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.  However,  it has chosen 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 including 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! Our major cities, Bristol and Bath, exist where they are now because of the river, as communities initially settled alongside it for drinking water, as a defence in battle and for trade, to name but a few reasons. There are also many towns along the length of the river including Malmesbury, Chippenham, Melksham, Bradford-On-Avon and Keynsham as well as smaller settlements at Saltford, Avoncliffe, Freshford and Claverton which will be familiar names to many train passengers.

The river and its banksides provide important habitats for birds, insects and fish. Trees, reeds 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 and, for the very lucky, the otter or water vole.

The River Avon near Bath:Beth McNally/ Instagram@EnglishCountryHouse


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 all 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.