Pictures of Bradford-on-Avon
Beautiful old town with a rich mixture of mellow Bath stone properties to be seen along ancient winding streets. In the 'olde-worlde' atmosphere of the Shambles, some of the picturesque bay windows of the shop fronts have been replaced with todays modern sheets of glass but blessedly, many have been retained and thus, none of its charm is lost.
The town grew up around the banks of the River Avon, and to the side of the attractive multi-arched bridge spanning the river is a quaint structure which is thought to have been a Saxon chapel used by medieval pilgrims on their way to Glastonbury. The building has a surprising history, it is thought it may at one time have been used as the town lock-up. It is easily noticed because of its odd shape and the fish-shaped weather vane hanging above. Also close to the river you can see St.Margaret's Hall, an elegant building from the 18th-century which was originally built as a dyers house but is now put to good use as a community centre.
The town owes its former reputation as a centre for cloth to the Dutch weavers who settled here. Over the centuries the town grew prosperous, with as many as thirty mills and factories producing beautiful woven cloth. Little remains from these times save for the Abbey Mill over-looking the river, it was built in the 19th-century and with the demise of the industry it has been renovated to make comfortable retirement flats. A short walk from the town takes you to the famous 14th-century tithe barn, one of the largest in England.
The graceful spire of 15th-century Holy Trinity Church dominates the horizon from most parts of the town. It is a lovely place of worship with a serene atmosphere and many treasures. These include an excellent Jacobean Rood Screen, brasses and memorials, whilst in the churchyard lie graves and tombs covering several centuries, some belonging to noted local town-folk.
Colourful narrow boats and other sailing craft crowd the waters of the Kennet and Avon Canal. In recent years there has been a renewed interest in 'messing around on the river' and this attractive part of the canal is popular with visitors and locals. For those who do not have their own boat there is the option of an organised pleasure trip or boat hire. Once aboard, a wealth of lovely riverscapes open up as the boat passes the reeded banks of stunning water-meadows. There is plenty of wild-life to admire as well grazing cattle and sheep.
Shopping here is a pleasant experience, the town has delightful specialist shops, boutiques and galleries as well as the usual general stores and supermarkets. There are attractive pubs and old coaching inns in the area, lively cafe's and interesting restaurants. Much of the pleasure here lies in walking around the town, admiring its treasure-trove of quaint weavers cottages and other splendid buildings. There are scenic riverside and canal tow-path walks and in the surrounding countryside you will find a host of fascinating attractions ranging from colourful gardens to rambling stately homes.
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