Ashbourne Market

Ashbourne is an ancient but picturesque market town which has been a market centre for the surrounding area since it was granted a charter to allow stalls in the marketplace in 1257. It was made the Royal Borough in 1276 and there were fairs selling sheep and cattle and horses airs, which took place three times a year, as well as cheese fares, which took place four times a year. It is so easy to get immersed in the history as you wander around the village today and so easy to imagine what life must have been like for market stall holders back then.

It attracted visitors on the route from London to Carlisle, becoming a busy and fashionable social centre, all wealthy during the Georgian period, with six coaching roads meeting here. The market was set delicately among the legacy of over 200 listed buildings, fine coaching inns and cottages to townhouses combining to create a unique atmosphere. Lying in a lovely green valley on the southern edge of the Peak District, the town attracted many visitors and still does. So today, to all who come to enjoy the scene, will know that it has changed very little in appearance since the 18th century.

Today Ashbourne is renowned for its independent shops, speciality food shops and antique shops clustered around the historic marketplace and along the main streets of the town where they offer a delightful shopping experience. Ashbourne has a very bustling market in its marketplace every Thursday and Saturday. A traditional affair featuring lots of local produce, it takes place among the mediaeval street patterns and historic buildings and the cobbled marketplace complements the hidden alleys and yards which are a delight to explore.

The marketplace is always bustling and has a fantastic atmosphere, even when the site is used as a car park the rest of the week. The market has 50 stalls, which sells fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers and plants and much more besides. There is also 100 year old bakery that boasts to have the finest bread in the Midlands. There is a statue erected in the marketplace dating back to 1870 dedicated to France’s Wright, a wealthy local industrialist who owned Butterley Ironworks and who lived at Ozmaston Manor.

Ashbourne Farmer’s Market is held on Fridays and showcases the area’s best in organic and in organic meat and vegetables with excellent quality and prize-winning farmers and their goods. The farmers market is essential for the producers and farmers to swap gossip, and ply their wares but also to meet new customers. It takes place in the outdoor market whatever the weather and you are sure to be in for a warm welcome from the farmers who make the effort to come out. It is a great way to boost the tourism in Ashbourne, as well as being a fantastic visitor attraction. Tourists and locals know with pride they are buying from local people and supporting an economy close to home. How lovely to know you are purchasing top quality Peak District produce from home grown sources which can be organic, or hand reared but you know the quality will certainly be superb.

Although its market heritage is important, it has recently come under threat of closure from Derbyshire County Council but the people of Ashbourne have opposed any such moves by the council and started an online petition. Let’s hope the market at Ashbourne can be available for all future generations and can continue the famous market tradition for many more decades to come.