Ashridge Estate

Creating a genuinely sustainable rural idyll on an historic 320 acre woodland estate

The Ashridge Estate lies to the north of Dartmoor on undulating land of native woods and arable farming. Our clients moved from the home-counties to purchase the land in 2012. The building stock, grounds, and infrastructure were all suffering from a lack of investment since the early 20th century. The project brief developed through conversations about their goal to create a home and lively working estate that was both environmentally sound and economically viable. Daykin Marshall Studio prepared a feasibility study and phased masterplan to enhance commercial activities whilst slowly restoring the structures and biodiverse landscape.

A series of coordinated projects have delivered:
- Sustainable infrastructure so renewable power, resources and waste are ‘off-grid’
- New or converted agricultural barns, hard-landscaping and car parking for farming and logging business - Restoration of a magnificent Devonian long-barn into a rustic wedding venue and community space
- Conversion of derelict outbuildings into lettable holiday accommodation
- Landscaping and repair to re-establish a mature 19th century arboretum and walled garden
- The sustainable restoration and contemporary extension of the central estate manor house

Renewable technologies are subtly integrated to vastly reduce carbon emissions and retrofit the draughty old buildings for 21st century. The estate’s natural resources were harnessed to reduce the embodied energy of buildings materials - projects included reopening the original stone quarry just 500 yards from the house and extensive use of home-grown timber. To make a lasting difference a series of ecological initiatives have been undertaken with the local community to restore native woodland and encourage endangered species. The clients wanted to integrate with and bring growth to the local economy, so projects and contract structure prioritised local labour and enterprises with the creation of both short and long term employment.

The architectural centrepiece is the new ‘East Pavilion’ which links the manor house to the beautiful arboretum. The owners had lived a number of years in Japan and were inspired by the contrast of openness and shelter in traditional Minka houses. At Ashridge the pavilion shelters cooking, eating, and working under a protective roof lined in estate-grown spalted beech.

Architects Journal - Rural Issue - August 2022


Mark Marshall / James Daykin / Marta Llorens / Samantha Harrison / Ayla Riome