Ashbourne is a small town that can be found in the lovely and beautiful Derbyshire Dales. The entire county, known as Derbyshire, is home to some downright gorgeous scenery including mountains, hills, and National Parks. Derbyshire Dales is a smaller district within Derbyshire, though, and it is in here that we find Ashbourne. Derbyshire Dales sometimes gets a bad rap because most of its towns are very small and forgettable if not for their often bizarre names. If you want to visit Alsop-en-le-Dale, Foolow, or Fenny Bently (all real towns) you'll need to visit Derbyshire Dales. Just make sure that, on your way, you avoid the ominous-sounding town of Youlgreave; it sounds like a town promising regret.
All joking aside, Ashbourne and its seven thousand residents fit nicely within Derbyshire Dales and the area really is beautiful if not economically significant. Ashbourne has a trick up its sleeve, however, and as a result it has earned quite a tidy income thanks to its proximity to the famed Dovedale. Dovedale is an incredibly popular dale that draws over a million people a year. Wisely, Ashbourne has advertised itself as "The Gateway to Dovedale". The River Dove itself is a glorious sight to behold and it has some of the best trout fishing in the area but the real attraction is the dale itself. Among the great sights is a very famous set of stepping stones within the river that, whether you remember or not, you've no doubt seen on a poster, calendar, or picture frame. Near these famous stones is the even more popular, and original, "Lover's Leap". Yes, this is the same Lover's Leap that has been entered into our social consciousness so much that most people think it doesn't truly exist. As we now know, though, Lover's Leap does exist and you can get there through Ashbourne. All the same, it is simply a cliff with a very simplistic and probably untrue story attached to it regarding a girl who attempted suicide and failed.
Though Ashbourne advertises itself by drawing on the Dovedale, the town truly does have an identity of its own and a special charm that enhances the already stately beauty of the area. The people of Ashbourne are friendly and wise and, most importantly, they know how to have a good time; the town is the site of the famed Royal Shrovetide Football Match. This massive event is perhaps one of the most impressive acts of merrymaking known to man. Each year the entire town takes part in a football game that spans throughout the city limits, with goals three miles apart. Over a thousand people can be seen running through the streets and hills and even fighting in the river as they try to prevent the other team from scoring. Naturally, some stuffy mothers have been trying to ban the Shrovetide Match for years but it likely will never happen. After all, the game is over a thousand years old and is one of the most unique and charming things about the town; it may in fact be one of the only things actually known about the town.
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