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Ashridge Forest, April
View from Bridgewater Monument to the house
Ashridge is an estate and house in Hertfordshiremarker, Englandmarker; part of the land stretches into Buckinghamshire and it is close to the Bedfordshire border. It is situated in the Chiltern Hillsmarker, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, about two miles (3 km) north of Berkhamstedmarker and twenty miles (32 km) north west of Londonmarker. Surrounding villages include Aldburymarker, Pitstonemarker, Ivinghoemarker, Little Gaddesdenmarker, Nettledenmarker, Frithsdenmarker and Potten Endmarker.

The estate comprises 20 square kilometres (5,000 acres) of woodlands (known as Ashridge Forest), commons and chalk downland which supports a rich variety of wildlife. It also offers a good choice of waymarked walks through outstanding country. The estate is currently owned by the National Trust.

It should not be confused with Asheridgemarker, which is a hamlet about five miles (8 km) south-west, the other side of Berkhamsted.

Ashridge Priory

In mediƦval times it was the location of an Ashridge Priorymarker founded in 1276 by the Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall, who had a palace here.

The Egerton Family

From 1604 to 1848 the estate was the property of the Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater (the Egerton family). The Bridgewater Monument was built in memory of the 3rd Duke, Francis Egerton, the "father of inland navigation" with a view to the Grand Union Canalmarker. The monument contains a narrow spiral staircase of 170 steps and is open to the public.

In 1848 the estate passed to the Earls Brownlow, another strand of the Egerton family, and then in 1921 it was split, with the land passing to the National Trust, while the house and garden was acquired by speculators. In 1928 Urban Hanlon Broughton purchased the house as a gift for the Conservative Party intended to commemorate Andrew Bonar Law.

Bridgewater Monument

The Bridgewater Monument
The Bridgewater Monument ( ) is a tower on the Ashridge estate, built in 1832 in memory of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, "the father of inland navigation". It is tall, with 170 steps inside, designed by Sir Jeffry Wyattville in a Doric style. It overlooks the village of Aldburymarker and the Grand Union Canalmarker.

It was built away from Ashridge House as his mother wanted "not to see or be reminded of my infernal son"

Ashridge Business School

In 1959 Ashridge College was re-launched to provide management training, and is now Ashridge Business Schoolmarker.

Use in Films

Ashridge Common has been featured many times in film and television series due to its distinction as an area of natural beauty. It was the location for the film Danny, the Champion of the World based on the book by Roald Dahl. Some of the Ashridge Estate have been used for filming parts of the Harry Potter films, including The Goblet of Fire. The Ashridge House, which is now Ashridge Business Schoolmarker has been featured in films such as The Dirty Dozen.

Golf Club

Part of the estate became Ashridge Golf Club in 1932, and had Henry Cotton as its club professional in the late 1930s, including his most successful year 1937.

Ashridge Commons and Woods

Ashridge Commons & Woods ( ) is a 640.1 hectare (1581.7 acre) Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. The site was notified in 1987 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and lies on the Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshiremarker border and is home to much semi-natural vegetation. As well as this, the site has extensive areas of woodland, grass and plantations. The site supports bird-breeding community which as both country and national different species of birds.

References

  1. Sanecki, K. A. pg 6
  2. Sanecki, K. A. pg 73
  3. Birtchnell P, A History of Berkhamsted, 1972, Clunberry Press


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