Local Guide: Freshford
Situated in the county of Somerset, Freshford is a small village and civil parish buried six miles south-east of Bath, with a population of just over 550 residents.
A Brief History of Freshford
Freshford dates back to Saxon times, with a mill existing in the area as early as 1086; the remains of a mill thought to be constructed during the 1540s still stands in the village to this day.
Originally part of the Bath Forum, 19th century Freshford saw freestone and fuller’s earth mined in abundance. Employment boomed within breweries and industries such as the operation of malt-kins and the manufacturing of cloth, with weaving in particular being of great importance, as observed from the now derelict site of Freshford Mill.
The mill is a notable site of interest within the village, home to a mixture of buildings dating as far back as the 17th century, made from natural stone, clay tile, and slate. The site even contains several protected species of bat.
Freshford is unique in its lack of house numbers, which are replaced instead with names. This was commented on in the Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt, which was filmed locally during 1952 with Freshford acting as a quaint, idyllic English village backdrop.
Location of Freshford
The village of Freshford sits right within the valley of the River Avon at the point where it joins the River Frome. Across the Avon valley, the Kennet and Avon Canal is visible from Freshford, but the nearest crossings only occur at Avoncliff and Limpley Stoke.
Covered in lush green spaces, Freshford is part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) within the green belt. The village centre is also a conservation area, created during 1975 and extended in 2007.
The village includes the smaller hamlets of Friary, Sharpstone, Park Corner, Woodside, and Staples Hill, which are all separated from the centre of Freshford by several hundred metres of open fields.
Sights to See
Freshford is home to many sites of historical interest, such as the Freshford Manor which dates back to the 18th-century. The manor was built on the site of an even earlier house, Pittes Place, which dates from before 1603. Most of the village’s architecture was constructed from the local oolitic limestone.
There are also several religious buildings, including the 15th-century St Peter’s Church which has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II listed building. The village’s 18th-century Methodist Chapel was opened by John Wesley, who preached there several times and even mentioned the site in his famous journals.
The Freshford Bridge, which dates back to the early to mid 16th century, stretches directly over the River Frome, a beautiful spot to take in the stunning natural scenes.
There is also a war memorial which stands in the village, commemorating the 17 men from Freshford who died in World War I and World War II.
Things to Do
The Inn, Freshford’s local pub (and not actually an inn), sits beside the River Frome, and is a tranquil spot to sit and listen to its regular live jazz nights which invite both professional and amateur musicians to come and play.
There is also the Freshford Village Memorial Hall, which hosts events, arts classes, sporting matches, and theatrical productions. Situated on Freshford Lane, the hall and the adjacent playing fields are owned by a local charity which is run by a management committee of trustees.
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