We go on a beautiful riverside walk with a historic war pillbox and country pub

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Nature and history go hand-in-hand on this walk followed by a brilliant pub

As the birds sing in the trees overhead, it’s hard to imagine a place further from the horrors of war than the picturesque village of Freshford, as I look over from a bank of the River Frome which flows under a beautiful stone bridge dating back to the mid 16th century.

I’m in a huge grass field with a well-trodden footpath filled with walkers. The sun is shining and I can just about hear the laughter from the beer garden of The Inn in the village of Freshford from across the water.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet, less than 100 years ago this was a pinpointed location for the Home Guard to take a stand if a feared Nazi invasion materialised. The village formed part of the outer defence of the Bristol region known as the Green Line - and along it 319 pillboxes were to be built.

Today, two remain in Freshford - and the one I discover on my walk just minutes from the village is remarkably preserved. It is the first notable feature on a mile-long walk from Freshford to the next village along the river called Avoncliff.

Having parked at the pub I cross the old bridge and enter the large field. I head to the pillbox and I’m able to go inside the low entrance to find a tiny, dark space where the slits for guns offer the only light. You can even see the shelves below the slits where the guns would have been sat.

The pillbox in Freshford is one of two alongside the River Avon which marks the Green Line defending the outer Bristol regionThe pillbox in Freshford is one of two alongside the River Avon which marks the Green Line defending the outer Bristol region
The pillbox in Freshford is one of two alongside the River Avon which marks the Green Line defending the outer Bristol region | Alex Ross

It is quite incredible, and the start of a gorgeous walk which next took me through Avoncliff Wood and on to a paved path alongside the River Avon, which the River Frome joins at a T-style junction.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Across the river can be seen the railway line from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath before I come out of the woodland, cross another field and arrive in Avoncliff where the Kennet and Avon Canal sits on the Avoncliff Aqueduct with the railway line below.

I could have stayed there for a drink at The Cross Guns, but instead I got on a train for a quick ride back to Freshford and walked through the village back to The Inn. It was a good decision, I soon discovered.

The well preserved pillbox with the village of Freshford in the background over the River FromeThe well preserved pillbox with the village of Freshford in the background over the River Frome
The well preserved pillbox with the village of Freshford in the background over the River Frome | Alex Ross

Being a nice day, the pub garden was busy so I took a table inside and ordered a chicken burger and chips with coleslaw. Washed down with a pint of Butcombe Gold, it was a delight.

All in all, a great walk (which can be followed in detail here) and a splendid countryside pub - I look forward to going back.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.