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Ashbourne, Derbyshire facts for kids

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Market Hall, Ashbourne - - 335763.jpg
Ashbourne Town Hall in the Market Place
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Population 7,112 (Parish, 2011)
OS grid reference SK1846
Civil parish
  • Ashbourne
  • Derbyshire Dales
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DE6
Dialling code 01335
Police Derbyshire
Fire Derbyshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Derbyshire Dales
List of places
53°00′58″N 1°43′52″W / 53.016°N 1.731°W / 53.016; -1.731
Nestles Factory, Clifton Road, Ashbourne - - 314448
Former Nestlé creamery circa 2006, before demolition

Ashbourne is a market town in the Derbyshire Dales, England, with a population of 8,377 in the 2011 census, estimated at 9,163 in 2019. It contains many historical buildings and independent shops, and offers a historic annual Shrovetide football match. Its position near the southern edge of the Peak District makes it the closest town to Dovedale, to which it is sometimes referred as the gateway.


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

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.


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.


Ashbourne has a population of 8,377 according to the 2011 census.

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.

Ashbourne Shire Horse Society and Ashbourne Show

According to the Ashbourne Show website:

"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 10 pubs trading, as well as 2 social clubs. However, the town's most famous establishment, the Green Man & Black's Head Royal Hotel, closed in 2012 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 February 2014, 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 1 in 4 buildings


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

Construction of the Ashbourne to Buxton line began in 1896. Passenger services started to Buxton in August 1899 after the building of a joint railway station to serve the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) lines. It closed to regular passenger traffic in 1954; all services on the Ashbourne–Parsley Hay section 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 opened in 1852, and in 1867 the LNWR gained running powers over the line. It also closed to passengers in 1954 and completely in the early 1960s.

St Oswalds Ashbourne
St. Oswald's Church

Today the nearest railway stations are Uttoxeter, 12 miles away on the Crewe-Derby Line, and Derby, 13 miles away. There are buses from Derby to Uttoxeter every half hour, other buses to Matlock, Leek, Buxton, Nottingham and Wirksworth, and one a day to Burton.

The Limestone Way passes 2–3 miles away, through Tissington, Thorpe, Marten Hill and above Mayfield to Rocester. There are several routes for walkers from Ashbourne to Limestone Way.

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. 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.


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 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 place.

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

Tourism is an important element of the local economy, due to the town's proximity to Dovedale and the Peak District. The Tourist Information Centre was threatened with closure in 2011, but from January 2018, a visitor information centre was available in the town hall.


In the annual two-day Royal Shrovetide Football Match, one half of the town plays the other, using the town as the pitch, with 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 few rules. Shrovetide football has been played for several centuries. 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 unsuccessful attempts to ban the game until the late 19th century.

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 contestant Dave Mellor was the 1978 BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars World Champion.


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.

Notable people

In birth order:

  • Sir Aston Cockayne (1608–1684), 1st Baronet Cockayne of Ashbourne
  • Catherine Pegge (born c. 1635) was mistress to Charles II, mother to Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth, and a resident of Yeldersley.
  • Henry Cantrell (1684–1773), clergyman and religious controversialist, was born here.
  • Hill Boothby (1708–1756), late love of Samuel Johnson, was born here.
  • Thomas Brown (1708–1780), Garter King of Arms, was born here.
  • George Hayne (died 1723), merchant and entrepreneur
  • Sir Brooke Boothby, 6th Baronet (1744–1824), poet, was born here.
  • William Corden the Elder (1795–1867), portrait painter
  • Catherine Booth (1829–1890), known as the "mother" of the Salvation Army', was born here.
  • Francis Charles Robert Jourdain (1865–1940), ornithologist, was born in Ashbourne in 1865 and for a time served as Vicar of Clifton-by-Ashbourne.
  • David Redfern (1935–2014), photographer
  • Roy Wood (born 1946), musician, lives here.
  • Andrew Lewer (born 1971), East Midlands MEP, lived in Ashbourne and attended Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Ashbourne.
  • James Rutledge (born 1978), musician and producer
  • Dave Tyack (1978 – c. 2002), guitarist, drummer and singer
13 Sturston Road - Ashbourne
Catherine Booth's birthplace: 13 Sturston Road
Catherine booth statue
Statue of Catherine Booth, London

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