Ashbourne DE6 1ES
Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football is a game played in the Derbyshire town of Ashbourne every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Unlike a conventional football match this game is played over two eight hour periods, the goals are 3 miles apart and there are very few rules. As you may have already guessed, the game is infact nothing like a standard football match.
The leather ball which has a cork inner is ‘turned up’ from a stone plinth on Shaw Croft car park in Ashbourne town centre. The ball is thrown into the air and into the ‘hug’, a large group of players who try to move the ball to their goal by pushing against the opposition.
Your team depends on which side of the Henmore brooke you were born on, those born on the South are Down’ards and try to goal the ball at the old Clifton Mill. Those born on the North are Up’ards and try to goal the ball at the old Sturston Mill. Spectators come from all around to watch the annual game, many people follow the ball all day, through the streets of the town, over local fields and in the river. Local shop owners prepare for the game by boarding up the front of their shops and windows to protect them from the hug!