Follow in the footsteps of evil film character in huge and beautiful countryside estate

Scary: Angelina Jolie in Maleficent
Scary: Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

Summer is the time most likely to bring out the inner child in us and the people at Ashridge believe you’re never too old to come out and play.

At the beautiful countryside estate in the Chilterns, there are numerous opportunities for families to get outdoors and closer to nature this summer.

There’s the Maleficent trail for starters. Disney chose magical Ashridge as the real location for scenes in their new computer-enhanced film Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie.

The film tells the previously untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty.

The Ashridge woodland with its other-worldly trees and abundance of wildlife provided the real location for the Enchanted Forest, where Maleficent lives.

This summer families can explore Ashridge with Maleficent’s Enchanted Forest Trail.

Inspired by the nature-loving fairy folk from the film, the Maleficent trail reveals the wildlife that calls Ashridge home, including rare butterflies and songbirds, fungi and mini-beasts.

You can also make your own set of Maleficent horns in the Visitor Centre before you head out on your trail and enter a colouring competition to be in with a chance of winning a prize.

Trails cost £1 per child, with every penny going towards managing this special place.

You can get closer to nature at the Wild about Ashridge Club every Wednesday and Friday during the school holidays from 10.30am to 3pm.

It will host outdoor fun adventures, whatever the weather with the National Trust team that manages Ashridge.

The club will be based near the Bridgewater Monument, which is also a perfect spot for picnics and the Wild Wood Den where kids (and adults) can scramble over logs, scale tree trunks and let their imaginations run wild.

The National Trust has also come up with a list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 and three-quarters: things we all did as children such as climbing a tree, building a den and flying a kite.

There are loads of things on the list that you can do at Ashridge so pick up a scrap book when you visit and see how many activities you can tick off.

For more information, contact the Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre on 01442 851227 or