Ashford is a suburban town almost entirely in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, but with a small section lying within the London Borough of Hounslow, England. Mostly residential, Ashford is WSW of Charing Cross, London, forms part of the London commuter belt, with a minor stop on the Waterloo to Reading Line (which has two branch lines) and has a long commercial high street. It is centred south of London Heathrow Airport, to which a portion of its economy relates, including business premises relating to aviation and the distribution of air freight – the main cargo depot being next to an adjoining village, Stanwell.
Sometimes referred to as Ashford, Middlesex to distinguish it from the larger town of Ashford, Kent, since 1965 when Middlesex County Council was dissolved the town's wards are officially in Ashford, Surrey and for example the current railway services provider uses the present or past county variously throughout its stations and trains. A leading gymnastics club, HMP Bronzefield and one of the sites of Brooklands College are in the town. Ashford Hospital is narrowly within Stanwell and began as Ashford's workhouse. Ashford Common has a parade of shops and is a more residential ward that includes part of the Queen Mary Reservoir and all of its related water treatment works, which is contiguous with and subsidiary to the town itself.
Ashford consists of relatively low density low and medium rise buildings, with none being high rise. If excluding apartments (at the last census 27% of the housing stock) most houses are semi-detached. Ashford is defined along its northern edge by a dual carriageway and extends no more than 400m beyond another parallel to the southern boundary. It centrally includes a short section of another and has a driving test centre. Junctions of the UK's motorway network are and from its borders and it has along the two main dual carriageways official dealers of Ford, Citroën and Suzuki.
On two of the eight chief compass points the town is buffered by green space which covers just over and includes The Princes Club, Bedfont Lakes and Shortwood Common.
Bronze Age artifacts have been found in Ashford (at 51.432708N, 0.485174W) giving rise to the name Bronzefield and a henge may have been present in that period. The settlement as indicated by its name but small assets just after the Norman Conquest was part agricultural settlement in Saxon times.
Ashford appears on the Middlesex Domesday map as Exeforde held by Robert, Count of Mortain. Its Domesday Assets were: 1 plough, meadow for 1 plough; a separate manor in 1066, it was part of the manor of Kempton in 1086. It rendered (in total): 14s 0d. Throughout the early medieval period the place was also referred to as Echelford.
A stone bridge was built over the ford in 1789 by the Hampton and Staines Turnpike Trust, part of which is used as the rather scenic Fordbridge roundabout with its large weeping willow trees at the centre.
Ashford Common the large area of common land in the south and east of the town was sold (enclosed) in 1809, before which this was a favourite ground with George III for the forces to put on military displays.
While Ashford Manor Golf Club was established in 1902 at the property which was the Manor Farm House the actual large manorial estate and manor house that was held by Solomon Abraham Hart from 1870 to 1882 had, before 1902 been broken up among many small owners and all trace of the manor house became lost.However the title of lord of the manor was acquired by Scott Freeman in 1890 and after passing to another partner of the solicitors Horne, Engall Freeman came in more recent times to Russell Grant.
In 1894, under the Local Government Act 1894, Ashford became part of the Staines Rural District of Middlesex. In 1930 the rural district was abolished to join Staines Urban District. In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963, Middlesex County Council was abolished and the urban district was transferred to Surrey. In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Staines Urban District was abolished and its area combined with that of Sunbury-on-Thames Urban District to create the present-day borough of Spelthorne.