Exhibition and commemorative walk marks anniversary of battle to save Berkhamsted Common

A wintery Berkhamsted Common.
A wintery Berkhamsted Common.

An exhibition and commemorative walk at Ashridge is marking 150 years since the great battle to save Berkhamsted Common.

The display, which opened on Saturday, at Ashridge Visitor Centre is free and will run until March next year.

Lord Brownlow’s decision to enclose the Common for his own use was the trigger for the battle and, in the dead of night on March 6, 1866, a specially commissioned train brought carriages of East End hard men and labourers to Tring.

By moonlight they joined locals to tear down the 5ft iron fences and the common was reclaimed by the villagers.

It was a historic victory for ordinary people and saved the open space from being absorbed into the wealthy landowner’s private estate.

The anniversary exhibition is open daily from 10am to 4pm, while the walk runs from Dick’s Camp - the rural car park on the B4506, just south of the Aldbury turning - around the perimeter of the section of common that Lord Brownlow attempted to enclose.

Leaflets of the 6k and 3.5k routes can be picked up from the visitor centre.

Celebration of the anniversary has been welcomed by The Open Spaces Society, which helped organise the night-time uprising.

The common never closed again and, 60 years later in 1926, it was acquired by the National Trust, which was founded by the society in 1895.

Society general secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “We are delighted that the National Trust is celebrating this momentous victory.”