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Don't miss the town football match!
Ashbourne in General
Member Name: hillbilly1
Ashbourne in General
Date: 17/08/00, updated on 17/08/00 (118 review reads)
Advantages: Some good traditions
Disadvantages: Full of tourists (if you're a local!)
This is my local town and it is quite quaint. If you live here it's slightly irritating at times because it's really geared up for tourists because you can buy any sort of gift that you care to name. Antique shops are also plentiful but it's not the best for basic commodities for which you have to visit the dreaded Derby (see my opinion on that!).
As a tourist town it does have several high points. It is in the Debyshire Dales and as such is great for keen walkers. Ashbourne also sees the start of the Tissington trail which is an old disused railway line which has now been cemented over to provide a bike trail that runs for over 35 miles. You can bring your own bikes or hire them.
There are several high points of Ashbourne's social calendar such as the Highland Gathering (the largest outside Scotland) with all the pipe bands descending for a 2 day event in July; the arts festival (not the biggest or the best at the moment - though Wirksworth, a short drive away has an excellent week long festival). But the real creme de la creme has to be the Shrovetide football match. This is a two day event run on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. This has to be seen. The whole town closes down each afternoon on these two days and the ball is thrown up in the town centre (Somerfield carpark actually!) at 2pm. It is a free for all where it is the up'ards against the down'ards (depending which side of the river you live). The goal posts are 3 miles apart and the game is played from 2pm until 11pm each day with no real rules apart from the ball must not be taken on public transport! The shops get boarded up so that no one falls through a shop window and play continues into the river or wherever else the ball may go. The whole town gathers together for the occasion, but most of us at
a distance, as there are some real big guys, and lots of pushing and shoving (it's more like rugby than football). It is a real tradition in the town and it's good to know that there are still some such traditions around that have not been quashed or fizzled out over the years.
If your around the area /sober enough on New Years day, then take a trip out to the little village of Mappleton(about one mile from Ashbourne) at 12.30pm. Here about 6 teams compete in a raft race down the river Dove for about 1 mile. They then have to get out of the raft, run up the bank before jumping from a high bridge into the river (some start to bottle out at this point). Once in the river they swim to the side of the river, before climbing out and finally running across a field to the finishing post which is the Okeover Arms pub! In fact if you're that way inclined you could always enter but remember it is New Year's day and the water is very cold! Far better to join the celebrations (all in aid of charity) in the pub!
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