Saturday, January 26, 2008

A walk around Ashbourne

I'm going to take you on a walk around one of my favourite Derbyshire towns, Ashbourne. If I could chose where I want to live then this place would be high on my list, it's just a dream though as we could never afford to live there. Small, two up, two down cottages with a tiny back yard and on-street parking cost more here than our three bedroomed, detached house with garage, conservatory and huge garden in Stoke. I just love the busy market town atmosphere of the place coupled with its historic buildings and proximity to the Peak District. Park near the swimming pool and wander through the old railway tunnel and you are straight on to the Tissington Trail. Last year we walked most of the Tissington Trail and all of the High Peak Trail which joins it at Parsley Hay. Up above the railway tunnel and road bridge is the main road into Ashbourne and this end of the town has so many old buildings.

This is St Oswald's Church, which has a very rich and interesting history far too detailed to go into here but you could visit the Ashbourne Town website to find out more. Below is the 18th century home of Dr. John Taylor who was a great friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson of Lichfield. Dr Johnson often stayed at this house with John Taylor who intended leaving the property to his good friend; unfortunately Dr Johnson died before him.

Next to Dr. Taylor's house are the Owlsfields Almshouses, built in 1640 with the upper stories added much later in 1840.

Opposite the alms houses stands the old Grammar School, founded by the Cockayne family and built between 1585 and 1603.

Ashbourne is noted for its Antique shops, of which there are many. This interesting one is just a little further down the street from the old grammar school on the walk towards the town centre.

And the one below is across the street, just up from where where the arch of The Green Man public house spans the street from one side to the other. The Green Man was Dr. Johnson's favourite inn, when he visited Ashbourne and it is said that he had his own chair there with his name carved into it.

Below are some more views of the town and market place. You can see The Green Man's arch across the street in the first photo.

There are lots of lovely little shops off and around the market place including a teddy bear shop, an 'Aladin's cave' of a kitchen and gift shop and a wonderful cut price book shop. Talking of books the writer George Elliot (Mary Anne Evans) used the town of Ashbourne in her novel Adam Bede but renamed it Oakbourne.

Below is the millenium clock opposite the Gingerbread shop and cafe.

There are lots of little alleyways and shops to discover around corners.

Places where you can poke around for bargains at your heart's content.

I didn't photograph it but there is also a wonderful art gallery in a Victorian building, formerly a magistrates court, where, on the top floor with its new mezzanine level built into the lofty roof space you will be served wonderful hot coffee and tasty, warm cheese scones. Who could ask for more?


  1. Enjoyed reading and seeing the pics! I too long to live in one of those little villages.
    Seeing those Almshouses made me remember this place we drove by in Yorkshire. We passed it along the road and looked like a village made totally of grey stone and was deserted. It looked so ghostly! I`ve tried to find it on the web, but without a name, no luck. It stands out in my memory so strong. There was no green anywhere. Just grey.


  2. I grew up not far from Ashbourne and as a little girl used to think how one day I would like to live there. I haven't been back for many years, not since I moved to Kent. Thanks for the photos it was really good be reminded how lovely it is.

  3. I can see another blog coming on: 'Rosie's Midland Walks'. All you need is a little map with each one and you will be away. Very enjoyable.

    Love Robert xxx

  4. I love Ashbourne - You didnt mention the sound effects in the railway tunnel. Are they still there? My kids tell the story of the first time I ever heard these and really thought a train was coming - and could have done with a Tena Lady (if you get my drift!!) I wasnt the only one though. The bloke cycling the other way through the tunnel obviously thought it was a real train too!! My then 9 year old son pointed out later that there are no tracks!!

  5. Hello Diane, thanks for your comment - that must have been a strange experience - I've walked through the tunnel a couple of times in the last few months and the sound effects haven't been working - I think I would react in the same way even though I know there are no trains :)

  6. Rosie,
    That is a lovely view of Ashbourne. One of my favourite places to live too. The market place takes me back in time.
    If you want to show walks, try this:

    Great tool.


  7. Hi Rupert, thanks for visiting my blog and also for the map link :) You are so lucky to live in Ashbourne.