Thursday, April 2, 2015

We Are Open!

Today Ashdown House opens for the 2015 season! Opening hours are 2pm - 5pm every Wednesday and Saturday. The house is open by timed tour only at 2.15,3.15 and 4.15pm.

Here are a few of the highlights of a visit to this most unusual of NT properties (and yes we may be biased but we think it is fabulous!):

The Landscape. The Sarsen Field is the first thing you see on the left of the drive as you approach the car park. This is open to everyone to walk in and is a fascinating are of Special Scientific Interest where the huge, ancient sarsen stones lie amongst the grass as they have done for thousands of years. Legend says they are an army turned to stone by the magician Merlin.

High on the hill to the east is the weathercock. If you fancy a climb up onto the Downs this gives a
wonderful panoramic view of the park and the surrounding countryside.

The woodland dates back to when this was a medieval hunting ground and the deer still live here.
Landscaped in the 17th century, the woods are full of walks and glades where you can picnic and play and catch sight of the wildlife. The badgers have been digging up the area around the grand avenue for almost 1000 years! There are also hidden geocaches, a tree trail and our Pixie Path. In the fields behind the wood the Balleroy ponies graze.

To the west of the park lies Alfred's Castle, an Iron Age encampment. Smaller than Uffington and Liddington forts it nevertheless commands a wonderful view and at one time controlled the track south from the Ridgeway. Anglo Saxon weapons have been found here; legend states it was the place where King Alfred rallied his army before the Battle of Ashdown in 871 AD.

The house. A stunning 17th century hunting lodge, Ashdown is
well worth a view for the  architecture alone. Of the interior, only the hall, grand staircase and roof terrace of the house are open to visitors because the rooms are privately let. However the wonderful
guided tour weaves the story of Ashdown and its owners over the three hundred and fifty years since it was built. From Queens and cavaliers to Victorian servants, the characters come alive!

We hope to see you soon!

1 comment:

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

I love those Sarsen Stones, and each time I visit them I see Jays and Green Woodpeckers in the fields.