This easy circular walk takes in the heritage highlights of Ashbourne in less than 2 miles, walking on well-made paths, streets and lanes, with no steps or stiles. Ashbourne is a town steeped in history; it was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and has had a thriving market since the 13th Century. During the Georgian period it was a popular stopover point for travellers, with no fewer than six coaching routes converging here, including the important London to Manchester route. It?s no surprise, then, to find evidence of centuries of rich history literally around every corner.
Start/Finish Point & Parking The route starts and ends at Shawcroft Car Park (DE6 1GD; ///blotting.tries.funky) accessible from theA515,Park Road.
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Walk out of the car park in an easterly direction, heading towards Park Road. Before leaving the car park take a few moments to look at the red brick Shrovetide Football Plinth close to the entrance.
Cross over Park Road carefully at the pedestrian crossing and turn left to walk into Ashbourne Park. The park is well laid out with level paths and it’s pleasant to walk around if you have time. Turn right where the path forks and then left before the tennis court to find the statue of Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army, who was born in Ashbourne in 1829.
Exit the park by way of the large Memorial Gates to emerge onto Cockayne Avenue. Cross over the road and turn left to walk along St John Street into the town centre. The red brick Georgian building on the corner of St John Street is Madge House.
After approx 100 metres, take the road on the right and walk up the slight hill towards the cobbled Market Place. You might wish to visit the Ashbourne Museum and Visitor Information Centre which is located in the Town Hall on your right just beyond the red telephone box. (Please note that there are 7 steps into the building.) Cross the road at the pedestrian crossing just beyond the Museum to enter the historic Market Place.
From the Market Place walk down either side of Ye Old Vaults pub to enter the smaller cobbled area of Victoria Square. Walk through Victoria Square to emerge back onto St John Street and turn right.
Cross the road and then take the first road on the left, Dig Street, just beyond The Bank pub. Along Dig Street you will see the old Ashbourne Workhouse and also Compton House. Turn right into King Edward Street, just after Compton House (now Lloyd's Bank).
Continue straight on to the T-junction at the end of the road and turn left onto Station Road. After approx 150 metres you’ll reach another T-junction. Straight ahead of you is the Old Derbyshire Constabulary Building, dating from 1857.
Turn right onto Station Street. After approx 120 metres, turn right again into Leisure Way. Before turning, take the time to look ahead to the old Railway Engine House and Goods Shed, built in 1852. Walk straight on for approx 50 metres and then turn right at the T-junction, heading to Ashbourne Leisure Centre. Just before the Leisure Centre, turn left into School Lane. After approx 75 metres, turn left again towards the church car park but take the footpath on the right just before the entrance. At the end of the footpath are the Spalden’s Almshouses, built in 1710.
Continue following the footpath into the grounds of St Oswald’s Church. If you have time, it’s well worth taking a diversion left to look inside the church, which has step-free access.
Walk out of the church yard through the main gates and turn right. Walk straight on along Church Street, ignoring the entrance to School Lane on the right just beyond the church. Church Street is lined with fascinating old buildings, so keep your eyes peeled on both sides of the road.
Highlights include: The Old Grammar School, The Mansion, Owlfield's Almshouses and the Clergy Widows' Almshouses. Continue walking along Church Street back into the centre of Ashbourne, and continue straight on when Church Street becomes St John Street. Look out for The Green Man and Black's Head Royal Hotel and the Ashbourne Gingerbread Shop on the right. Continue straight on along St John Street and turn right after Madge House, returning to the car park and your starting point on the right after approx 100 metres.
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