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Ashbourne, Derbyshire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Market Hall, Buxton Road
Location within Derbyshire
Population7,112 (Parish, 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSK1846
Civil parish
  • Ashbourne
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtDE6
Dialling code01335
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
53°00′58″N 1°43′52″W / 53.016°N 1.731°W / 53.016; -1.731Coordinates: 53°00′58″N 1°43′52″W / 53.016°N 1.731°W / 53.016; -1.731
Former Nestlé creamery circa 2006, before demolition
Former Nestlé creamery circa 2006, before demolition

Ashbourne is a market town in the Derbyshire Dales, England. It has a population of 7,112. It contains many historical buildings and many independent shops and is famous for its historic annual Shrovetide football match.

Due to its proximity to the southern edge of the Peak District and being the closest town to the popular area of Dovedale, the town is known as both the 'Gateway to Dovedale' and the 'Gateway to the Peak District'.


Ashbourne is a market town and was granted a market charter in 1257.[2]

In medieval times Ashbourne was a frequent rest stop for pilgrims walking 'St Non's Way' to the shrine at Dunstable in Bedfordshire.

The forces of Charles Edward Stuart passed through Ashbourne during the Jacobite rising of 1745.[3]


Ashbourne Town Council is made up of four wards, Belle Vue, Hilltop, Parkside and St Oswald's, represented by 13 councillors in total. It is based in the town hall on the Market Place.


Ashbourne is located at 53°01′N 01°44′W / 53.017°N 1.733°W / 53.017; -1.733. Ashbourne Green and Sturston are hamlets close by. Henmore Brook, a tributary of the River Dove, flows through the middle of the town. The town is at an elevation of 400 feet (122 m).[4]


Ashbourne has a population of 8,377 according to a 2011 census.[5]


From 1910, Nestlé had a creamery in the town, which for a period was contracted to produce Carnation condensed milk. The factory had its own private sidings connected to the railway station goods yard, which allowed milk trains to access the facility, and distribute product as far south as London. After milk trains ceased in 1965, the railway track was lifted and the railway station fully closed. The factory closed in 2003, and since demolition in 2006, has been redeveloped as housing and a light industrial estate, although the old loading ramp from street level up to the factory floor is still in situ.

Water from a borehole on the site was first marketed as Ashbourne Water in 1975, and was sold mostly to the catering trade.[6] Nestlé retained the borehole after the factory shut, taking water by tanker to Buxton for bottling.[6] Declining sales (1.3 million bottles in 2005, compared to 90M for Buxton water) meant that they could not justify further investment and the brand was discontinued in 2006.[6]

Tourism is an important element of the local economy, stemming from the town's proximity to Dovedale and the Peak District. The Tourist Information Centre was threatened with closure in 2011,[7] but as of January 2018 a Visitor Information Centre was available in the Town Hall.[8]

Culture and community

The cobbled market place hosts a traditional outdoor market every Thursday and Saturday throughout the year, complementing the wide range of individual shops in the town. Although its market heritage is important, it came under threat of closure from Derbyshire County Council in November 2012. The people of Ashbourne have opposed any such moves by the council and started an online petition. Ashbourne became the 97th Fairtrade Town in March 2005 after many businesses, cafes, shops and community organisations started supporting Fairtrade.[9]

Ashbourne Shire Horse Society and Ashbourne Show

According to the Ashbourne Show website:[10]

In 1881, four gentlemen founded a society, with the aim of improving the standard of Shire horses in the Ashbourne area. Originally known as the Ashbourne Cart Horse Society, later that year, they held their first a show on the Paddock, at Ashbourne. This was so successful, it was determined by public meeting to put the show on a permanent basis and apart from a few years lost to war and foot-and-mouth, an annual show has been held ever since. In 1888, the title Ashbourne Shire Horse Society was adopted and royal patronage was granted in 1899 by King Edward VII, who was President in 1901. Shrovetide Football although much older, did not become royal till 1928. Although there have been ups and downs over the years, the ambition of the founders has been fully justified. It has grown, changed and evolved, with cattle introduced in 1925 and sheep in 1957. Other sections have also been added, so that it has become the modern Ashbourne Show, now presented by the Ashbourne Shire Horse Society. However, what has not changed is the aim and ambition to produce a show for the encouragement of excellence in agriculture and animal husbandry and for the information education and entertainment of the local community and the visitors to the area each August.


Ashbourne has a large number of public houses for such a small town centre. There are currently eleven pubs trading, as well as two social clubs. However, the town's most famous establishment, the Green Man & Black's Head Royal Hotel, closed in 2011 and underwent a change of ownership in 2013. Part of it is being redeveloped into retail units and a bistro, and some of the hotel bedrooms are being restored but, as of May 2018, plans are also afoot to restore a pub function to the complex. The famous and rare 'gallows' sign across St John's Street does, however, remains a focal meeting point in the town. Local historians have noted that almost one in four buildings[citation needed] in the town have at one time or another been an alehouse, pub or inn or were redeveloped on the site of such an establishment.


The Tissington Trail, a popular recreational walk and cycle path, starts at Mappleton Lane on the northern outskirts of town, accessed by a large Victorian tunnel about 380 yards long running from the former railway station site in the town, and follows the course of the former Ashbourne to Buxton railway, running from what was Ashbourne railway station through the village of Tissington and joining the High Peak Trail (the old Cromford and High Peak Railway) at Parsley Hay.

Construction of the Ashbourne to Buxton line commenced in 1896[11] and passenger services started to Buxton in August 1899 following the building of a joint railway station to serve both LNWR and NSR lines. The line closed to regular passenger traffic in 1954, and all services on the Ashbourne–Parsley Hay section, including excursion traffic, ceased in 1963. The line continued down the Dove to Rocester near Uttoxeter where it joined the main North Staffordshire Railway. This southern link had previously opened in 1852[12] and in 1867 LNWR gained power to run over the line. It also closed to passengers in 1954, finishing completely in the early 1960s.

St. Oswald's Church
St. Oswald's Church

Today, the nearest active railway station is Uttoxeter which is 12 miles away on the Crewe-Derby Line and Derby which is 13 miles away. There is also regular buses from Derby to Uttoxeter which run at half hour intervals. There are also buses to Matlock, Leek, Buxton, Nottingham and Wirksworth. There is also one bus a day to Burton which runs from Ashbourne at 9.13am and runs via Tutbury and Rolleston-on-Dove. It then has an afternoon return service back to Ashbourne at 15.12pm.

The Limestone Way does not enter the town but passes around it some 2 to 3 miles away, going through Tissington, Thorpe, Marten Hill and above Mayfield on its way to Rocester.[13][14][15] Although there is no formal link to the Limestone Way from Ashbourne, there are a number of routes that walkers from the town could use to join up with the way.


The main secondary school is Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, founded in 1585. It moved to its current site on the Green Road in 1909, and took over Ashbourne County Secondary School in 1973.

Religious sites

The 215 ft (66 m) spire of St Oswald's Church dominates the town. The church is Early English in style and was built around 1220. There are a few remnants of earlier Norman construction and in the south aisle is part of a Saxon cross shaft. The church of St John was built on Buxton Road in 1871 in a neo-Norman style. Ashbourne Churches Together (ACT) has a link with the Diocese of Patna in the ecumenical Church of North India.[16] Regular visits take place in both directions and members of ACT are currently sponsoring the education of children in a school in Bihar, one of the poorest states in India.


Ashbourne is known for its annual two-day Royal Shrovetide Football Match, in which one half of the town plays the other at football, using the town as the pitch and with the goals three miles apart. As many as several thousand players compete for two days with a hand-painted, cork-filled ball. The game is played by two teams, the Up'ards and the Down'ards, over two eight-hour periods, subject to only a few rules. Shrovetide football has been played for centuries, perhaps even over 1,000 years. It is a moving mass (the Hug) which continues through the roads of the town, across fields and even along the bed of the local Henmore Brook. There were intermittent attempts to ban the game until the late 19th century, but none was successful.

Before the 1966 Football World Cup, the West German squad stayed at the nearby Peveril of the Peak Hotel and trained on one of Ashbourne's town football pitches (near the park).

Local man Dave Mellor was the 1978 BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars World Champion.[17]

Notable people

Catherine Booth's birthplace: 13 Sturston Road
Catherine Booth's birthplace: 13 Sturston Road
Statue of Catherine Booth, London
Statue of Catherine Booth, London

See also


  1. ^ "Neighbourhood Statistics". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  2. ^ Ashbourne Granted Market Charter
  3. ^ "A general ACCOUNT of the Conduct and Proceedings of the REBELS during their Stay at DERBY". Derby Mercury. 29 November 1745. Retrieved 26 December 2015 – via findmypast.
  4. ^ OS Explorer map: 259: Derby (Map). Ordnance Survey.
  5. ^ "Ashbourne (Derbyshire, East Midlands, United Kingdom) - Population Statistics and Location in Maps and Charts". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b c "Sales decline shuts Ashbourne Water". Ashbourne News Telegraph. 3 May 2006.
  7. ^ "Ashbourne and Matlock tourist information centres set to close". BBC News. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Tourist Information Office". Ashbourne Town Council. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  9. ^ Ashbourne Fairtrade Town Initiative
  10. ^ "Aims of the Society". The Ashbourne Show. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  11. ^ Bentley & Fox, J.M. & G.K. (1997). Railways of the High Peak Buxton to Ashbourne. Stockport UK: Foxline Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 1-870119-45-2.
  12. ^ Kingscott, Geoffrey (2007). Lost Railways of Derbyshire. Newbury Berkshire UK: Countryside Books. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-84674-042-8.
  13. ^ Derbyshire Dales District Council. The Limestone Way Walkers Guide. Matlock UK: Tourism Section DDDC. p. 22 -25.
  14. ^ Ordnance Survey (2009). Explorer OL24. Southampton UK: Ordnance Survey. ISBN 978-0-319-24111-0. and Ordnance Survey (2008). Explorer 259. ISBN 978-0-319-23725-0.
  15. ^ Long Distance Walkers Association. "Limestone Way". Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  16. ^ "The Patna Partnership". Ashbourne Churches Together. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  17. ^ "World Championship". F1 Stockcars. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  18. ^ Rebecca Mills, ‘Boothby, Sir Brooke, seventh baronet (1744–1824)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2010 accessed 2 Jan 2017
  19. ^ "Catherine Booth Biography". Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  20. ^ Kathryn M. Burton, ‘Boothby, Hill (1708–1756)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 2 Jan 2017
  21. ^ Cantrell, Henry, Church of England clergyman and religious controversialist by David L. Wykes in Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2004)
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Ashbourne, Derbyshire
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