There are eightRiver AvonssituatedwithinGreat Britain.

The name Avon, comes from the Brythonic language and stems fromits word for river,abona.

Brythonic was an ancient, insular Celtic language of the British Isles spoken between the Iron Age (1200 BC) and the fifth century, by a race of people calledBritons.

Thewords River Avon actually mean River River, which is a tautology, the mergence of two words that mean the same thing, takenfrom two different languages.

There are four River Avons in England, three River Avons in Scotland and one River Avon in Wales, although this Welsh river is spelt Afan, but pronounced in just the same way.

The Welsh word for river is Afon,also prounounced inthe same way as avon, meaning River Avon in Welshis calledAfon Afan,another tautology, also meaning River River.


1.)Both the longest English and the longest British River Avon, this river travels for eighty five miles through the English counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, from it's source at Naseby in Northamptonshire until it merges with the River Severn at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.

This River Avon is also known as theWarwickshire Avon- as it travels through more of that countythan any other - orShakespeare's Avon- as it travels through WilliamShakespeare's birthplaceof Stratford - upon - Avon. It ishere at Stratford that the river connects with the Stratford and Avon Canal.

2.)The second English River Avon also known as theLower Avon or Bristol Avont ravels for seventy miles from its source at Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire until it merges with the River Severn Estuary at Avonmouth near the city ofBristol.

This river runs through theEnglish counties of Gloucestershire,Wiltshire and Somerset,the cities of Bristol and Bath andmerges with the River Kennet at Bath to form part of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

3.)English River Avon number three isa sixty mile long river which rises in Pewsey, Wiltshire and travels through the counties of Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset on England's south coast before draining into the English Channel at Mudeford in Dorset.

This river is synonomous for havingmore species of fish than any other British river.

4.)English River Avon number four is the baby of the family, situated soley in the county of Devon and isonly seven miles long.

The river rises on the moorlands of Dartmoor National Park and flows southwards towards the south Devon coastal town of Bigbury - on - Sea, where the tinyriver drains into the English Channel.

Britain's longest River Avon, at Stratford - upon - Avon, Warwickshire.


1.)The longest River Avon in Scotland is the forty mile long river that rises at the foothills ofBen MacDui then travels for ten miles before entering the remote and isolatedLoch Avon, situated 3,700 feet up on the Cairngormplateauin the Cairngorms National Park. The rivertravels onthrough the Forest ofGlenavonandtheHighlandvillages of Tomintoul and Strathavon before joining the River Spey at Ballindalloch in Banffshire.

This River Avon is the largerRiver Spey's longest tributary and is considered to be Scotland's best salmon river.

2.)Scottish River Avon number two is a twenty four mile long tributary of the River Clyde also known asAvon Water.This river rises near the town ofIrvine in Ayreshire and flows in a north easterly direction before merging with the River Clyde between thetwo Lanarkshire towns of Hamilton and Motherwell.

3.)Scottish River Avon number three rises at Cumbernault in Lanarkshire and travels just eleven miles through the towns of Falkirk, Avonbridge and Avongorge before draining into the Firth of Forth at Grangemouth on Scotland's east coast.

The 810 foot long by 86 foot high,Avon Aqueductdesigned by Thomas Telford and built between 1818and 1822 - the largestof it's kindin Scotland and thesecond largest in Britain - carries the thirty one and a half mile longUnion Canal over this River Avon,located outside the town ofLinlithgow inWest Lothian.


The Welsh River Avon, also known as Afon Afan, rises in the village of Cymer in theVale of Glamorgan and travels southwesterlythrough the Afan Forest and Afan Argoed Country Parkfor just fourteen miles before reachingPort Talbot on Wales' south coast, where itdrains into Swansea Bay situated in the Bristol Channel.

This River Avon wasthe site of a totalbridge collapse in December 1985, when the road bridge thePontYnys - y -Gwas,suddenly and unexpectedly plunged into the rivernear Port Talbot inWest Glamorgan, due to metal corrosion.There were no injuries or fatalities.

NB -The English pronounce avon=ay - vonand the Welsh and the Scots pronounceavon=av - on.

England and Wales , and which riverAvon are we talking about ,and then Afon in Wales .

The River Avon/ˈeɪvən/is a river in the southwest of England. To distinguish it from a number of otherrivers of the same name, it is often called theBristol Avon. The name 'Avon' is acognateof the Welsh word afon, meaning 'river'.

The Avon rises just north of the village of Acton Turville in South Gloucestershire, before flowing through Wiltshire into Somerset. In its lower reaches from Bath (where it meets the Kennet and Avon Canal) to the Severn Estuary a tAvonmouth nearBristol, the river is navigable and is known as theAvon Navigation.

The Avon is the19th longestriver in the United Kingdom, at 83 miles (134km), although there are just 19 miles (31km)as the crow fliesbetween the source and its mouth in theSevern Estuary. Thecatchment areais 2,220 square kilometres (860sqmi).[1]

History[edit]View down the Avon to the Severn from Clifton Down, 1842

The distribution of archaeological finds suggests that the western end of the river between Bath and Avonmouth formed a border between theDobunniandDurotrigesduring the lateIron Age, prior to theRoman conquest of Britain. Further east, between Bath and what is now Wiltshire, it may also have formed a border of the territory ruled by theBelgae. After the Roman occupation the river formed a boundary between the lands of theHwicce(which becameMercia) and the kingdom ofWessex.[75]

The river Avon had been navigable from Bristol to Bath during the early years of the 13th century but construction of mills on the river forced its closure.[76]Thefloodplainof the Avon, on which the city centre ofBathis built, has an altitude of about 59ft (18m) abovesea level.[77]The river, once an unnavigable series ofbraided streamsbroken up byswampsand ponds, has been managed byweirsinto a single channel. Periodic flooding, which shortened the life of many buildings in the lowest part of the city, was normal until major flood control works were completed in the 1970s.[78]

The Bristol Avon Navigation, which runs the 15 miles (24km) from the Kennet and Avon Canal at Hanham Lock to the Bristol Channel at Avonmouth, was constructed between 1724 and 1727,[79]following legislation passed byQueen Anne,[80][81]by a company of proprietors and the engineerJohn HoreofNewbury. The first cargo of 'Deal boards, Pig-Lead and Meal' arrived in Bath in December 1727.[14]It is now administered by theCanal & River Trust.

S.S. Dunbrody stranded in the 1890s owing to the high tidal range

Throughout Bristol's history theAvon Gorgehas been an important transport route, carrying the River Avon, major roads and two railways. The Bristol Channel has a very high tidal range of 15 metres (49ft),[82]second only toBay of FundyinEastern Canada;[83][84]and the gorge is relatively narrow and meandering, making it notoriously difficult to navigate. Several vessels have grounded in the gorge including theSS Demerarasoon after her launch in 1851, the schoonerGipsyin 1878, the steam tugBlack Eaglein 1861 and theLlandaff City.[85]

In 1877, Halfpenny Bridge, a pedestrian toll bridge crossing the river fromBath Spa railway stationtoWidcombe, collapsed with the loss of about 10 lives amongst a large crowd going to theBath and West Agricultural show.[86][87]

The Avon has flooded several times in its recorded history. These floods include the one in 1799/1800 damagingPulteney Bridge.[88]Various points along the river including the valley aroundFreshfordare at risk offluvialflooding, as a result of sediment entering the river and narrowing the channel. To help cope with this some areas on the banks of the river are designated as a functional floodplain to cope with increased flow volumes.[89][90]The potential changes to weather patterns as a result of climate change suggest that further measures are likely to be needed to protect the population from flooding risk.[91]A tidal surge, combined with high water levels from theflooding of the surrounding areacaused flooding in the city of Bristol.[92]

And why not the River Avon , Well, I think Eric Hemery is right when, in the pages of High Dartmoor, he quotes a moorman who suggests that Aune or Auna should be the name of this pretty river, given that there are lots of Avons and only one Aune.So let’s call it Aune on Dartmoor, though it might be the Avon as it winds a gentler course through the South Hams. afon in Wales

And why not the River Avon

 Well,  I think Eric Hemery is right when, in the pages of High Dartmoor, he quotes a moorman who suggests that Aune or Auna should be the name of this pretty river, given that there are lots of Avons and only one Aune. So let’s call it Aune on Dartmoor, though it might be the Avon as it winds a gentler course through the South Hams.

Aune Head defines Dartmoor for me.

 A little while ago I was asked to write a piece for an anthology on a wild place that defines Dartmoor.  After some deliberation I chose Aune Head, given that it is unspoiled and not usually very crowded. I often ponder on the tinner’s hut there, imagining the man who must have lived and worked in that solitary place. The great mire is vast and untouched for all his efforts, with the cry of the curlew being one of the few sounds to break into the great silence. In the early summer the skylarks fill the air round about, and a lonely heron might flap overhead.

Boggy ground it is too if you choose to explore in search of the exquisite mire flowers. A slight trudge through the mud on its edge reveals the Luckombe Stone, that great boulder that seems pointless in the landscape, yet somehow completes the view.

It must have all been a familiar scene to the traders and hucksters who used the nearby Sandy Way to get to the market at Princetown’s War Prison so that they might barter with those incarcerated French and Americans two centuries ago.

 Sometimes, if you lie on the edge of the mire and close your eyes, it seems as though you can almost hear the gossip of those ancient travellers above the soughing of the breeze through the moorgrass.

When I was a small child, this was only a country of the imagination for me. My first contact with the Aune was a childhood picnic at Shipley Bridge. Wandering away from the others I climbed up to Black Tor and looked northwards to these distant and yet to be explored hills. A few years later I spent my first night bivouacking without a tent on Dartmoor, in a hollow on the hillside opposite Huntingdon Warren.

The Aune has some of the best bathing pools on Dartmoor, many of them a few minutes stroll up from Shipley. We used to bathe in the Aune’s chill waters, dousing our heads under the many little waterfalls where the river tumbles through Long-a-Traw (Long Trough). We would sunbathe ourselves dry, turning the pages of William Crossing’s Guide to Dartmoor, before continuing our exploration of the Moor. Sometimes we would meet and talk with Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey, who kept his bees here to bring the taste of the moorland heather to the famous honey.

Long-a-Traw is one of the finest valleys on Dartmoor, ruined only by the dreadful concrete of the Avon Dam (and I revert to Avon for the name of this appalling intrusion) towards its head.

I mourn for the archaeology that was lost when the reservoir was built. More might go yet, for the dam was designed to be raised if circumstances made it necessary. To imprison a moorland river behind a dam, letting it pass only in fits and starts is a crime against nature.

Still, archaeology remains and one of my favourite areas is Rider’s Rings, a perfect place for a rest on a summer walk, though I do hope the bracken will be tackled soon. I like the little clapper bridge on the Aune above Huntingdon Cross.

I have stopped here for lunch on countless occasions, both on my own and with considerable numbers of Dartmoor walkers, fellow spirits in discovery, many of them now sadly passed on.

The focus for walks was often Broada Falls, that great mass of boulders through which the river forces its waters on the first stretch of its journey from Aune Head. I can remember, on one of my earliest visits, the late and much-missed Dartmoor expert Joe Turner showing me the ancient stone vermin traps just a little downstream.

From the high hills around, the slopes of Huntingdon Warren or the White-a-Barrows, the Aune winds through the land like a blue ribbon against the yellow, brown and green of the surrounding moorland, as it reflects the blue of the sky on summer days. I have seen it as a sprawl of raging white foam after prolonged Dartmoor thunderstorms, though that is rare, for despite a fairly rapid descent the Aune is a gentle river. Above the reservoir it is quintessentially a high moorland river, free of much vegetation beyond the occasional overhanging rowan.

Below the reservoir the trees creep in to the landscape, with rhododendrons in the lower stages. I always think it a pity that Brent Moor House has gone, just a few low walls to mark its passing. I used to know a lot of moor folk who remembered it, and a few walkers who had stayed there during its brief incarnation as a youth hostel. Nearby, hidden high in the bushes, is the memorial to the young daughter of the Meynell family, killed when out horse riding in 1865.

Shipley Bridge is fortunate in that it stands some yards away from the nearby car park, thereby having its ancient view preserved without too much 21st century intrusion.

But even though the river ceases to be a moorland water at this point, I think we should continue our journey down through Didworthy, using the public right of way, to Lydia Bridge and then South Brent, where the Aune leaves the National Park.

I always think Lydia Bridge is one of the delights of Dartmoor and is too seldom visited. And what a beautiful name. South Brent should be visited too, not least as a homage to William Crossing who lived and explored Dartmoor from this useful base, using the valley of the Aune as an approach to so much of Dartmoor.

The Aune is a beautiful river and it is a privilege to walk here in the footsteps of Dartmoor’s greatest writer, the incomparable William Crossing.

There is a track through Aune Head Mire that can be taken with safety by one who knows it.

Fox Tor Mire once bore a very bad name.The only convict who really got away from Princetown and was not recaptured was last seen taking a beeline for Fox Tor Mire.

One afternoon, in the year 1851,I was in the Walkham valley above Merrivale Bridge digging into what at the time I fondly believed was a tumulus, but which I subsequently discovered to be a mound thrown up for the accommodation of rabbits, when a warren was contemplated on the slope of Mis Tor.

Charles Thomas  originally identified the former with The Rumps, a pre-Roman defended enclosure.More recently,he suggested that it might be Tintagel, the site of an important sub-Roman trading settlement, although its Romano-British status is not clear Vernilis may be the same as Ptolemy’s Οὐολίβα , perhaps near Liskeard (Strang 1997, 30); the correct RomanoBritish form may have been *Verleua.

The Cosmographer’s form would have arisen by way of a transposition of -l- and -u-, the latter being miscopied as -n-.
The next name must be for *Fl Deruentione, the River Dart, so the Cosmographer’s eye may have moved from travelling along the spine of Cornwall, following the poorly known road along the centre of the peninsula, and he has possibly now turned his attention to the road south from Exeter, closer to the south Devon coast.

Deuionisso Statio and *Deruentio Statio which are wrongly divided in the text are probably unlocated Roman government establishments, perhaps tax offices.The latter may have lain in the Dart valley (Dart being Brittonic Deruentiu: , perhaps at Buckfastleigh or Totnes , and the former perhaps near Newton Abbot or elsewhere  on the River Teign.,Earliest times to present day

Vikings were active in Devon

Bloody Pool

On the south eastern edge of Dartmoor is a rather unspectacular pool known as ‘The Bloody Pool’. It is rumoured that this was once the site of a furious battle between a marauding band of Viking warriors and the local army. Many a brave soul lost his life that day in the shield wall and many were wounded. For hours the two mighty armies stood shield to shield, hacking and slashing at each other. Eventually the invaders were forced to flee back to their longships and return to the sea. The mighty dragon of the Norsemen had been sent home in disgrace but this was no consolation to the widows and fatherless children left weeping at their losses.

To this day it is said that the ghostly sounds of battle can be heard coming from the pool. At certain times, tradition has it that the marshy pool turns red, this is from the blood of the slain warriors who lie buried beneath its still waters. In 1854 a hoard of what were thought to be bronze spears were found near to the pool, it was first thought that these were spears used in the battle but then early archaeologists indicated that they were Bronze Age fishing spears.

If we first start with the belief that there was a battle between local warriors and marauding Norsemen – this cannot be confirmed. However it is a known fact that for many years the Vikings were active in Devon with attacks and raids all around the coasts and inland at Exeter, Tavistock, Lydford. Totnes lies about 6 miles to the south-east of Bloody Pool and was one of the four Devonshire Saxon burghs.  which lies about 10 miles south-east of Bloody Pool. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, Swanton, 2003 p.65,  records that in the year 850:

“Here Ealdorman Ceorl with Devonshire fought against the heathen men at Wicga’s stronghold and made a great slaughter there and took the victory.”

The footnote on page 64 tentatively suggests that although the place has not been identified, Wicga’s Stronghold  or Wicganbeorg could be modern day Wigborough in south Somerset. Gore 2001 p.35-6 on the other hand states that Wicganbeorg is possibly now a small hamlet called Weekaborough which lies about 10 miles east of Bloody Pool. Glover, Mawer and Stenton in their definitive book,  Place Names of Devon, p. 506, are non-committal as to whether Weekaborough was Wicganbeorg because they note that in the transformed 1827 version of the place name, i.e. Wickaborough,  the vowel development needed to change the voiced cg to the unvoiced k would be difficult though not impossible. But it still could be possible that there was a battle or skirmish at Bloody Pool If Weekaborough was the Wicganbeorg mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

As to the story that in time of flood the water runs red from the spilt blood of the warriors, clearly that is a nonsense but as always there is a possible reason for the strange occurrence. This time it is necessary to look at place names and also local geology. As can be seen from the map below there are two places above bloody pool called Reddacleave and Reddacleave Brakes.

There are many place names on Dartmoor with the descriptive element red and when applied to streams or brooks it usually indicates that the stream bed literally is of a red hue. This is due to the presence of limonite and Hemery, 1983, p.58, describes it as being “a reddish substance of paste-like consistency that clings to stones in the peat-bog stream-beds in their upper reaches, during periods of drought when the water is low and the current sluggish. It results from the oxidation of ferrous carbonate, a derivative of the bog.” Could it possibly be that the reason the pool turns red is due to the limonite giving the water a red hue as it does elsewhere on the moor?

With regards to the hoard of Bronze Age fishing spears, this is a fact and they were discovered in 1854, a fact first noted in Crossing’s book ‘The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, p.10. He also notes that they could be seen at the Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. Today the findspot is recorded as being SX 7029 6263 and they are classified as being “four bronze spearheads and ferrules, each broken in three places”. They have been dated to the Bronze Age and carry an ID Record of NMR SX 76 SW 14, described as consisting of “four bronze ferrules, 7″ long found with four barbed bronze spearheads which are 14″ long, all but one was broken. suggested as a Merchant’s or Founder’s hoard.”

Adapted from Pearce, 1981, p.127.

The map above clearly shows many Bronze Age features such as Enclosures, settlements, cairns and a standing stone so therefore it is no surprise to have discovered a Bronze Age hoard. What is interesting is that it should have been discovered by a pool, according to the NMR report they are considered to  have belonged to a founder’s or merchant’s hoard but was this in fact a votive offering of some kind? Pearce, 1978, p.76, remarks that:

“… spearheads like this form a well-recognised type and are often found as groups or hoards in contexts which suggest they were ritual offerings. The Bloody Pool spearheads may have been thrown into water, and everything we know about the late prehistoric religion suggests that this was a characteristic method of dedicating offerings to the gods.”

Hundreds of votive offerings have been found in Britain and many of them have been deliberately placed in water. Another similarity that most show is that they have been deliberately broken. Parker-Pearson notes that this act of deposition and destruction at Flag Fen was as if the site was being used as a “wishing well on a very grand scale, 2005, p.109. 

There may be no connection but as can be seen on the above map, there is a standing stone near the source of the river Harbourne which is just upstream from Bloody Pool. None of the other identified standing stones on Dartmoor are sited so close to a head spring as this standing stone, known as Harbourne Man. Could it possibly be that sometime during the Bronze Age the main cult of worship in this area was one concerned with water?

Rivers and navigable creeks, p. 36. Tamar, Lynher, p. 38. Tide, or Tidi, p. 40. Seaton, ib.
Loo, or Eaft-Loo, ibid. ProfpoCt of Loo Bridge," ib. Duloo, or Weft Loo river, p. 41. fawy, ib.
Fal, 42, and it’s harbour. Hel, or Heyl river in Kerricr, p. 43. Lo or Low river in Kerrier, p 44.
Heyl in Penwith, ibid. Ganal creek, p. 45. River Alan, al Lamel, ibid. Wade navigable rivers in
may be made notbeneficial, p. 47. Subject: to obftrudtions, p. 49.