The golden town of Bradford on Avon sits at the southern edge of the Cotswolds, surrounded by glorious countryside. It is no wonder that our incredible town has drawn people in since the Iron Age.
The Saxons drove their carts across the broad ford – which gave the town its name. To this day you can follow their path on your way to the Tithe Barn which English Heritage describes as:
“One of the largest medieval barns in England and architecturally one of the finest.”
Wander back into town along the canal or riverside and you can’t miss the superb town bridge – parts of which date back to the 13th century – that replaced the ford.
In the centre of its nine arches is a medieval pilgrim chapel which was later converted into a lock up for undesirables.
The town council hold the keys and now it is only open to visitors on Heritage Open Days.
Wool and weaving were Bradford on Avon’s staple industries for 600 years.
The mechanisation of the wool industry in the late 18th century saw the construction of the great mills that still dominate the town’s architecture, along with the rows – or ranks – of weavers’ cottages lining the hillsides and streets, punctuated by the grand houses of wealthy clothiers.
The town is well connected by road, rail and water to other nearby tourist destinations making it the perfect place to visit, whether for just a day or as a base for your stay in the south west.
As the wool industry declined – largely due to industrialisation and large-scale mills in the north – it was replaced by pioneering rubber works from 1848.
The rubber industry flourished in the town until 1994 and formed another of the architectural layers that give Bradford on Avon such a unique identity.
To find out more about our history why not check out the Bradford on Avon Museum.