Thursday, 15 August 2013

N For North

In the A - Z of Ashdown we are now at N. N is for the North Avenue, a mile long ride that cuts through both Hailey and Middle Woods and ends in a haha by an ancient holloway. The current design of the woods, with its avenues of trees,  rides and glades, was created in the 18th century. At that time picturesque little lodge buildings, now lost, were built halfway along the North Avenue to frame the view.

When the house was originally built the hunting forest was more thickly wooded and the rides were not as formalised. You can see a stylised version of what it looked like in this engraving by Kyp from the early 18th century. The North Avenue contains an ancient badger sett, at least 700 years old, and along the western edge of the wood are two oak trees dating from the 17th century.


White Horse Pilgrim said...

The view from the north, down that wonderful ride, is lovely. It makes me think of the view at Westonbirt, east from the woods that are now the national arboretum towards the old stately home, which is now a school. Perhaps Ashdown inspired others to build greater avenues?

Those avenues remind me too of Miklos Banffy's descriptions of riding out from a splendid manor house in Transylvania, perhaps just for pleasure or to hunt, occasionally in the moonlight for an assignation too. What fun one might have had as lord or lady. It just shows what a romantic place Ashdown House is. How such places stimulate the imagination!

Nicola Cornick said...

I'm so glad you like that view. It is splendid. Ashdown is indeed a very inspiring place!

I love that the rides and avenues were created simply for the pleasure of riding and enjoying being out in the woods.