is a small town on the edge of Dartmoor
, adjacent to the A38
It was formerly important as a stannary town (a centre for the administration of tin-mining), and remains the largest town within the National Park, with a population of around 3,500. Ashburton has six pubs within the centre of town, and two restaurants.
The name is recorded in the Domesday Book
(1086) as Essebretone
. During the English Civil War
, Ashburton was a temporary refuge for Royalist troops fleeing after their defeat by General Fairfax
at nearby Bovey Tracey
The town was the terminus of the Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway that opened on 1 May 1872. Ashburton railway station closed to passengers in November 1958 although goods traffic on the line continued until 7 September 1962.
Ashburton Carnival is one of the oldest, possibly the oldest, surviving in Devon. Written records date it back to 1891, but it is believed to have been started in the mid 1880s to raise funds for a new hospital.
Ashburton was the first place to elect a candidate of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party
to public office. The candidate was Alan Hope
, a local publican, who was elected unopposed to Ashburton Town Council in 1989. He subsequently became Deputy Mayor and later Mayor
The town is one of a few to still nominally appoint a Portreeve or 'port warden'. Others are Beccles, Callington (where the name is given to the council chairman), Cheevel, and Yeovil.
The fifteenth century church tower features sculptures by Herbert Read
, who also carved the oak reredos
. The porch is partly Norman