I’ve lived in a lot of places but I was born in a town very similar to Ashbourne. I lived in a market town with about the same population (but it had grown very quickly after the Second World War based on industry) until I was 18. It felt very different to Ashbourne -with sprawling estates and a very transient population. I’m still very fond of it but for different reasons. I’ve also lived in big cities where there is a constant noise and people feel like they are living on top of each other. By comparison I think there is a rare Buzz about Ashbourne.
Ashbourne has a very friendly and conversational style and there’s good reason for it. Being built on agriculture and the wool trade, and sitting on a crossroads, it’s used to regular visits from surrounding areas – its like a magnet. Even today I like the fact that everyone is close enough to walk into town and when you get there you are almost certain to meet someone you know or at least recognise and people will say hello.
Why is it different? For a town Ashbourne’s size I think it punches above its weight in having its own newspaper – the fine Ashbourne News Telegraph – containing really local news stories and photographs. Never underestimate the importance of this. It reinforces all that’s good about the town, its schools, its Town Council, its entertainment and its services. We also have Ashbourne Radio – a relative newcomer but very welcome.
How else is the Buzz created? Its built on institutions like the churches, sports clubs, organisations such as the Lions, the big impact that former employers like Nestle had. It’s also on gathering places like schools, pubs and markets. It’s boosted by the big events for the Town like Shrovetide, the Arts Festival and the Highland Gathering (more of these later in the list)
Treasure it because I think its a rare characteristic and impossible to recover when it’s gone.