Ashridge Estate
Ashridge Estate
A huge estate of mixed woodland and chalk downland on the edge of the Chiltern Hills. The estate is home to The Monument, erected in 1832 by the Duke of Bridgewater. The Ashridge Estate provides excellent rambling country, and there are very good views to be had.


The neo-Gothic mansion of Ashridge House was built by the 7th Earl of Bridgewayer in the early 19th century. The house was designed by James Wyatt, but when Wyatt died in 1813 it was completed by his nephew Jeffry Wyatt, later to become known as Sir Jeffry Wyattville. The result is one of the best examples of an early Gothic Revival building in England. The house incorporates parts of a 13th century priory that was torn down in 1800. The refectory undercroft survives; it is now a beer cellar.

One of the highlights at Ashridge is a Gothic Revival chapel designed by architect James Wyatt. The most striking feature of the chapel is its slender spire Unfortunately the spire we see today is a fibreglass replica, as the original was pulled down when it became structurally unsafe.

The house is now home to a business training college, and is only open to the public for occasional tours during the summer months.

Near the house is a 14th century Monk's Barn, set in a garden. The medieval barn was remodelled by Jeffry Wyattville in 1816, with the addition of a covered walkway.

The Bridgewater Monument

Often called simply 'The Monument', this neo-classical tower was built in memory of Francis Egerton, the 3rd Duke, who died in 1803. The Duke was known as 'the father of inland navigation' for his role in building canals. The Monument was designed by Jeffry Wyattville in Doric style, and stands 108 feet high. Visitors can climb 172 steps to a viewing platform, with excellent views over the Grand Union Canal and Aldbury village. The location is far from Ashridge House - and for good reason, for the Duke's mother is said to have remarked that she desired 'not to see or be reminded of my infernal son'.

Within the estate is Ashridge Woods and Commons, an area covering over 1500 acres of mixed woodland, plantations, and grassland on the borde of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The woodland is known for its annual display of bluebells, and the area has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The best way to enjoy the estate is on foot or bicycle. There are miles of footpaths and cycle trails, and the main National Trust visitor centre has maps and route details.