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.