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Ashridge Autumn Colour Trail
1. With the visitor centre in front of you, turn left and walk round the back of the car park and pass through the gate. Follow the path alongside the meadow.
2. Continue straight on into the woods. The path bears slightly to the left until you reach Five Ways – the intersection of five paths.
3. Continue straight ahead as the path bears slightly to the right. You should soon be able to see open fields through the trees. These are the old dairy fields and frequently contain livestock as well as fallow deer so please keep dogs on leads. The footpath comes very close to the corner of the field but be sure to continue straight ahead on the main track.
4. Before you reach the road from Aldbury, you will come to a crossroads where you will see a number of waymarkers. Take the track to your left following the footpath signs into mixed woodland. You’ll soon hear and see the traffic on the B4506 through the trees. Before reaching the road you will pass a large pit and an enormous ancient beech tree at the field edge to your left. Read more ...
5. Take care as you cross the B4506 – cars pass by very fast. On the other side you will find yourself in a small National Trust car park. There are several paths at the back of this car park, two of which are clearly visible. Take the path called Lady’s Walk, close to the National Trust sign. The left-hand side of the path is flanked by a large boundary embankment, on top of which are a number of ancient beech trees. To your right you will see a group of veteran sweet chestnuts and several pits. Please stay on the footpath and do not climb the bank as it is a delicate archaeological feature which is being worn away by people walking on it! Approximately 330yd (300m) further on you will begin to see a field ahead and to the left – as you walk, keep the field to your left.
6. Soon, you will notice that several paths converge. Take the path straight ahead which is flanked by an avenue of silver birches. The path then veers to the right and there’s a slight incline. When it then curves to the left, you’ll be able to see the outline of Woodyard Cottage through the trees. Continue straight ahead, the cottages on your left, and turn right onto a well-surfaced track all the way to Great Coldharbour Farm.
7. In front of the farm is a crossroads with way markers. Turn left onto the well-trodden path and at the fork in the road, turn left. Follow this path until you see an open field ahead – this is part of Berkhamsted Common. On entering the field, turn left.
8. Continue along the field edge, ignoring several paths to the left, until you reach the corner of the field where you should find a bridleway signpost set back from the main path. Follow the path straight ahead and away from the field and through the woodland until you reach College Road in front of Ashridge House. Cross the road and continue straight ahead, up hill on a surfaced path marked ‘Private road, no vehicular access’. Keep on following the permissive bridleway sign towards Little Gaddesden. As the road reaches Roddinghead House, it divides in two – keep left alongside the house. The path soon blends into a narrow bridleway with a large field visible over the hedge to the right – this is the South Park.
9. Leave this narrow bridleway through a kissing gate; please remember to keep your dog on a lead in this area as there is cattle and other livestock grazing here. Follow the track down the field keeping the boundary of Ashridge Management College on your left. There are many beautiful mature trees inside the boundary and you will catch glimpses of the house itself through the branches. At the far side of the field pass through the gate and continue straight ahead following a bridleway sign into Golden Valley.
10. Cross the track which dissects the valley from left to right, following the line of the valley itself. Continue as the path rises until you reach a tarmac road.
11. Cross the road by the Ashridge Estate boundary trail sign and follow the track which is on a slight incline. There is a bridleway sign hidden in the grass at the top right-hand side of this little path. You now have an open field in front of you with a golf green below. Turn left and skirt the edge of the field.
12. When you reach the top corner of the field you will find yourself at the edge of the great lawn, which is covered in golf flags. Turn right and walk straight ahead with the trees to your right. Continue to follow the path through the clearing until you reach a bunch of ancient sweet chestnuts. Past these, you’ll see the railing of the golf course to your left. Keep walking and you’ll soon see the sign for the National Trust Visitor Centre and Bridgewater Monument which you should follow.
13. Turn left onto Prince’s Riding and walk towards the monument which you can see in the distance. Don’t forget to look behind you to see Ashridge House framed by beautiful autumn colours. You will need to cross two roads, so take care, before reaching the visitor centre where the trail ends.
Carpark: Penncroft Car Park, 5 Burkes Rd, Beaconsfield HP9 1PB
Carpark: National Trust, Ashridge Estate, Moneybury Hill, Ringshall, Berkhamsted HP4 1LT
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