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A small market town that is steeped in local history; Lauren Machray takes the tour of Atherstone, a small market town with a long and varied history.

Byline: Lauren Machray

WHY? Atherstone is a small market town located in the uppermost tip of North Warwickshire, boasting a long history dating back to the Roman Era.

It was an important Roman settlement where some believe Queen Boudica of the Britons was defeated nearby during the battle of Watling Street - now known as the A5.

Additionally, it is thought that Countess Godiva held Atherstone for a period according to the Domesday Book of 1086.

It is also famous for the Atherstone Ball Game, which has been held annually on Shrove Tuesday for 800 years and involves crowds of men charging through the streets after a giant ball in a no-holds barred contest.

During the Tudor period, it was a thriving commercial centre, famous for weaving and clothmaking as well as brewing, shoemaking and leatherworking. In the 17th century it became well known for the manufacture of felt hats, although the trade died out completely by the late 20th century.

This town is so steeped in history that, although the town only has a little over 8,000 residents, homemakers continue to flock there.

Atherstone has many travel links to nearby towns such as Tamworth, Lichfield and Nuneaton, as well as frequent buses and trains to the nearby city of Coventry.

It also has significantly lower crime rates than the national average, making it a safe place to live.

ATTRACTIONS The market town is home to the Atherstone Town Football Club, locally known as 'The Adders' whose ground is located on Sheepy Road.

Atherstone Rugby Football Club play in Warwickshire Two League.

The Ball Game on Shrove Tuesday always gathers large crowds.

Nearby is Twycross Zoo, the site of the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, numerous golf clubs and Atherstone Leisure Centre which is well-used by the community.

For long walks, there is the ever popular Coventry canal, which runs past Atherstone leading on to nearby Fazeley and Hawkesbury.

Eating out in Atherstone can become a regular occurrence with the high number of restaurants in the town including San Giovanni Restaurant, Henry's Restaurant at the Red Lion, Chapel House, Dalee Chinese Buffet and The Blue Boar Inn. It also has an impressive array of pubs and bars, mostly centred round the market area and Long Street.

EDUCATION Atherstone has a large range of primary and nursery schools, including a mixture of faith and non-faith schools. St Benedict's Catholic Primary School located at Church Walk prides itself on its Christian values for its four to 11-year-old students.

Oakfield Junior School in Southlands takes seven to 11-year-olds Racemeadow Primary School is on Ratcliffe Road and is open to four to 11-year-old pupils.

Witherley Church of England Primary School is just up the road from Atherstone in Church Road, Witherley.

In the way of secondary schools there is Queen Elizabeth School, Witherley Road, which has around 600 students between the ages of 11 and 18.

Atherstone College (also known as Hinckley and North Warwickshire College) is on Ratcliffe Road and is available for students wishing to study post-16.

TRANSPORT There are great travel links throughout Atherstone, including direct access to the rest of the UK via the M41 and M42 Motorways. Also, there is the local Atherstone Train Station (ATH) which runs trains to numerous places frequently including Birmingham city centre.

Regular bus services run to the bustling city of Coventry, as well as to Lichfield, Tamworth.

Trains can also be caught from nearby Nuneaton.

motorways, it makes the area ideal for commuters to cities such as Birmingham, as it's only 17 miles away and even London, which is less than 100 miles away.

HOUSE PRICES Popular roads at the moment are South Street and Witherley Road. Average house prices for first-time buyers are around pounds 100,000 and the average price for a semi-detached property is usually about pounds 130,000.

WHAT THE AGENTS SAY Grace Green from Howkins & Harrison emphasised the ideal location of the town of Atherstone for commuters: "The great links to the motorway means Atherstone is a great place for commuters. There are also many people who move here like families, professionals, young couples and retirees, possibly because it's rural.

"The average price for flats is up to pounds 150,000 for high quality flats and for detached houses they range from anything starting at about pounds 200,000 up past pounds 500,000 in some cases. Some of the most exclusive roads are Mill Rose View, Harper's Lane and The Coppice."

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The Atherstone Ball Game has been held anually Shrove Tuesday for 800 years
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 18, 2011
Words:759
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