About the Rivers
The Bristol Avon could be just 19 miles long as this is how far it is between its source at Acton Turville in South Gloucestershire to the Severn Estuary. It has chosen however to take a slightly longer route through Wiltshire and takes a 75 mile course to the sea at Avonmouth. This extended journey makes the Bristol Avon the 19th longest river in the UK.
Along its journey the Avon meets a number of tributaries amongst which are the river Marden, Somerset Frome , River Chew, and smaller streams such as the By Brook , Brinkworth Brook and the River Trym. You will know many more. The river has drawn communities towards it over many years and boasts two cities – Bristol and Bath along its banks as well as many towns including Malmesbury, Chippenham, Melksham, Bradford-On-Avon and Keynsham as well as smaller settlements at Saltford, Avoncliffe, Freshford and Claverton which must be familiar names to many train passengers.
Despite its short length the river and its banksides provide important habitat for animals, birds, insects and fish. Trees, reeds, lilies and many other plants grow in and along the river creating a diverse and beautiful refuge for many river users as well as a home to wildlife. Even in urban settings there is more to see than meets the eye and those who stand and stare are often rewarded with the sight of kingfishers and dragonflies, herons and, for the very lucky, the otter.
From source to sea, the River Avon is under constant pressure. This may be due to agriculture ( to feed us), flood management ( to protect us), abstraction (to supply our water), effluent ( from systems that treat our sewage and from industry), or just by our using it for leisure and recreation purposes. There are other problems too, but they are mainly as a result of the pressures we place on the river. These pressures will not go away and will increase as the populations of all our local towns and cities increase. The Bristol Avon Rivers Trust recognises these pressures and aims to use innovative and natural approaches to protecting and improving the river wherever it can with the support of landowners, river users and local communities.