Aldbury Common is of the five commons found on the National Trust's Ashridge Estate. It covers some 99 hectares and is formed by two distinct but linked areas both overlooking Aldbury to the west. The Icknield Way and ancient holloways, pits and banks found on the common are evidence of thousands of years of human activity. As with neighbouring commons of Pitstone and Ivinghoe, Aldbury Common is linked to a village at the foot of the Chilterns scarp.
As part of the Ashridge Estate, Aldbury Common has wonderful potential for walking and there are some routes suitable for horseriders including a section of the Icknield Way which links the common to the Grand Union Canal. Runners can enjoy the extensive network of paths and trails and there are great views of Aldbury and the Aylesbury Vale to be had nearby. Car parking can be found at the National Trust visitor centre / tea rooms next to the nearby Bridgewater monument which has further information on all aspects of the common and wider estate. It is open daily from March to December.
Woodland that developed during the 20th century is the main habitat and look out for deer, bluebells and some ancient trees. There are hundreds of deer across the Ashridge Estate and they can usually be seen, particularly at dawn and dusk. The bluebells bring some springtime magic to the area especially amongst the ancient oak and beech in the southern part of the common. These trees are up to 300 hundred years old and surveys have suggested that this is one of the finest areas of wood pasture in National Trust ownership. This area is well worth a visit in the springtime when the birds are at their most active and plants such as wood sorrel, yellow archangel and the woodland violets can be found with the bluebells.
The common is dotted with ponds, many of which date back to when it was wood pasture and animals will have needed water to drink. In 2013 the Chilterns Commons Project funded a detailed pond survey by consultants to understand more about the species, some of them rare, which live in the ponds.
Car parking can be found at the National Trust visitor centre / tea rooms next to the nearby Bridgewater monument which has further information on all aspects of the common and wider estate. It is open daily from March to December.
There are references to seventeenth century brick making on what was then a very open common. However all evidence of this local industry have now gone. Grazing ceased in 1926 which led to the woodland growth that dominates the common nowadays.
There are only a few opportunities for people with limited mobility on the common. However the drive up to the Bridgewater monument is a notable exception on this part of the Ashridge estate. The Estate also has 2 promoted routes for easy access and self drive mobility scooters are available from the National Trust for these routes. Many of the wider network of paths and trails may be usable particularly in the drier months - contact the estate office or call in at the visitor centre (open daily from March to December) for further information.
There are still many registered commons rights for Aldbury. These are the entitlements that commoners had to graze livestock, dig for chalk and to gather wood, gorse and ferns and there are over 900 registered. Nowadays very few rights are exercised with the exception of some wood gathering.
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