The historic 850 acre Ashton Court Estate is a firm favourite with Bristolians. It is just 10 minutes from the centre of Bristol and is a marvellous place to relax or enjoy woodland walks, golf or mountain biking. Nature lovers can enjoy watching herds of red and fallow deer, spotting the large oak trees, rare beetles or wild flowers. It is also home to the world famous balloon festival and in a normal year you can enjoy watching over a hundred balloons take off or see the magical night glow when the pilots light their burners in time to music.
In England after several months of lockdown we are slowly emerging from our homes into the new normal. under current guidelines six people are allowed to meet up outdoors provided the correct social distancing guidelines are observed. On Thursday six members of our walk in the past walking group met at the Clifton Suspension Bridge visitor centre and walked the short distance to Ashton Court Estate.
History of the mansion
Its origins are probably Saxon but the grade 1 listed mansion is something of an architectural puzzle. Centuries of development have seen the house partially demolished, rebuilt and added to. In 1545 the house was bought by John Smyth a wealthy merchant and unusually the estate was owned by the same family until they were forced to sell it to Bristol City Council in 1959 to pay off death duties.There are the usual tales of family feuds, buried treasure and dubious heirs claiming the estate. During the first world war the house was used as a hospital for wounded officers including the writer C. S. Lewis and during the second world war it was used as a transit camp for soldiers on their way to France.
Now it is recognised by English heritage as being in slow decay and its future hangs in the balance.
The formal grounds of Ashton Court were designed by Sir Humphrey Repton
Landed aristocrats wanted to recreate Italian landscapes they had seen on the grand tour or in landscape paintings. The flower gardens by the house are well maintained. OtherFeatures to look out for include an ice house and a pet cemetery.
There are two herds of deer with about 110 fallow deer and about 90 red deer which have the run of about 200 acres.
Information for visitors
Ashton Court Estate, Long Aston Bristol BS41 9JN
Ashton Court Estate is normally free to enter unless a special event is running. It is open throughout the year from 8 A.M. to dusk. Parking costs £1.20 all day and tickets can be used in any of the three car parks.
Facilities include two pay and play golf courses, with disc golf and foot golf, deer parks, a miniature railway (check running times) and trails for mountain biking and park runs.
Note: There is very limited disabled access because of the slopes.
Click here for more information.