Description of Saltford by Councillor Phil Harding May 2016
The historic village of Saltford is a large village (4,200 residents) situated alongside the A4, the River Avon, and the main-line railway with the Bristol to Bath cycle-path passing through. Saltford is surrounded by green belt land which preserves a rural setting for the village. Saltford is a perfect hub for activities in the Avon Valley and has a vibrant community with as many residents aged 17 years and under as over 65.
There are many outdoor sport and recreation facilities in and around the village that benefit residents and visitors from neighbouring villages, towns and cities. These include tennis, cricket, football, walking, golf, cycling, horse riding, kayaking, rowing, and sailing. Saltford was the venue for the first Bath Regatta in 1849 and Saltford Rowing Centre now provides modern headquarters facilities for Avon Rowing Club and Canoe Avon. Bristol Avon Sailing Club is also based at Saltford. Saltford Golf Club hosted the prestigious English Ladies Open Tournament in 2011.
Community involvement is centred on the Saltford Community Association and with its numerous affiliated organisations. There are pubs and restaurants, a primary school, a thriving Saltford Environment Group and Saltford has Fairtrade Village Status.
Saltford is steeped in history with evidence that the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans once lived and farmed here. Artefacts and historical features found in Saltford include possible evidence of roundhouses, a stone axe hammer, bronze axe heads, Roman coffins, many Roman and other ancient coins, the oldest being a Carthaginian Coin (300-264 BC), pottery fragments, an Anglo-Saxon burial ground, musket balls, and other miscellaneous glimpses of a long and interesting past.
Saltford’s oldest dwelling is Saltford Manor House (c.1148) and is thought to be the oldest continuously occupied private house in England. Other important buildings include the Norman church of St Mary’s, with its late Anglo-Saxon period tower, that was attacked by Roundheads during the English Civil War and Saltford Brassmill, referred to in the Domesday Book entry for Saltford when it was a watermill. The mill was converted to working brass in the 18th Century and is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument frequently open to the public. Tunnel House was at one time purchased by Brunel in connection with the construction of the GWR line through Saltford and, next door, Saltford House was from 1856 to 1867 the home of Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly who had fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars and served on the anti-slavery patrols off the west coast of Africa.
Saltford also has a fascinating geological history with Lower Jurassic rocks seen across ploughed fields and in old quarries and it has been used in many of the older houses in the village. The rocks, mainly Blue Lias limestone, have abundant fossils and provide evidence that this region was once under a warm, shallow, sub-tropical sea, 180 million years ago. Some limestone exposures in Saltford are extremely important in our understanding of local and regional geology and have been protected as Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS) in recognition of this. A gravel deposit from the last ice age near Avon Farm has national protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Saltford is a confident place where people enjoy living and working. The biennial Saltford Festival showcases all that is best about Saltford.