I wanted to tell you about two things and the local paper, the Ashbourne News Telegraph, known familiarly as ‘the Stunner’, has got in first! Talk about being pipped at the post, but never mind, I can still tell you…
Firstly, Ashbourne has a new library! One keeps hearing of library closures so we feel very lucky to have such a wonderful new one, and right in the centre of things so it will be so much easier to pop in to borrow books and DVDs etc or use the free wi-fi. The much smaller old one always felt rather out of the way and inconvenient if on was on a hurried shopping visit.
The new one is across the Henmore from Waitrose and here is a pic of John (one doesn’t often see him in a photo these days as he is the photographer and plainly I am not). I will also include another I took inside, of one section. It doesn’t show the bank of computers, all in use, and all the shelves are on castors so can be moved into different permutations as the need suggests.
On our same first visit of the library John spotted an urban moorhen, nesting peacefully below the crowds crossing the bridge above. The sun was shining albeit rather coldly, this being before this lovely sunny Bank Holiday weekend and I was struck by what a lovely little place Ashbourne is (see here for a brief Wikipedia summary to save me doing it!)… It is a town where a moorhen feels quite happy to raise its family.
It does have its numerous estate agents and charity shops where other types of shop used to be but it has always been known for its excellent independently owned shops and also there has been a number of small, new independent shops starting up over recent years, many not on the main streets but tucked away down little snickets: it’s worth exploring. It has everything, I think, a post office, several churches, numerous antique shops, three good butchers, a fishmonger, a couple of hardware shops, a couple of greengrocers, two excellent delis, numerous coffee shops and restaurants, two art galleries, several newsagents, book, dress, shoe and toy shops, Waitrose, M & S and Sainsbury’s and an excellent Majestic. Phew! And I am sure I have missed out several other categories… You’d be far better advised to look at the Visit Ashbourne website which will tell you all you need to know.
To my mind one of the many delights is that it is very old, with plenty of history, and really so small and friendly – and only minutes away from the countryside: not for nothing is it called the Gateway to the Peak District.