Ashford in the Water is situated on the banks of the River Wye, just 2 miles upstream of Bakewell, Derbyshire, on the A6 trunk road which links Bakewell and Buxton. It is in the very centre of the Peak District National Park.
The village itself has a number of points of interest for the visitor, including the church which has features dating back to Norman times. There are two ancient bridges across the river - the older of these, Sheepwash Bridge (shown opposite), is a medieval packhorse bridge close to the site of the original ford. It gains its name from the practice of bringing sheep to wash them before shearing - this was continued locally until the 1960s and is demonstrated annually during Well Dressing week.
The villagers continue the centuries old tradition of Well Dressing, using flower petals stuck into clay to make elaborate and beautiful designs. Every year for Trinity Sunday (late May or early June) six wells are dressed, providing a colourful spectacle - two of the 2005 well dressings are shown opposite.
Ashford is an ideal centre for exploring the Peak District or for a walking or cycling holiday. Monsal Head is close by, with its famous viaduct and view over the Wye Valley (see image below left), as is the historic and lively town of Bakewell. Buxton, with its annual Festival and Matlock, the county town, are within easy reach, as is Castleton, famous for its spectacular medieval castle, its caverns and for Blue John stone.
The Peak District is renowned for its walking, whether it be easy routes along nearby Monsal Dale or long treks across the peat moors of Kinder Scout. Cycling is also popular, especially on the converted former railways such as the Tissington Trail and Monsal Trail (pictured). Fishing, riding and golf are all available locally.