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The local area guide to living in Ashburton

Ashburton is a small town in South Devon, located on the south-southeastern edge of Dartmoor. It is a former Stannary Town (which means it was a centre for administering the tin mining industry) and is the largest town within Dartmoor National Park. As such, it is a popular destination for walkers and nature lovers looking to spend some time seeing the sights of the famous mo

Dating from Saxon times, it was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 under the name Essebretone. It has seen a lot of historical action over the centuries: it was a refuge for Royalist troops fleeing defeat in the English Civil War, and the home of a famous beverage called Ashburton Pop, the recipe for which has been lost to time.

Later, its prosperity stemmed from the tin mining on Dartmoor, as well as the wool industry. It is one of only four Stannary Towns in the county, and the area's relationship to tin mining dates as far back as the Romans.The tin trade for the area all but died out by the early 18th century, though the legacy remains. Today, as well as being a vibrant and fun-loving community, it is a big tourist destination, and has the honor of being the first place to elect a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party to public office in 1989.

Information about the local residents

4,170 people live in Ashburton, up from 3,800 in 2001.

The average age of the population is just under 45, above that of the rest of England which is 39. Over 50% of the population is over 45, and the vast majority of residents were born in England. Just over 53% of the community belong to the ABC1 social grade, in line with the numbers for the rest of England, and the percentage unemployed is under half of that of the rest of the country.

Ashburton is famous for its fun-loving local population. The Ashburton Carnival is one of the oldest in the county, with written records dating back to 1891. It runs every summer and includes a fun run, duck race, and live music, as well as food, beer and wine tents.

Also running annually is the Bread Weighing and Ale Tasting Ceremony. This is held near the end of July. Historically, this ceremony held brewers accountable by fining those who made bad ales, and kept bakers in check by making certain they were selling the correct weights. These days, it's used as a huge social event and ends with a medieval fair.

Nearby schools

Ashburton is well placed for families. The local primary school, Ashburton Primary School, is thriving and set right in the heart of the historic town.

Nearby is also the alternative Sands School, which uses democratic principles to offer a different approach to education. Teachers and pupils have an equal say in how things are run, and pupils can choose how they fill up their timetables.

South Dartmoor Community College is also within the limits of the town. It has a specialist focus on expressionist arts, and sports.

Newton Abbot to the south has many more options for secondary schooling, should parents wish to look around to see what's out there.

Getting around

Ashburton has no railway station of its own, but it is well located. The nearest stations are Totnes and Newton Abbot, both of which are about seven miles away and sit on the main line to the South West.

By road, Ashburton is extremely convenient. It sits right next to the A38, halfway between Exeter and Plymouth (about 20 miles from each), making it very convenient for commuting. It is also only a 25 minute drive from the South Devon Coast.

Local shops

Ashburton has a great selection of boutique and craft shops. Woodwork, antiques, vintage items, clothing, and local food shops are everywhere.

It also has some fantastic pubs and inns, as well as tea shops, cafes, restaurants and farm food shops.

For high street brands, Exeter and Plymouth are both fantastic and only a short drive away in either direction.


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

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


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