River Avon

The name Avon is derived from an ancient Celtic word 'Afon' which simply means 'river' [1]. There are five rivers in England named 'Avon', three in Scotland and one in Wales.


The most famous of the English Avons is probably that associated with Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire. That example may have influenced the choice of names for roads constructed here in Stratford sub Castle during the 20th century - Shakespeare Road, Verona Road, Capulet Road, Warwick Close - as part of new housing developments.


There are two sources for the Salisbury Avon, one near Pewsey, some 30 miles north of Stratford sub Castle and a second east of Devizes. They merge at Upavon and continue on a 60 mile journey passing close to the Stonehenge Landscape, then flowing between the Woodford and Durnford valleys before passing to the west of Stratford sub Castle, on through the centre of Salisbury towards Hampshire and ultimately, Christchurch Harbour and the English Channel. Much of its length is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[2]  The Salisbury Avon has more species of fish than any other British river [3].

All the significant direct and indirect tributaries of the Avon, including the Nadder, Wylye, Bourne & Ebble converge within a short distance around Salisbury. [1]

google map Pewsey to Christchurch.png
20200415_114608_001 (1).jpg

The Avon at Stratford Bridge

google map ssc.jpg

Mill Leat


From the Woodford Road, two channels of the Avon flow south with the water meadows patterns between them [WM]. That on the west passing under the Avon bridge is wiggly, the more easterly passing under Stratford Bridge is straight.

The straighter line to the east is manmade, it is the mill leat, running at a higher level (head) than the western channel, which we cannot say has never been altered by man but is the more natural river course.


Kerry O’Connor

February 2022

Aerial Image Google Earth

[WM] Details of the local water meadows are here

Stratford's Historic Water Meadows by Jim Platt 

Mil Leat pic 2.jpg
Mill Leat pic 1.jpg

'Ebb & Flow' is a video produced by Wessex Archaeology for the Council for British Archaeology (CBA)

Festival of Archaeology in 2020.

(This was a virtual Festival due to Covid-19 restrictions.) 


With a theme 'Climate and Environment', the video records a discussion between Geoarchaeologist Claire Mellett and Artist James Aldridge as they walk alongside the River Avon from the outskirts of Stratford sub Castle into and then through, Salisbury. [WA]


Click the image to view the Wessex Archaeology webpage for more information and to access this and other related videos.

[WA] https://www.wessexarch.co.uk/our-work/ebb-flow

Accessed 17/1/21

EBB & FLOW Festival of Archaeology 2020
Claire Explaining  (1).jpg