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Living in Ashburton: the local area guide

Ashburton is a rural town in South Devon, right on the southern edge of Dartmoor. As a former administrative centre for the tin mining industry (a 'Stannary Town'), it has bags of history and a well-developed community culture.

Human habitation in the area dates from around 500 B.C. Despite its small size, it has had an impact over the centuries as a temporary escape for fleeing Royalists in the English Civil War and as the home of the famous Ashburton Pop, a type of champagne the recipe for which has been long forgotten.

Over the centuries, since the Roman conquest, the tin in the region led to prosperity for Ashburton, but since the 1700s the industry has all but died out.

The village shrank in population and is now a hugely popular tourist destination with a vibrant local community. It is a big draw for walkers and explorers because of its position on Dartmoor, and has several of its own events and parties dotted throughout the year. And, if you need any evidence of the joyful mentality of the locals, note that in 1989 they were the first place to elect a candidate from the Monster Raving Loony Party to public office.

Demographics

Just over 4000 people reside in Ashburton, up from 3,800 in 2001, with an average age of 45. That's quite a bit older than the rest of England, for which the average is 39, and is reflected in the demographic breakdown: over half of the population is over 45.

Just north of 50% of the locals belong to the ABC1 social grade, which is about the same as England as a whole, and the rate of unemployment is very low.

The population of Ashburton is very well known for their attitude to life and propensity for parties. Since 1891 the Ashburton Carnival has run every year, making it one of the oldest in the country. It happens every summer and includes a plethora of events, including a fun run, duck race, food and drink tents, and dancing to live music.

And, at the end of July, there is the Bread Weighing and Ale Tasting Ceremony. Historically, it was a way of keeping brewers and bakers in check by making sure they didn't sell bad ale or sneak people short servings of bread. Nowadays, it’s an excuse to get together, drink ale, eat food and have a medieval-style fair.

Education

Ashburton is popular for families with young children, and the local schools only add to that popularity. Ashburton Primary School lies right at the heart of the historic town and has an outstanding reputation for its spirited atmosphere and the effect it has on the children.

After primary, there are several options. Sands School is also within the town, and offers an alternative approach to education with democratically-based decision making between pupils and staff. It allows pupils to choose how to fill their own timetable to suit their interests/skill levels, and has had good assessments.

Also nearby is South Dartmoor Community College, which has a focus on expressionist arts and sports. For plenty more options, Newton Abbot is 7 miles to the south east and has several high-performing schools to choose from.

Transport

While there is no railway station in Ashburton, it is well located for other stations. Totnes and Newton Abbot are both a short distance away and offer connections all over the country because of their placement on the main line to the South West.

For cars, the village is excellently placed. Its location on the edge of the A38, 20-odd miles from both Exeter and Plymouth, makes it convenient for commuting and travelling. It is just a 25 minute drive from the beautiful South Devon Coast, and many of the beautiful sites of Dartmoor are an easy drive away.

Amenities and shopping

Ashburton is filled with fantastic antique shops, craft stores, vintage clothing shops and much more. It also has a great range of pubs and inns, restaurants, farm food stores and cafes.

And, if you're looking for high street brands, you don't need to travel further than Exeter or Plymouth - both have a huge range of options for large malls and smaller boutiques.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact editor@primelocation.com

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.

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