National Trust locations star in Disney’s Maleficent

More than 50 years after the release of Sleeping Beauty, Disney is continuing the story with Maleficent, a live action feature film starring Angelina Jolie as Disney’s all time most popular villain and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora.

Released in cinemas on Wednesday 28th May the film was shot in the UK with two National Trust locations taking a starring role.

Petworth Park in West Sussex, which has 600 acres of grassland and rolling hills, scattered with ancient trees and tracks provided the real location for Maleficent’s Moors.

King Stefan's Castle

CGI re-imagining of Petworth Park and the Ashridge Estate

While the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire with its 5,000 acres of beech and oak woodland, commons and chalk downland doubled up as Maleficent’s beloved Enchanted Forest.

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie)

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) on set at Ashridge

Bill Darby, Supervising Location Manager on Maleficent recalls the shoot,

“The National Trust cares for some of the most diverse landscapes in the UK, so they’re an obvious first port of call when you’re scouting for stunning locations. “

“People think you can create almost any image with a computer these days, but we are not quite there just yet, and the successful combination of reality and fantasy in film making is an art form in itself. Maleficent is a celebration of that form, in which both Ashridge Estate and Petworth Park play an integral part.”

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) at the Ashridge Estate, with some computer wizardry

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and Aurora (Elle Fanning) at the Ashridge Estate, with some computer wizardry

Kirsten Proctor, General Manager at Ashridge comments,

“Ashridge was saved from development by a public appeal and donated to the National Trust in 1926, so it’s fitting that the story, which is about protecting an enchanted forest kingdom, was partly shot in the ancient woodland here, and that the fees from the shoot will be used to continue to care for this special place.”

“And while we can’t confirm we’ve seen any magical pixies and faeries in the woods, the estate is home to ancient trees, rare plants, butterflies, birds, insects and mammals including Fallow and Muntjac deer, all of which can be spotted and enjoyed on our special Maleficent-themed trail for families this summer.”

The Enchanted Forest Trail at Ashridge is available every day until 31st August and costs £1 per child, with everypenny going straight back into protecting and opening up this special place.

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