A Taste of the Peak District

Accommodation, activities and attractions of the Peak District of the UK


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The village of Ashford-in-the-Water is an unspoilt village situated just to the north of Bakewell in the heart of the Peak District National Park.

Highlights - old buildings, 18th century paper funerary garlands in the church and of course the Sheepwash Bridge.

Peak Views
General info


Ashford is uncommercialised but has plenty to offer the Peak District visitor. The name of the village meant ‘ford by the ash trees’ reflecting the fact that it developed at the site of a river crossing. This was where the ancient route of the Portway (from Nottingham to Castleton) crossed the river Wye. More recently, the A6 trunk road passed through Ashford although a bypass has restored peace and tranquility to the village. It was mentioned as a Royal Manor in the Domesday Book. The village passed to the Cavendish Family in the 16th century (from the Nevilles) and finally sold off in the 1950’s to pay death duties.

Industry has come and gone, corn milling, wool production and lead mining have all been carried out here or hereabouts. But perhaps the most famous of the industries, one which ensured that the name of Ashford was known widely was the trade in  Ashford black marble. This is not a true marble but simply an impure form of limestone that polished up to a beautiful black. True marbles have been metamorphosed (changed physically) by heat from limestone.

The Sheepwash Bridge is exactly as its name suggests as well as having been a packhorse bridge when it was first built. Lambs were placed in the pen on one side of the river and the ewes swam across the river to get to them. The shepherds made sure the sheep had a good dunking on the way across! This was an easy way to clean the fleece prior to shearing. Take a good look into the waters beneath the bridge - it is possible to see a good number of large trout swimming around.


There are many interesting buildings in Ashford such as the Hall, a Joseph Pickford design which was one of the Cavendish family residences (built in the 1770’s. Parts of the Church (Holy Trinity) date back to Norman times but it is mostly a Victorian rebuild. Inside the church, on the far side from the main door, hang funerary garlands of white paper fixed to wooden frames. These date back to the 18th century and were made to be carried ahead of the coffin of young girls in their funeral procession.

See base of page for links to pictures of Ashford.

Derbyshire Peak District village of Ashford in the water.

The Well dressings take place in early summer with the blessing taking place on Trinity Sunday.

For more information about the Ashford marble industry click here or for more information about the garlands click here (external links, both leave this site and open in a new window)


Photos of Ashford-in-the-Water

  • Holy Trinity Church
  • Stained glass window
  • Funerary garland
  • Street views
  • Sheepwash Bridge
  • The Ashford Arms is a friendly and welcoming bed and breakfast pub situated close to Bakewell in the White Peak ... more information or visit owner’s web site


    Peak District bed and breakfast in a pub, Ashford Arms, Derbyshire.

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    Copyright - Chevinside Publications 2002 - 2007. If you use any material from this site please credit it accordingly and link to our site. This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2007. The information on this Peak District web site is given in good faith and is for information only, we cannot be held responsible for how the information is subsequently used. You should satisfy yourself of the correctness before visiting or contacting these Peak District attractions or businesses.




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