Village of the Year signs marks the entrance to the Backwell.
Backwell shown within Somerset
|OS grid reference|
|Unitary authority||North Somerset|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Avon and Somerset|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||North Somerset|
Backwell is a rural village and civil parish in Somerset, England. It falls within the Unitary Authority of North Somerset and has a population of 4,589. It is 7 miles (11.3 km) south west of Bristol, on the A370 to Weston-super-Mare. It includes the hamlets of Backwell Common, Backwell Green and Farleigh and the district of West Town.
The village has a long history, appearing in the Domesday Book in 1086 with the name 'Bacoile' meaning 'The well back on the hill'.
The parish council has responsibility for local issues, including setting an annual precept (local rate) to cover the council’s operating costs and producing annual accounts for public scrutiny. The parish council evaluates local planning applications and works with the local police, district council officers, and neighbourhood watch groups on matters of crime, security, and traffic. The parish council's role also includes initiating projects for the maintenance and repair of parish facilities, such as the village hall or community centre, playing fields and playgrounds, as well as consulting with the district council on the maintenance, repair, and improvement of highways, drainage, footpaths, public transport, and street cleaning. Conservation matters (including trees and listed buildings) and environmental issues are also of interest to the council.
The parish falls within the unitary authority of North Somerset which was created in 1996, as established by the Local Government Act 1992. It provides a single tier of local government with responsibility for almost all local government functions within its area including local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection, recycling, cemeteries, crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. It is also responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning, although fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the Great Western Ambulance Service.
North Somerset's area covers part of the ceremonial county of Somerset but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters is in the town hall in Weston-super-Mare. Between 1 April 1974 and 1 April 1996, it was in the Woodspring district of the county of Avon. Before 1974 that the parish was part of the Long Ashton Rural District.
The parish is represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom as part of the North Somerset county constituency. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. It is also part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
Backwell Playing Fields are on land given by local benefactor Theodore Robinson for the benefit of the residents of Backwell in 1929. They include tennis courts and a bowling green.
Backwell lake, which is also known as Buckland's Pool is next to the road between Nailsea and Backwell at Buckland's Batch. The lake was built as a balancing pond in the mid-1970s It has now become a wildlife haven for birds, bats and dragonflies, which are attracted by the open water and surrounding vegetation. Bird species include gadwall, shoveler, pochard, tufted duck, grey heron and mute swans.
Stancombe Quarry was first built in 1952. Today, the quarry which is operated by Tarmac, produces Carboniferous Limestone, which is mainly for use on the roads, after crushing on site. The site has an expected output of 28 million tonnes over a 25 year period.
Along with the rest of South West England, Backwell has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 °C (33.8 °F) or 2 °C (35.6 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores high pressure affects the south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection. Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.
- Post office
- Doctor's surgery
- Newsagent's shop
- Three pubs
- Barber shop
- Swimming pool
- Estate agents
- Fish and chips shop
- Indian restaurant
- Indian takeaway
- Red telephone box
- Cash machine
The largest junior school in Backwell is Backwell Church of England Junior School, which provides education to 240 children aged between 7 and 11. The school is highly praised by Ofsted and performs consistently well in the league tables. In addition there is West Leigh Infant School which covers reception and Key Stage 1 and which has received an outstanding Ofsted report.
The secondary school, Backwell School, consistently features high in the league tables for GCSE results, and is recognised as one of the best state schools in North Somerset. Pupils travel to the school from surrounding areas, such as Bristol and Yatton, by public transport or school coach. The school has about 1,600 pupils and used to be a Secondary Modern until the abolition of the Tripartite System. Alumni include Richard Ottaway, Member of Parliament for Croydon South.
Nailsea and Backwell railway station is managed by First Great Western. Over the decades its name has alternated between its current name and simply 'Nailsea', even though it is in Backwell. The station is only staffed during rush hour. The journey time to Bristol Temple Meads is 11 minutes; London Paddington takes two hours without changes. The direct service to London makes the village popular with commuters willing to spend four hours a day travelling by train. The car park at the station is full by 8:00 on weekdays. In recent years the number of services direct to London have been reduced.
The tower at the west end of the church is over 100 feet (30 m) tall and dates from the 15th century. It contains a ring of eight bells, two of which are medieval.
Ashton & Backwell United F.C. was originally called Backwell United but then merged with one of Bristol's largest youth club's Ashton Boys FC. They are currently members of the Western League First Division. They moved to their current home in 1947, the Backwell Recreation Ground.
Backwell Karate, also known as Backwell Shotokan Karate Club, was established in the village in 1978 and is a member club of the Karate Union of Great Britain governing body.
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