashridge has over 80 miles of pathways 5,000 acres of woodland, from the windmill to Bridgewater Monument and panoramic views of the estate, there’s lots to explore at Ashridge Estate.
Discover the shop at Ashridge Estate. It’s through your purchases that we’re able to continue looking after Ashridge Estate for everyone, for ever.
The fallow deer are an integral part of the landscape at Ashridge and a much-loved feature of this historic estate. Find out about their history here and how we manage them.
Discover the volunteering roles currently available at Ashridge Estate, and how you can apply and get involved today.
Spectacular views of rolling chalk grasslands and a seemingly endless sky in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.