Ashbourne is a very delightful small market town although since it lost its cattle market the actual market side has dwindled somewhat. Its charms are still many…
…’The Gateway to the Peak District’, elegant Georgian buildings, Shrovetide Football, a magnificent parish church, lots of top quality independently owned businesses. It also its share of estate agents and charity shops. For centuries the historic Green Man and Black’s Head was the undisputed heart of the town where everything important seemed to take place and when it closed there was a great sense of loss.
For several years the building sat there in the middle of the town – unseen here, but on the near right corner of this photo – increasingly and depressingly desolate. The heavy trucks thundered and rattled past (unfortunately the ‘Gateway to the Peak’ doesn’t have a full ring road) narrowly missing the famous and by then redundant Green Man and Black’s Head sign across the road and many foretold the demise of Ashbourne as a town of any note.
However, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment and really had work of a band of local people determined to restore Ashbourne’s pride things are distinctly on the up again. The Green Man has been bought, and is slowly being restored to a new existence. Posh dress shops and other businesses are moving in and there are plenty of exciting plans for future developments within the site.
Yesterday saw us savouring the delights of the latest of these. We had trudged – so to speak – somewhat grudgingly into Ashbourne, with a long list of rather boring things to do on a horribly blustery and wet day. Of course on the list was a trip to the Recycling Centre. Incidentally, they are so pleasant and helpful there it is almost a pleasurable task, except when the weather is foul, as it was yesterday morning.
We needed our spirits reviving. Fortunately, I remembered just in time that Jack Rabbit’s, Ashbourne’s latest coffee shop/teashop/restaurant was opening on March 1st at the back of the Green Man, so before returning home we decided to pay a visit. We have friends involved in the project and we knew, knowing them, that we would be in for a (well-deserved, we felt) treat.
And as we approached, the sun came out. From the outside the very modern building – lots of unexpected shapes, glass and light – looked most inviting; inside it lives up to its promise.
And what a warm welcome we received. The coffee was delicious, John’s scone, still warm and freshly baked – I ended up sharing. There is an attractive looking menu, for brunches and lunches as well as coffee time treats, so we shall certainly return.
There are several really excellent cafes and restaurants in Ashbourne and Jack Rabbit’s looks as if it will quickly join the ranks of the best. Fortunately we still have many trips on the horizon to the Recycling Centre, otherwise John and I would be hard pushed to keep supporting all our old favourites, and this our newest favourite.
Perhaps I ought to remind one and all that my blog is entirely independent and non commercial – my thoughts, my opinions, my blog… I don’t benefit financially in any way, nor will it ever cost you anything (other than your time or perhaps boredom).