Sheepwash Pen and Lambs' Bank – Ashford in the Water, England - Atlas Obscura
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Sheepwash Pen and Lambs' Bank

Ashford in the Water, England

This unique creation was used to house and wash sheep prior to shearing. 


Next to the appropriately named Sheepwash Bridge in Ashford in the Water in Derbyshire, England, is an ancient sheep pen that was used until the 20th-century. It was designed to house sheep while they were being washed. This was done prior to sheering or taking the sheep to market.

The tradition continues today, but for tourism purposes. It often occurs on Well Dressing Day, the day of the year when the annual Water Well Dressing is revealed to the public.

This pen was used to separate the ewes from their lambs, which were taken slightly downstream to bleat on “Lambs’ Bank.” When the ewes on the end of a long tether were pushed into the water, the sound of the lambs encouraged the ewes to swim downstream and exit the river.

Know Before You Go

The old Packhorse bridge is also worth a visit. 

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