Ashford in the Water is a very pretty, chocolate box village in the heart of the White Peak, visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. It is home to the most photographed bridge in Britain, which has the gloriously crystal clear waters of the River Wye flowing free underneath. It’s a tiny place and is made up of ancient picturesque cottages, two pubs, a stunning hotel with a riverside setting, a beautiful church, which houses relics dating back to the 1200s and a village store and delicatessen, who boasts they have the best home-made pickles in Derbyshire. Home to the lucky few, the cottages were once owned by the Chatsworth estate. These were sold off in the 1950s to pay for death duties.
With the famous Sheep Wash Bridge adorning many a postcard and photograph, tourists flock to hear how sheep were washed in the water before chemical dips were introduced. Lambs were kept in the walled pen on the other side, which is still in good working order and used in demonstrations today, to entice their mothers to have their bath and swim to the other side. The bridge makes a great vantage point for watching the huge rainbow trout meandering leisurely on their way below your feet.
There are several places for the walker to rest their weary legs and enjoy refreshments. The tea rooms in Ashford have a new gift shop and offer delicious lunches, top quality coffees, a variety of local speciality teas and cold drinks and other light refreshments. The Ashford Arms, which was once a coaching inn, welcomes weary travellers since the 1700s, and the Riverside Hotel offers a chance to sit in the sunshine enjoying a beverage and listening to the River babbling by.
Ashford in the Water is really lovely place to stay and makes an ideal base for any holiday maker who enjoys a peaceful break. With the beautiful market town of Bakewell just a few miles away, and Monsaldale with its famous viaduct and trail for bikers and walkers, this little village has something for all the family to see and do during your stay. Steeped in history, the cottages themselves add a flavour of times gone by. Ashford Church houses one of the finest examples of an inlaid tabletop and there are examples of pottery in Buxton museum now on show. Holy Trinity Parish Church is the heart of the pretty village, with garlands hung from ancient times, still visible from the rafters of the roof. Read about this ancient custom in our Ashford in the Water history page.
It is the village renowned and used by local industries in the past, with very diverse and different businesses, including lead mining and candle making. Testament to the latter is the Candle House, which stands proud on the site of the old candle making factory in Greaves Lane, named after the dregs of melted tallow. Ashford black marble has also put this village on the map when Henry Watson discovered it, a limestone that when polished, makes the perfect background to mosaic and inlaid patterns.
Ashford Well dressing week is one of the highlights of the village calendar, but a must for all visitors to the area. Tourists arrive in their coach loads to see examples of this ancient local custom. The stunning artwork is presented and dedicated to 6 wells dotted around the village and is lovingly created by the local community.