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Ashbourne is a small market town in the Derbyshire Dalesmarker, Englandmarker. It has a population of just over 7,000.

The town advertises itself as 'The Gateway to Dovedalemarker'.

Local customs

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 over two eight-hour periods, the goals are three miles apart and there are only a few rules. There are just two teams: the Up'ards and the Down'ards. Shrovetide football has been played for centuries and possibly for over 1,000 years. It is a moving brawl which continues through the roads of the town, across fields and even along the bed of the local river. There have been intermittent attempts to ban the game but none have been successful.


The Tissington Trail, a popular recreational walk and cycle path, starts at Mapleton Lane on the northern outskirts of town and follows the course of the former Ashbourne to Buxton railway, running from what was Ashbourne railway stationmarker through the village of Tissingtonmarker and joining the High Peak Trail (the old Cromford and High Peak Railway) at Parsley Haymarker. The line, which had been built in 1894, closed to regular passenger traffic in 1954, and all services on the Ashbourne-Parsley Haymarker section, including excursion traffic, ceased in 1964.

The line continued down the Dove to Rocester near Uttoxetermarker where it joined the main North Staffordshire Railway. This southern link had opened in 1899. It also closed to passengers in 1954, finishing completely in the early '60s.

A branch of the Limestone Waymarker also starts in the town.

Ashbourne Churches Together (ACT) has a link with the Diocese of Patnamarker 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.

Ashbourne became the 97th Fairtrade Town in March 2005 after many businesses, cafes, shops and community organisations started supporting Fairtrade.

Notable people

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