Seven great reasons to live in BRADFORD ON AVON

PUBLISHED: 12:46 26 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 20 February 2013

Seven great reasons to live in BRADFORD ON AVON

Seven great reasons to live in BRADFORD ON AVON

Anna Vaught leads us round her lovely home town, Badford on Avon

Anna Vaught tells us 7 great reasons to visit her home town of Badford on Avon


1 For families


There are two fine primary schools and a Performing Arts Status secondary school, which shares a site with the Wiltshire Music Centre, an excellent centre for both local musicians and global line-ups. We have good pre-school and day care provision plus play parks, places to run and cycle, an excellent library, plenty of toddler clubs and space to let small ones (and your dog) off the lead and maybe paddle in the shallow reaches of the River Avon, just as generations of children have done. The town has a museum, swimming pool, bowling green, cricket and football pitch and a skate park. There is a thriving community and childrens centre at one end of town, with a well-attended youth group.
You can cycle or walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, stroll alongside the River Avon, or hire a narrow boat or kayak from Fun with Dick and Jane.
Ours is a small town that is buzzing with activity. Big enough if you want to be let alone, but small enough to be fully involved, know the name of the postman and and to walk everywhere. Thats what I like best about it.


2 For the history


We have sweeps of old cottages built from mellow Bath stone and a plethora of fine Georgian buildings, and there is much more history to see, from the 11th-century Saxon church to the 14th-century Tithe Barn. Mustnt forget the exquisite Roman mosaic in the remains of the villa that you can view at intervals: the rest of the time they are under the school sports pitch! But Bradford is not preserved in aspic either, hence the ongoing new development plum in the town centre where the old market is held throughout the year.

Avon Rubber factory, its attendant listed buildings and the long stretch of riverside land behind them will provide further housing, shops, gallery and arts space plus places to walk and explore, complemented by a new footbridge over the river.from yoga to womens empowerment, tarot, hedgewitchery and angel awareness.
Being a port, Brixham also has chandlers, yacht supplies and fishing tackle shops, plus art galleries and craft shops. A pannier market is held throughout the year.


3 For the community


Our Autumn Arts Festival involves all-comers in fun and funky projects, with a sculpture garden, plays and concerts, great street party and Bradfood, our annual food festival. Possibly there are not too many towns where residents turn up to knit a zebra crossing, green the town centre and graze a sheep, turn a car park into a beach with helter-skelter and donkey rides or a desert oasis with live camels!
Year round, take advantage of the film club, concerts and arts events and everything from salsa classes to judo. There are good pubs, proper local beer, a very active Climate Friendly group, the town has Fair Trade status and we have a dynamic Chamber of Commerce for any local business, small or large. Just done: the town pancake race. Next up: a trolley dash around the shops!
To find out whats on, try The Gudgeon, our own community magazine; my favourite article is its column from our experienced policeman on the beat. Just to reassure you.



4 Ah, shopping!


How about the weekly market, monthly farmers market, craft fairs, the lovely range of shops in the little walkway known as The Shambles? There are gift shops, quirky shops, antique shops... but also two chemists and Browns Hardware! Yes, you can buy antiques in BOA, but you can also get a can of WD40 here: BOA is not just pretty, it is practical, too.
The town has a long-standing independent bookshop, Ex Libris. Jim and Carol will get you the book you need in 24 hours. Better get your nails done at Finishing Touch Day Spa after all that rifling in your wallet. Unless you want to buy some surf or ski gear at Piha, look at the enticing products in the new Organic Pharmacie or try an organic facial at Wild Mary Ellis. Or even a bespoke wedding frock at Perfect Day? Or buy some plumbing bits and screws: did I say I was a practical kind of girl?
What about food? Find well-priced pub grub in the myriad town establishments: try tapas at Fat Fowl with its award-winning chef, Sunday lunch out at Woolley Grange hotel and restaurant (with its on-site crche) or picnics by the river and canal, the Thai Barn.
Or Mr Salvats 1700 tea rooms. Yes, you really will enter the turn of that century as its owner greets you in his best britches and takes your order with a quill pen. The Bridge Tea Rooms has won a string of plaudits; or visit our rather good fish and chip shop, Station Plaice. But there are many others. Try out our wholefood shop, Who Cares, or the excellent Cheese Shop, or Maples delicatessen in The Shambles. Just opened is a fantastic new caf, patisserie and traiteur (high-quality takeaway food), the Ale and Porter, just off Silver Street.


5 For exploring


Bradford on Avon spans both sides of the Avon, with fields, old woods and pretty terraces of houses stretching steeply up. You could walk to Avoncliffe, with its weir and aqueduct, cycle to Bath or Bristol or climb up to Browns folly just a few miles away with its beautiful view of Bath. On one side of the town, little lanes meander for miles. You could get a bit lost, but its a great place for exploring. Just up the road, there are two fine National Trust properties: Westwood Manor and The Courts at Holt. Iford Manor, with its Harold Peto gardens and fine music programme, the Castle at Farleigh Hungerford, Castle Combe, Lacock or Great Chalfield Manor.


6 For its location


We are well-served by bus and train, with a station just off the town centre. Bath is 8 miles away, Bristol 20 and the M4, for London or South Wales (or M5), less than half an hours drive. Youll be crossing the Severn Bridge after 33 miles. While Heathrow is under 2 hours away, Bristol International (snag the daily flight to Newark?) is only 26 miles from us. Frequent trains run to Bath and on to Paddington with a twice daily BOA train to Waterloo. Be on the Dorset coast in less than two hours, Swindon or Salisbury in an hour. Our Station Manager at BOA is a mine of information, we find. For secret corners
Zig zag through the footpaths of St Mary Tory and Middle Rank, with their steep flights of stone steps, get to the river along footpaths spilling over with flowers, get directions to Ex Libris secondhand book barn (not all the locals know its there), go on a Buddhist retreat, a ghost walk, glimpse an abandoned Wesleyan chapel in a garden, an old windmill, a round house, a carved frog hidden by some 18th-century stone steps, natural springs bubbling up, a hermitage, or do the well-loved Secret Gardens trail throughout the summer months. Youll just have to come and find them all! You could live in Bradford on Avon for quite a while and still discover a new way from A to B.

frock at Perfect Day? Or buy some plumbing bits and screws: did I say I was a practical kind of girl?
What about food? Find well-priced pub grub in the myriad town establishments: try tapas at Fat Fowl with its award-winning chef, Sunday lunch out at Woolley Grange hotel and restaurant (with its on-site crche) or picnics by the river and canal, the Thai Barn.
Or Mr Salvats 1700 tea rooms. Yes, you really will enter the turn of that century as its owner greets you in his best britches and takes your order with a quill pen. The Bridge Tea Rooms has won a string of plaudits; or visit our rather good fish and chip shop, Station Plaice. But there are many others. Try out our wholefood shop, Who Cares, or the excellent Cheese Shop, or Maples delicatessen in The Shambles. Just opened is a fantastic new caf, patisserie and traiteur (high-quality takeaway food), the Ale and Porter, just off Silver Street.

For exploring
Bradford on Avon spans both sides of the Avon, with fields, old woods and pretty terraces of houses stretching steeply up. You could walk to Avoncliffe, with its weir and aqueduct, cycle to Bath or Bristol or climb up to Browns folly just a few miles away with its beautiful view of Bath. On one side of the town, little lanes meander for miles. You could get a bit lost, but its a great place for exploring. Just up the road, there are two fine National Trust properties: Westwood Manor and The Courts at Holt. Iford Manor, with its Harold Peto gardens and fine music programme, the Castle at Farleigh Hungerford, Castle Combe, Lacock or Great Chalfield Manor.


7 For its location


We are well-served by bus and train, with a station just off the town centre. Bath is 8 miles away, Bristol 20 and the M4, for London or South Wales (or M5), less than half an hours drive. Youll be crossing the Severn Bridge after 33 miles. While Heathrow is under 2 hours away, Bristol International (snag the daily flight to Newark?) is only 26 miles from us. Frequent trains run to Bath and on to Paddington with a twice daily BOA train to Waterloo. Be on the Dorset coast in less than two hours, Swindon or Salisbury in an hour. Our Station Manager at BOA is a mine of information, we find. For secret corners
Zig zag through the footpaths of St Mary Tory and Middle Rank, with their steep flights of stone steps, get to the river along footpaths spilling over with flowers, get directions to Ex Libris secondhand book barn (not all the locals know its there), go on a Buddhist retreat, a ghost walk, glimpse an abandoned Wesleyan chapel in a garden, an old windmill, a round house, a carved frog hidden by some 18th-century stone steps, natural springs bubbling up, a hermitage, or do the well-loved Secret Gardens trail throughout the summer months. Youll just have to come and find them all! You could live in Bradford on Avon for quite a while and still discover a new way from A to B.


Property Shop


Davies and Davies, one of four estate agents here, suggests upwards of 215,000 for a two-bedroom period cottage, or 250,000 upwards for three bedrooms. A more modern house might set you back 250k-350k, or a 3-bedroom modern semi, 250k-275k, but its worth exploring the whole town and not just the Bath side: there are bargains to be had at 140k-180k for a substantial 3-bed house. The surrounding villages offer property at similar prices.
Tourist Information Centre: www.bradfordonavon.co.uk, 01225 865797

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