River Avon in Saltford - Saltford Parish Council

Saltford welcomes considerate visitors who treat the village’s riverside areas with care and respect. Please be aware that Saltford’s old village is a residential area with limited parking and narrow sections of highway. The River Avon and its immediate environs in Saltford are valued as a haven for ecology and wildlife. As a residential area, many homes have historic links to the nearby Brass Mill – and the area is regarded and taken care of by residents as Saltford’s ‘village green’.

If visiting the River Avon in Saltford please be ‘water aware‘ and act responsibly by the river; park appropriately if coming by vehicle; dispose of litter (and dog poo) in the bins provided; follow the Countryside Code; BBQ only at designated tables and use a designated bin for disposal, please do not damage the grass or risk a wild fire. More information can be found on our Visitor Information page.

Visiting Saltford’s river side areas

If visiting Saltford, for information on parking etc., please see our Visitor Information page.

Please note parking availability near the river is limited. B&NES Parking Enforcement (traffic warden) teams visit Saltford multiple times a day, especially during periods of good weather.

River water quality at Saltford & sewage storm drains

There are four storm drains that feed into the River Avon in Saltford i.e. where raw sewage directly enters the river. The quality of river water in Saltford is not tested by the Environment Agency (as it is not a designated bathing area). If entering the river avoid swallowing or splashing water into your mouth. If intending to use the river for recreational purposes, please be aware that the sewerage network discharges treated sewage and overflows of untreated sewage into the River Avon at Saltford. If you become unwell after entering the water at Saltford, call 111 or visit www.nhs.uk to seek medical help.

Sewage enters the river in Saltford via four storm overflows two of which are by the weirs. The Rivers Trust map gives further information about storm drain locations. It is advised to avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges.

Information about frequency of storm overflows discharging sewage into the river in Saltford as well as the purpose of storm overflows can be found here. For awareness, a sewage treatment plant is located on Mead Lane in Saltford.

For more information please see our River water quality in Saltford page including BART’s interactive water quality map.

Accessing the river

Entering the river is at your own risk. There are no lifeguards in Saltford. Parking near the river for access is permitted in marked spaces only, of which there are a limited number for a short stay period (please see Parking section below). B&NES Council enforcement officers visit regularly and issue fines for vehicles parked on the grass. Other parking areas are for residents only (see signs for details).

Saltford Parish Council with B&NES Council are monitoring the riverbank as well as carrying out environmental initiatives to help repair the damage and aid vegetation regrowth due to unauthorised river access. At all times please be considerate to this residential and environmentally sensitive area.

Please be aware of dangers as detailed on our river safety information and advice page and also be aware of water quality issues locally.

River safety information and advice

Avon Fire and Rescue advise visitors to be aware of Hidden Dangers and state: Don’t swim near weirs, once caught in the undertow, you have little chance of escape; Beware of weeds, you can get tangled and trapped in weeds growing at the bottom of the river; Don’t swim after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.

Swimming in cold open water is very different, and more dangerous, than swimming the warm water of an indoor swimming pool. Be water aware. For further information please see our River safety information and advice page.

There are life rings near the river including by Saltford Weir and opposite the toilets / picnic area on The Shallows. The nearest defibrillator is by the Bird in Hand pub on the red phone box. Please find a list of defibrillators in Saltford here.

Tragedies at Saltford Weir

The section of River Avon in Saltford – including Saltford Weir and Kelston Weir – is a known dangerous place to enter the water. The stretch of river in Saltford has a history of accidents and tragic deaths. Further information is available on our Tragedies at Saltford Weir page.

The fields next to Saltford Weir and the ‘Kelston side’ of the river are private property used for grazing livestock – the landowner has erected barbed wire fencing at this location. The landowner has removed trees from this area for safety reasons, including removing rope swings. Public Rights of Way footpaths are still accessible and lovely walks can be enjoyed in this area.

Further information can be found on SPC’s river safety actions page.

Emergencies by the river

A list and map of defibrillators in Saltford can be found on our website here. The nearest defibrillator to the river is located on the red phone box at the Bird in Hand Pub. Be water safety aware – float to live. A life ring is located on the riverbank opposite the toilets and also at Saltford Weir.

In the event of an emergency water incident at the river, call 999 and ask for the fire service. Calls are free and can be made from any mobile phone. Call 101 for contacting the police regarding a non-emergency, or 999 in an emergency. Call 111 for non-emergency medical help or advice.

The police and fire brigade regularly patrol Saltford’s riverside areas, for more information please see our news article here. Residents and members of the public are strongly encouraged to report any anti-social or illegal behaviours directly to the police on 101 or in an emergency on 999.

Information on how to report issues to B&NES Council (riparian owner), the Environment Agency, or the Canal River Trust can be found on SPC’s Report It page.


B&NES Cabinet agreed to relocate moorings from Mead Lane no later than spring 2023, and a charging system for moorings commenced in March 2021. Alternative locations for 14 day moorings will be identified by B&NES Council prior to ending moorings at Mead Lane. As of November 2020 the 48hr moorings at Mead Lane have been permanently removed. See the B&NES Council page here for more information.

Parking by the river

Visitors to Saltford are encouraged to come by public transport, bike or on foot. Parking is very limited.

If visiting Saltford to access or enjoy the river and arriving by vehicle please park legally and considerately, ensuring good access for emergency vehicles at all times. A person has died at the river in Saltford every two years on average, demonstrating how clear road access is vital. Emergency vehicles also need to be able to reach residential properties in Saltford’s riverside locations. Emergency responders live in the village and need good access. In an emergency every second counts.

Saltford’s riverside area is a priority location for B&NES Council’s Parking Enforcement visits and fines are regularly issued when appropriate. Please be aware of parking restrictions.

There is a small short stay (three hours maximum, no return in four hours) public car park, which has two spaces for blue badge holders. No overnight parking is permitted. Space can be limited during busy periods. Vehicles are only permitted to park within marked bays at The Shallows car park, and B&NES Parking Enforcement officers regularly enforce parking conditions at this location. The green space around the car park is amenity space for those enjoying Saltford’s river side areas. Those parking outside of marked bays, including on the grass, are subject to a B&NES Council £70 fine. MiPermit use is required if parking at the car park.

There are double yellow lines on the majority of highway near the river prohibiting on-road parking. These lines ensure safety and access for pedestrians (many sections of highway have no pavements) and good traffic flow throughout the old village area. The Shallows also has ‘Resident Parking Zones’ near residential properties requiring live permits. Saltford’s Resident Parking Zones are patrolled regularly by B&NES Parking Enforcement, and anyone parking without a permit is subject to a £70 fine. Please look out for signage when parking.

Many local businesses with car parks have CCTV and are for patron’s use only. Again, please check for signage before parking.

Please see our ‘Visitor Information‘ page for more detailed information about parking in the village.

Tragically many young lives have been lost in the River Avon at Saltford. Please see our river safety and information page and be aware of the location of life rings and defibrillators if planning on entering the water
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