History
Avoncliff - The Secret History of an Industrial Hamlet in War and Peace

Avoncliff – The Secret History of an Industrial Hamlet in War and Peace

By Nick McCamley A thoroughly researched, well written and truly fascinating account of this diminutive Wiltshire community situated on the River Avon, Kennet and Avon Canal and Railway between Bradford on Avon and Bath. Particularly strong on social and industrial history.
Floating Community

Floating Community

Over the years that the canal has been in existence, its use has developed from the carriage of materials, the transportation of people on the ‘packet boats’ and, at the turn of the millennium, recreation and permanent residence. In the year 2000, the number of boat dwellers based at Avoncliff varied but approximately 10 boats,...
Introduction to Avoncliff

Introduction to Avoncliff

Avoncliff is a hamlet in the Parish of Westwood and comprises 27 homes (3 of which are actually in the parish of Winsley), several boat homes and a public house. The hamlet lies in the bottom of the valley formed by the River Avon and is divided into 3 sectors by the Kennet and Avon...

Avoncliff Halt – A HALT NO MORE

A lot has happened at Avoncliff Halt since the West Wiltshire Railway Users Group appeared in 1989: then we had an average of 8 ‘on request’ (of which more later) trains a day in each direction. There were no shelters, no information points, no seats, and (though we didn’t know it at the time) no...
The Railway in Avoncliff

The Railway in Avoncliff

When the railway was constructed it consisted of a single broad gauge track, the width being 7ft 1/4inch, though the cuttings, embankment and ballast were all built to take a double track of broad gauge. It was planned to open the 91/2 mile track from Bradford junction to Bathampton on 20th January, 1857, but upon...
The Old Court Hotel (Known now as Ancliff Square)

The Old Court Hotel (Known now as Ancliff Square)

The Old Court, a square horseshoe-shaped building facing north towards the river and situated at the western end of Avoncliff, was built as a group of weavers’ cottages during the late 18th century. Over the years, The Old Court has changed use from the Bradford Union Workhouse from 1836 to 1914, a convalescent home for...

Ancliff Square

1770’s – Weavers Cottages Built as a group of weavers’ cottages in the late 1770’s the building known at the turn of the millennium as Ancliff Square was in turn… the Bradford Union Work House from 1836 to 1914… a convalescent home for wounded soldiers during the 1914-18 war…a residential Hotel, known as ‘The Old...

Avoncliff Mills

There have been mills in Avoncliff from at least the sixteenth century, when a grist and fulling mill existed, under one roof, and since when it is known that a weir adjoined the mills. The mill on the Winsley side of the river had numerous owners through the centuries and in 1737 it was advertised...
Avoncliff Aqueduct

Avoncliff Aqueduct

The Aqueduct carries the canal over the River Avon and dominates the hamlet; unfortunately, its central arch sagged immediately after construction and John Rennie is said to have regretted using stone. The aqueduct consists of three arches and is 110 yards long. A stone at the top of the parapet in the bay on the...
why an Avoncliff website?

why an Avoncliff website?

Why the Avoncliff website? Well….good question. Long before this website ever existed, just in the woods on the side of the bank of the canal, there existed a strange wooden construction, made from twigs, branches all tied together to form a strange web. This was no ordinary web, this was the first ever Avoncliff website....
K&A Canal – 200 Year Anniversary

K&A Canal – 200 Year Anniversary

Buried clothes riddle solved

Buried clothes riddle solved

Buried treasure: Clare Pugh and her son Flynn (pictured above) found a hoard of hats, buckles, buttons and braces scattered around in the soil while out walking at Avoncliff. One of the more curious collections of objects brought into Finds Day was a hoard of old black felt hats, shoes, buckles, braces and buttons found...
Crossing the Ford - Avoncliff

Crossing the Ford – Avoncliff

This short clip shows the ford at Avoncliff.
Ghosts

Ghosts

The Blue Lady At a time when there were no roads to speak of in Avoncliff, folk would often use a footpath which led down from the top of the valley, behind the pub and on down to the river below. Now it just so happens, that the old footpath would have passed directly through...

The Kennet and Avon canal & Avoncliff

The Kennet and Avon canal, which passes through Avoncliff is one of the most splendid lengths of artificial waterway in Britain and is a fitting memorial to the canal age as a whole. John Rennie (1761 – 1821) is famous, among other things, for building Waterloo Bridge, London Bridge (now transported and re-built stone by...
Avoncliff Millenium Project

Avoncliff Millenium Project

To mark the start of the Millenium 2000. Avoncliff residents created a series of records, photos, drawings to record what life was like here in Avoncliff in the Year 2000. Here are just a few of the submissions.
Ancliff Down

Ancliff Down

It was on this piece of land, where the soil was deposited, that Anthony Dunsdon had the idea of using the redundant stone reservoir (which used to supply the workhouse with water) as a possible site for an underground house. He asked Hans Klaentschi, responsible for the Ancliff Square conversion to draw up plans for...
Plan of Avoncliff around 1800

Plan of Avoncliff around 1800