Let’s Move to Bradford on Avon

PUBLISHED: 11:16 17 March 2008 | UPDATED: 15:04 20 February 2013

The medieval town gaol on the bridge

The medieval town gaol on the bridge

Editor, Malcolm Twigg, says that a picturesque gaol may not be a good reason to move to Bradford on Avon, but there are others, a central location to two shopping centres and good rail links being but two. It's also home to the celebrated Wiltshir...

On the edge of the Cotswolds, Bradford on Avon is the quintessential picture postcard town, full of buildings of character and, if I had to spend a night banged up, then I would prefer it to be here in Bradford's old medieval jail. Located on the ancient bridge which replaced the original 'broad ford' across the River Avon, this is as picturesque a place of detention as you could hope to find, with river views to boot. It is believed to have replaced a medieval chapel that once stood there (which, in turn, probably harked back to pagan propitiation rites to the river spirits and, with the river in full flood when I was there, you can readily understand why).

Transport Links

With the A303/A6 to the south and the M4 to the north, road links to the rest of the county and the Capital are excellent. Wiltshire's main roads are generally wide and free-moving, so movement throughout the county is relatively easy and, with its own railway station - now 150 years old - on the main Wessex Line and serviced by First Great Western and South West trains, it is useful to have rail links so close to hand.

Arts and Leisure

Bradford on Avon is a lively, hands-on, sort of place. There's an annual Arts Festival in September and a thriving arts and music scene throughout the year. The Wiltshire Music Centre is more than just a concert hall, it's also a celebrated educational centre for music, and there's an active Recorded Music Society amongst other local societies, including the Bradfordians Dramatic society. The Kennet and Avon Canal runs by the town with boating and cycling opportunities for people who like an active outdoors life.

Famous For

In a town full of memorable buildings, Bradford is particularly famous for its Saxon Church, one of but a few original Saxon churches in the country.

Another of Bradford's claims to fame is that England rugby player, Will Carling, was born here.

The iconic Moulton bicycles were invented and manufactured here.

Out and About

With fast road links Bowood House, Lacock Abbey and the delightfully unspoilt village of Lacock itself, are soon reached. As is Stourhead House and Gardens. Avebury Stone Circle and Oldbury Camp are amongst some of the ancient prehistoric relics close to hand, not to mention Stonehenge itself. Longleat House and Safari Park are close by and the town of Bath with its Roman Spa is just twenty minutes away.


Trowbridge, with its two modern shopping centres, is just a stone's throw away, with Bath in neighbouring Somerset just a little further off. But Bradford itself is a compact and distinctive shopping centre in its own right, full of specialist shops that compliment their very special setting, with The Shambles forming an even more compact centre all of its own. Antiques, ladies' fashion, lingerie and designer gowns, homeopathy and fair trade goods epitomise just some of the shopping trends in Bradford.

Eating Out

Lovers of Thai food will make straight for The Thai Barn overlooking the market place (01225) 866443,. Traditional English fare is served at the Bridge Victorian Tea Rooms and Restaurant (01225) 865537 with the Georgian Lodge restaurant completing the parade of eating houses on this side of the river (01225) 862268. There are a number of pubs serving food and, further afield, try Woolley Grange Hotel or Bishopstrow House for fine dining.

Sport and Recreation

There are 99 clubs listed offering anything from archery to badminton, canoeing to cycling and lots of other less strenuous and more cerebral activities.

Health and Education

The town boasts one dental surgery, two doctors' surgeries and a Health Centre, with more clinical facilities further afield in Trowbridge. Hospitals are located in Bath and Trowbridge. With nine pre-school/nursery schools, six Primary schools, a Church of England and a Comprehensive School in town or close by, there's no shortage of education in Bradford. Adult education is found in Wilts College in nearby Trowbridge (01225) 766241 with the Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford also catering for musical education.

What can I get for my money?

The rental market seems to be well served in Bradford on Avon. The cheapest new property I saw to buy started at around £137,000 for a retirement apartment in one of the redeveloped mill complexes. Higher up the price range Cobb and Farr (01225) 866111were offering a 3/4 bedroom and a 4 bedroom town house in a quality riverside development at Greenland Mills for £382,500 and £385,000 respectively. Alternatively the same agency had a delightful double fronted Georgian cottage with large level gardens in a rural location for £445,000.

Could you Live here?

Little Underwood on Frome Road is a late Victorian 4 bedroom semi-detached property set in a plot of approx one third of an acre with large mature and level gardens to the front and rear and off-street parking for several cars. It is within level walking distance of the town centre and the railway station and there is a former coach house at the rear presenting the potential for further accommodation subject to planning permission.

The house is on the market with Cobb and Farr at £675,000 (01225) 866111

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