- Start: Pay and display car park at the station.
- End: Pay and display car park at the station.
- Country: England
- County: Wiltshire
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: The Cross Guns, Avoncliff; The Riverside Inn, Bradford on Avon
- Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 156, Landranger 173
- Difficulty: Medium
A waterside walk in Bradford on Avon with Jane Pitman - and some intriguing things to see along the way
A waterside walk in Bradford on Avon with Jane Pitman and some intriguing things to see along the way
i thoroughly enjoyed this walk through Barton Farm Country Park following the River Avon to the hamlet of Avoncliff, with pretty views across the weir from the magnificent aqueduct. Built between 1746 and 1788 by John Rennie, the aqueduct was constructed to carry the Kennet and Avon canal over the River Avon. The return journey is a pleasant stroll along the canal towpath, followed by a wander around the medieval farm buildings of Barton Farm, including cow byres and granary, which are home to craft shops and galleries. The tithe barn is one of the largest in England and well worth a visit.
Following the riverside walk into town, I took a short detour to visit the tiny Saxon church of St Lawrence. Inside the nave is a pair of sculpted angels high up on the east wall, and the remains of a Saxon cross above the altar. Continuing the walk, I wandered along the narrow street of The Shambles, some of these buildings date from the early medieval period. At the end of this street is the site of the old Town Hall, whipping post, pillory and stocks. Finally I walked over the Town Bridge, once a pack horse bridge but widened in 1769. The small stone building on the bridge was used as the towns lock-up and contains two cells with iron beds.
Leave the car park at the far end; follow the sign for tithe barn which leads to the River Avon and Barton Farm Country Park. Continue following the path beside the Avon and after about mile take the right-hand fork when the path splits, following the sign for Avoncliff. After a short while, go through a gate and walk across fields beside the river, eventually reaching the weir.
Turn left at the sign for Avoncliff and follow the twisting path uphill. At the top turn right onto the towpath beside the Kennet and Avon canal and continue to Avoncliff aqueduct. Turn right following the sign for Dundas, turn left just before the Cross Guns Inn and walk under the aqueduct, then turn left up steps and continue up the lane past Avoncliff car park. When the lane bears sharply to the left, keep straight ahead and go through a gate onto a footpath into a wood. Carry on up the twisting path and at the top turn left onto a footpath between houses. When you reach a lane, turn left and walk down the hill. As the lane bears to the left, take the footpath on the right and walk downhill through a wood.
At the end of the wood go through a kissing gate, walk down the field and go through another kissing gate in the left-hand corner. Keep to the left- hand edge of the field, pass through a gate and carry on along the towpath for a short distance. Cross a bridge over the canal, turn right and continue on the towpath. At the tithe barn turn left, go down steps and head back towards the river. When you reach the station car park follow the sign for riverside walk. Continue past the Riverside Inn, go through a car park, and turn left past St Margarets Hall. Cross a bridge and ahead you will see Holy Trinity Church. A short walk up Church Street takes you to the Saxon church of St Lawrence.
Retrace your steps down Church Street and turn left. Continue past Holy Trinity Church Hall, built c1500, and Abbey Mill built for the weaving industry in 1875. Cross the road and walk between shops along the narrow street of The Shambles. At the end of the street turn right, carefully cross the road the head for the Town Bridge. Carry on past the town lock-up, cross the road and continue along the main High Street back to the station car park on the right.
Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)
Time: 2 hours
Start: Pay and display car park at the station.
Grid ref: ST 824607
Map: OS Explorer 156, Landranger 173
Terrain: Field paths, towpath and minor roads
Refreshments: The Cross Guns, Avoncliff;
The Riverside Inn, Bradford on Avon
Public Transport: See www.wdbus.co.uk, or
Note: Dogs should be kept on leads