Walk 160: The Ashridge Estate….an avoid the usual crowds walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2.5 miles (4.02km)

Time to walk: A leisurely stroll of around an hour

Difficulty: All on forest tracks. Some of the smaller tracks could become muddy after rain. This route leaves the main busier tracks & would not be suitable in wet weather for buggies or wheelchairs. The Estate does have accessibility / disability tracks

Parking: Parking at the monument – free to National Trust members

Public toilets: At the monument. 

Map of the route:

Ashridge is a country estate & stately home in the Chiltern Hills, roughly two miles north of Berkhamsted. The estate itself covers 5000 acres, mainly of Ashridge Forest & is owned by the National Trust. Some of the views are simply stunning

In medieval times there was a monastery on the estate but in 1604 it passed into the Egerton family & the title of 1st Earl of Bridgewater was created. The present house was completed in 1814. The family always allowed the locals to walk the estate

In 1921 the estate was split with the National Trust owning the land & the house, passing through many hands & finally becoming a business school

Today’s walk is only short, but there are several much longer trails on the estate, including a boundary walk. There’s also an excellent cafe here, but we understand it’s closing

We had Sunday lunch waiting for us so…

Let’s Walk!

1. This walk starts at the impressive Bridgewater monument. Standing 108 feet high, it has 172 steps. It’s open some days in the summer & rewards you with fine views of the surrounding countryside

Walk to the right of the monument & turn right onto the wide path that’s marked ‘Mobility Track’

2. The trees along here immediately give you an idea of the beauty of the forest…

Shortly ahead you’ll see some larger trees & a small bridge…

DO NOT pass these trees, instead turn right along a smaller, less distinctive path

3. After a short distance this small track arrives at a wide t-junction. Turn right here down a wider track…

This is a very quiet, away from the crowds route that you’re following so expect to have the forest to yourself. At the next junction, ignore all the other paths & continue straight ahead…

4. Just keep heading straight…this really is beautiful walk…

…until you meet the road…

5. Turn right along the road for about 25 yards, passing the main entrance into the estate & then turn right along the marked path into the woods once more

6. Now we’re back in the woods this is stunning walking once more…

Keep going in a straight direction until reaching a point where several paths meet together. The path isn’t obvious, but turn left here in the direction of the arrow…

7. Again…it’s unlikely you’ll see anyone else on this path &, if you look to the sides, there’s evidence that this might once have been an old pathway. Eventually it arrives at an open area

Now turn right along the broader path…

8. You’ll shortly reach a large junction. Don’t panic…continue ahead slightly diagonally left

Again this is a wonderful path of trees

9. After a few hundred yards you’ll arrive at a cottage…

Walk through the gate & turn right until arriving at the junction below…

10. The path of this walk’s now extremely easy to follow as it’s dead straight…

As you walk along this path just keep looking to your left as the views across the valley are amazing & you don’t realise how high up you are…

11. Eventually the path arrives back at the car park, the cafe & the start of this walk…

So that’s the end of this stunning short walk. Yes…you can follow the crowds around the Ashridge Estate, or do like we did, & get away from it all

Definitely…..

Go Walk!