Tell us a bit about Bradford on Avon and its history.

Bradford on Avon is a very distinctive town, with beautiful architecture in a glorious rural setting and two waterways – the river Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal, which both weave through the town. It has a proud industrial heritage and remains a working town today. In its own way, the town represents the story of the Industrial Revolution. Its weaving industry began in people’s own homes – the weavers’ cottages that characterise the hillside – before moving into the larger mill buildings when mechanisation arrived.

Dog Paddleboarding Bradford on Avon

Cloth making was replaced as the town’s main livelihood around the mid-19th century by rubber-making, with Spencer Moulton and then Avon Rubber being a major employer at the heart of the town before closing in 1992.  The town still has advanced manufacturing businesses, now located at the edge of town, but also many home-based workers – back in the weavers’ cottages – working in a range of sectors, as well as many artists and musicians, creating a strong cultural scene.  The town is home to the Wiltshire Music Centre and to a series of festivals from the popular Green Man and Bradford Roots festivals to a new town council organised summer live music festival. 

Locally produced art, jewellery and other products can be bought at the Made in Bradford shop and other local outlets. Bradfordians are proud of their town and its environment, as shown by the strong support for the newly installed Living Green Wall, a community project supported by the town council right in the town centre. 

Tell us a little bit about your role and what you like best about being Mayor...

Fundamentally, it’s about supporting the community and the activities that people are involved in – so I accept all the invitations I can, whether it’s to a charity or school event, the opening of something or to present prizes at something such as our popular Flower and Produce show. 

I also represent the town at events I’m invited to in other local towns which is a good opportunity to share experiences with others across Wiltshire. As Mayor, I’m also Chair of the town council which involves chairing the Full Council meetings and working with other councillors and town council staff to ensure we are doing the best we can for residents with the budget we have. I hugely enjoy the variety in the role. Although it’s a voluntary position, it keeps me busy and no one day is the same.

Bradford on Avon Tree Planting Poulton Park

Over this past year, for example, activities I’ve been involved in have included the opening of our new skatepark, stewarding at our town fireworks display, attending the opening, by HRH the Princess Royal, of the firefly woods at Dorothy House and taking part in a council organised community tree planting event. I especially value doing what I can to support volunteers across a range of groups, who do so much to support our community. 

Tell us what people can expect if they choose to visit Bradford on Avon

Whether arriving by train, bus or car, visitors are immediately well placed to take advantage of all Bradford on Avon has to offer. The first thing a visitor is likely to see is our spectacular hillside of weavers’ cottages and our ancient town bridge complete with its lock up.

Bradford on Avon Autumn

Within a few minutes you can be wandering around our great array of independent shops or having coffee or lunch in one of our many cafes, pubs or restaurants. If you want help and advice you can pop into the Tourist Information Centre in Westbury Garden.  Or take a different direction and in moments you can be at our 14th century Tithe Barn and then wander through the Barton Farm Country Park into the Avon valley beyond with a choice of paths beside the canal and the river.

Don’t miss the town’s museum, which is based in the library and the Saxon church of St Laurence. There’s plenty going on in the evenings too with the Wiltshire Music Centre at the top of the hill and both Holy Trinity Church and St Margaret’s Hall serving as great venues for a range of concerts and other events.  Meanwhile pubs such as The Three Horseshoes put on rock bands. There’s no shortage of options for dinner either, with some top quality restaurants. All in all, Bradford on Avon is perfect for a short stay, with plenty to fill a few days. 

Tell us why people should choose to visit Bradford on Avon during their visit to Wiltshire, and what makes it special.

The town has so much to offer. Of course, Wiltshire has many beautiful, market towns with their own unique characteristics, but I recommend any visitor to Wiltshire or Bath to take the time to visit Bradford on Avon. I think what adds to its special feel is that it is on a fairly small scale, with most places of interest within a short walk and the whole character of the town being infused with history, old world charm and modern world vibrancy.  

Bradford on Avon Gill in the Green - Colin Rayner Photography
Credit Colin Rayner Photography

Where are your personal favourite places to visit in Bradford on Avon and why?

When I just fancy a quick walk and a chance to take in the scenery, I love to walk along the path called Tory to the Chapel of St Mary Tory. I can’t think of anywhere quite like this rank of cottages, and the views across Wiltshire towards Salisbury Plain are tremendous. I also really enjoy shopping in the town centre, whether it’s buying ingredients for the evening meal, looking for a bargain in the excellent charity shops or browsing for Christmas and birthday presents.

Finally, we have a number of special churches, all of which have strong communities and provide calming places to spend a few moments. Holy Trinity Church shows how a historic building can be made relevant to the needs of the contemporary community. Our children were welcomed into the church there as babies and over the years since it has been wonderful to see the amazing restoration project which has had a transformational impact, enabling the building to be shared much more by the community and used for a wide range of events as well as still being a valued place of worship. 

Do you have any hidden gems in Wiltshire that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think Wiltshire itself is a hidden gem. So often, people drive through our county to reach Devon or Cornwall without appreciating what Wiltshire has to offer, from the fine city of Salisbury to so many traditional market towns and some very special and varied scenery.

Bradford on Avon Kennet and Avon Canal

The market towns are all different but each one has interesting historical buildings, independent shops and lovely green spaces. I know the ones in West Wiltshire better – such as Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury, Warminster and Devizes – but there are many more, all worth exploring. Then there are just too many little villages to name, each with a different feel, but worth visitors discovering for themselves. Then we have Longleat which is a wonderful cross between a stately home, country estate and safari park and a number of National Trust properties such as Stourhead and Lacock, all of which are historically fascinating and stunningly beautiful, in whichever season you visit.  




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  6. Vinny
    Very cool article, you've described everything so well and fully that I don't even have any questions. All that remains is to enjoy what you are doing and contemplate these majestic buildings that bring with them the spirit of that era, which still carries the grandeur of centuries. By the way, I recently travelled to a Scottish town and saw a manor house of incredible beauty. Frankly speaking, I have never seen such beauty before, so I think I should definitely write an article about it.
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    Bradford on Avon's rich tapestry of history and culture is as unique and diverse as the music tastes revealed by Obscurify. Just as this charming town offers a blend of traditional and contemporary experiences, Obscurify provides a fascinating insight into one's musical preferences, highlighting the eclectic and sometimes obscure nature of our listening habits. It's delightful to discover that both the town and the tool celebrate the individuality and diversity that make life so interesting. Check out to see how your Spotify favorites measure up and to find new, off-the-beaten-path tunes that resonate with Bradford on Avon's distinctive vibe.

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