The River Avon

Bradford’s river is generally distinguished from other Avons as the Bristol Avon. The name derives from Welsh afon, which simply means river.

Its course is unusual. It begins as several streams flowing east down the dip slope of the Cotswold Hills. They should really join the upper Thames, but the Avon turns to the SW following a vale cut in soft clay. Just above Bradford it is a mature river meandering in a wide shallow valley, but then turns NW and cuts a series of narrow steep-sided gorge-like valleys. The first, from Bradford to Bath cuts right through the Cotswold Hills; the second from Keynsham to Bristol cuts through the Coal Measures of the Kingswood Forest; the third is best known: the Clifton Gorge beyond Bristol, with its cliffs of hard Carboniferous Limestone.

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