Box is located about 5 miles east of Bath & 6 miles west of Chippenham and was the childhood home of Thomas the Tank engine creator, Rev W.V Audrey. One of the most famous landmarks is Box tunnel, built by Brunel in the nineteenth century. There is an excellent primary school, rated ‘Outstanding ‘by Ofsted, a doctor’s surgery, chemist, local shop, post office, butchers, the Northey Arms and Queen’s Head as well as a very popular Indian restaurant. The Birdhouse café is nice to walk down to for tea and cake. At the top of the hill is the Rudloe Arms, a Marco Pierre White hotel and restaurant. Box has a thriving sports and social club scene centred on the village sports pavilion and Selwyn Hall. Societies and sporting opportunities include choral singing, flower arranging, bowls, cricket, football and tennis. There are two tennis courts in the village and can be booked through the post office for a very small fee. The area is also a renowned mountain biking and horse riding area with a bridle path network that goes on for miles and miles of glorious Cotswold countryside. Box has its own music festival, Box Revels and Box Rocks.
Freshford is about 5 miles south-east of Bath and is ideally situated for access for Bath and Bradford on Avon, and further afield by A36 and A303. It is located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and is a highly sought after village. Freshford has a school, rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, two churches, a pub/restaurant, a doctor’s surgery and a local train station. The village shop is well stocked, with a fantastic cafe for meeting up with friends. There is a bus stop which is handy for older children to travel independently into Bath. There are some splendid walks too. The canal is not too far away and walking from the sixteenth century Inn at Freshford to the Cross Guns at Avoncliff for a pie and a pint is a pleasure.
Colerne is about 3.5 miles west of the town of Corsham and 7 miles northeast of the city of Bath. The village of Colerne is very vibrant. There are two good pubs, ‘The Fox and Hounds’ and ‘The Six Bells’, a post office, newsagents, village shop, florists, hairdressers. The primary school has a ‘Good’ Ofsted report and is really well regarded. There is also a pop-up café in the parish offices. Lucknam Park, the Georgian country house hotel and spa, is about a mile away and there are amazing country walks. A good walk is down the hill and cut back to Ford, ending up in the White Hart there. You can also walk down to Box and as far as Bradford on Avon following the river. The cycling round Colerne is brilliant too.
Bitton is a beautiful village halfway between Bath & Bristol, at the foot of the Cotswold’s with a stunning 11thC Church. There is a brilliant community feel. Good pubs are nearby with the Swan in Swineford and the Upton Inn at Upton Cheyney. The village is very convenient for supermarket shopping: Waitrose is in Keynsham nearby and all the DIY stores are in Longwell Green as is the Leisure centre. Keynsham has a station, 2.2. miles away, so it is easy to get in to Bath and Bristol. There is a beautiful eleventh century church, St Mary’s, in the village and there are many events held there. The Church Fete is a major village event with a dog show and ever popular egg throwing contest. There is a Gardening Club, History Society, Flicks in the Sticks, Community Choir and a very active community in the village. The country walks round Bitton are stunning, with river walks and walks along the Cotswold Way, and there is also the well-known cycle track which goes in to Bath.
Kelston is a small village 4 miles (6.4 km) north west of Bath, and 8 miles (12.9 km) east of Bristol, on the A431 road. It is situated just north of the River Avon, close to the Kelston and Saltford locks. The village is dominated by Kelston Park, built in 1760s by John Wood, the Younger, for Sir Caesar Hawkins, who was the physician to the King. The churchyard at Kelston is the burial place of Sir John Harington, inventor of the flush toilet (water closet), the first model of which he installed at Richmond Palace for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. The pub is the very successful Crown a traditional country pub with contemporary craft flavour, and there are many superb country walks from the village. Bath Soft Cheese has a café and provides delicious lunches and teas and has a playground for children.
Bathford is six miles from Bath Spa train station and is in a lovely rural area with delightful views and easy access to Kingsdown Golf Club. The Crown pub is at the bottom of Bathford Hill, and in a commanding position at the top of Bathford Hill is the village Post Office and general stores which is a community shop with a paid manager but staffed by volunteers from the locality. Bathford has a number of large houses or mansions dating from the eighteenth century including Titan Barrow, Rock House, Eagle House, Sycamore House, and Bathford Manor. In the north of the parish stands Shockerwick House, a grade one listed mansion built in the 1750s by John Wood the Elder, now a BUPA Care home. In the south, Warleigh Manor nestles in the valley close to the river Avon. The village school has an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating.
The Parish of Wellow lies three miles south of the city of Bath and five miles north east of Radstock. Wellow is perceived by many as one of the prettiest and most sought after Bath villages with its honey coloured cottages and its situation in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Wellow has a popular village pub, the Fox and Badger, and a community run shop and post office. St Julian’s Church School has a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating. The Wellow Trekking centre has fabulous views and an excellent reputation among pony lovers. The Wellow bridge over the brook into the village was crossed by medieval packhorses and in World War II the Wellow valley became part of the GHQ stop line green, with defences intended to isolate southern England in the event of German invasion. The remains of several type 24 pillboxes and anti-tank cubes can be found in various riverside locations in the village. Peter Blake lived in the village until 1979.
Norton St Philip is just 7.4 miles from the centre of Georgian Bath. The seven hundred year old George Inn is an upmarket hotel with fine food. The Fleur de Lys pub in the village is also very well known. There is an excellent Co-op which has a post office too, and the village also has a very good garage. There is an active village community, with an Amateur Dramatics Society, a Film Club, a Cricket Club with a superb pitch, and a very well attended Bonfire Night on the Church Mead. The village school has a Good Ofsted rating and goes from pre-school to age 9. There are bus services in to the private and state schools of Bath and to Frome every half an hour, and Bristol airport is 22.4 miles away. The village of Norton St Philip was a thriving cloth and wool trading centre in medieval times, with its own fair and charter market, and the beautiful fourteenth century church, St Philip and St James. The village is surrounded by farms, and nearby is the excellent Farleigh Road farm shop.
South Stoke is a sought after village with a strong community spirit, 3.5 miles from the centre of Bath. The village benefits from ‘No Through Traffic’ but Bath is easily accessible with its excellent facilities, shops and schools nearby. The bus stop is conveniently in the centre of the village with buses going into town and the Bath Bus Station on a regular basis. The village pub, The Packhorse, is a wonderful hub of the village and has a stunning garden and excellent food. This community pub has been in the media spotlight recently for its incredibly successful community fundraising, extension and renovation and re-opening in March 2018. The village holds a traditional village fete every two years and a village summer barbeque on alternate years. There is an active church, St James’s, with a family service once a month and the Village Hall offers Art Classes, Singing Groups, Pilate Classes and History Lectures. The community also pulls together to host seasonal events – for example Harvest Festival and Christmas Canapes. The views from South Stoke are stunning and there are incredible countryside walks around.
Bathampton lies two miles east of the city of Bath and the River Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal pass through the village. Batheaston can be reached via a toll bridge. Bathampton is the site of the last legal duel in England and also from 1900- 1983 the location of the Harbutt company, inventors and makers of Plasticine. Bathampton Pre School is in the village hall and has been rated ‘Good’. The Primary School is one of the best in Bath and is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. The George Inn is a big lively pub on Mill Lane, just by the river. The Bathampton Mill has great outdoor seating and a varied menu. There are many good walks along the canal and in Bathampton Wood, Bathwick Wood, and Hengrove Wood. There is a strong community with an annual Festival weekend with an Under 12 hat show and a barn dance.
Combe Down, with its own convenience store and deli, has an authentic village atmosphere despite the fact it's only a mile and a half from Bath Spa train station (a pleasant walk or easy bus ride), and the city centre. Prior Park Landscape Garden (National Trust) and Rainbow Woods are nearby, and Combe Down has its own nursery, primary school with a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, park, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries and pharmacy. It is within the catchment area of Ralph Allen, the ‘Outstanding’ state secondary school, private school Prior Park College and Bath University is just along the road, together with Bath Clinic (private healthcare facility), Combe Grove Country Club and several excellent pubs and restaurants. The village also has its own rugby club, Combe Down RFC. Ancient lanes lead between the houses and gardens, making it easy to stay off the main roads. To the south of the village is open countryside with spectacular views over the Midford Valley. The Combe Down tunnel re-opened in 2013 is now a cycling and walking tunnel – the longest in Britain – and along with the shorter Devonshire Tunnel is known as the Two Tunnels Greenway.
Nestled in the Cotswolds 7 miles from Bath and 7 miles from Bristol, Upton Cheyney is a highly desirable village. Many of the properties there have outstanding views across the valley and even as far as the Severn bridge. Manor Farm offers scrumptious breakfasts, delicious lunches and homemade cake as well as a well-stocked farm shop and occasional evening entertainments. The Upton Inn is the friendly village pub. Although only a small village, the community spirit is strong and there is an annual village fete with tug of war and other country activities. There is a chilli farm and the hottest chilli festival in the South West. The village has very good access to M4, which is 7.1 miles away.
Combe Hay is in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is 4 miles from the centre of Bath. Come Hay was listed in The Domesday Book in 1085. The village appeared in the Ealing Comedy ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’, but since then the canal and railway have gone. However, the valley and its people remain as an example of a surviving English village, in fact it was named as one of the most desirable villages in England by The Times. The Wheatsheaf pub was built in sixteenth century and has been welcoming guests with excellent food, real ale and fine wine ever since the eighteenth century. The village includes a church with a 15th-century tower, the Georgian Combe Hay Manor and Georgian Rectory.
Situated at the foot of Solsbury Hill, made famous by local resident Peter Gabriel, the village of Batheaston nestles at the end of the Cotswold Way, 2 miles east of Bath, (which is believed to be the origin of the name), on the north bank of the River Avon. The river provides fishing and boat rides into Bath from the Mill pub. The Kennet and Avon canal is nearby with the very popular ’George’ pub by the water. One of the UK's best wild swimming sites, Claverton Weir, is within cycling distance. There are several grand houses in the village, including Eagle House, remodelled by John Wood the architect in 1729, and also the refuge of some of the most famous suffragettes, including Emmeline Pankhurst, who helped establish an arboretum in the village as a symbol of the suffragettes' hopes for political equality. A Post office, cafe, pubs, traditional English fish and chip shop, mini supermarket, chemist, newsagent and hairdresser can all be found in the village. A mile from Batheaston is the 'Barn', with a range of ciders on offer and an eclectic range of artisan shops. A recent addition has been a bridge across the river Avon near the shops in Batheaston to a riverside path which goes all the way into Bath: a fabulous walk or cycle ride. Batheaston Primary School has a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.
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