Footpaths & Stiles

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


footpath, Upper Bearfiled, Bradford on Avon

Footpath from Great Ashley to Upper Bearfield, Bradford on Avon

The network of footpaths has grown up over hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of years and once were the only links between the settlements within the old Hundred of Bradford and linking them to the rest of the country too. Some would have been important enough to have been upgraded to the present roads, while others may have developed as a response to toll charges on those roads in the era of turnpike trusts. Some may just have happened because people on one farm frequently visited relations on another.

stone stile, Ashley, Winsley, Bradford on Avon

Stiles, ancient and modern, at Great Ashley, Winsley

Whereas old lanes go around the boundaries of fields, footpaths tend to cross them and stiles were needed to enter enclosed fields, while keeping the livestock from straying. In the limestone upland country around Bradford on Avon, Bath and other places in the Cotswold Hills, stiles were commonly large flat slabs of stone, standing on a long edge, often with steps on each side.

Two long-distance footpaths cross the area of the Bradford on Avon Hundred, both of them passing through the town. The Kennet & Avon Canal Towpath allows walking from Bradford to Bath and Bristol in the west and Reading and London to the east. The Macmillan Way connects Abbotsbury in Dorset and Barnstaple in North Devon with Boston in Lincolnshire (346 miles from Barnstaple to Boston).

A local initiative, Bradford on Avon Walkers Are Welcome, has designed the ‘Bradford Walking Wheel‘ – a network of walks with an outer circle of 22 miles, inner circle of 5 miles and radiating spokes connecting them.


Guide books

Clive Brown 2010. Walking close to Bradford-on-Avon

Roger Jones 1982. Where Wiltshire meets Somerset


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