The main street in Bidford-on-Avon
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Bidford-on-Avon is a large village and civil parish in the English county of Warwickshire, very close to the border with Worcestershire. In the 2001 census it had a population of 4,830, increasing to 5,350 at the 2011 census.
Bidford-on-Avon village is, as its name suggests, situated on the River Avon, some 7 miles (11 km) downstream of Stratford-upon-Avon and about the same distance upstream of Evesham. The village grew up around an ancient ford (Byda's Ford), now replaced by a narrow stone bridge, on the Ryknild Street Roman road, now a minor country road to Honeybourne 4 miles (6.4 km) to the south. To the north Alcester is about 4 miles (6.4 km) away, Redditch 10 miles (16 km) away and Birmingham 25 miles (40 km) away. It also lies on the Heart of England Way.
Bidford-on-Avon is a civil parish with an elected parish council. It falls within the areas of Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Warwickshire County Council. The three councils are responsible for different aspects of local government.
Besides the village of Bidford itself, the civil parish includes the settlements of Barton, Broom and Marlcliff. Broom lies to the north of Bidford, whilst both Barton and Marlcliff lie south of the river.
There is also an ancient Anglo-Saxon burial site under the free car park located just behind the Indian restaurant "No 72". First discovered in the 1920s, artefacts from more recent excavations are located at Warwick Museum, while material from the first excavations on the site currently resides in the hands of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. A Bronze Agebronze razor was found in excavations at Bidford-on-Avon.
William Shakespeare is said to have joined a party of Stratford folk which set itself to outdrink a drinking club at Bidford-on-Avon, and as a result of his labours in that regard to have fallen asleep under the crab tree of which a descendant is still called Shakespeares tree. When morning dawned his friends wished to renew the encounter but he wisely said "No I have drunk with “Piping Pebworth, Dancing Marston, Haunted Hillboro’, Hungry Grafton, Dodging Exhall, Papist Wixford, Beggarly Broom and Drunken Bidford” and so, presumably, I will drink no more." The story is said to date from the 17th century but of its truth or of any connection of the story or the verse to Shakespeare there is no evidence. The Falcon Inn was a favourite tavern in his day.
During the week beginning Monday 26 November 2012, the Bridge had to be closed due to flooding, when the River Avon burst its banks, in various places.
On 9 June 2015, the bridge was closed to traffic after a heavy duty farm vehicle crashed into it, causing serious damage to the historic structure. Police cars were positioned either side of the bridge to alert drivers to the fact that the bridge was inaccessible to traffic. After repairs, the bridge has now re-opened.
Bidford no longer has an active railway line, but it once had a station on the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, which ran east–west across country from Broom Junction on the Midland Railway's Barnt Green-Redditch-Alcester-Evesham-Ashchurch line, through Stratford-upon-Avon to Towcester and beyond. The Broom to Stratford section (including Bidford and also Binton), was an early casualty, with passenger services suspended in June 1947 and closure rubber-stamped as permanent in May 1949. The line itself remained open with the south curve of Broom Junction until at least 1952.
Today the closest station to Bidford, is Honeybourne railway station, which is located 5 miles south of the village. Honeybourne station provides regular rail services to London Paddington, Oxford, Evesham, Worcester and Hereford along the Cotswold Line.
The village was featured on the BBC motoring programme Top Gear when the presenters resurfaced a local road in a single day, a task that would have usually taken an entire working week.
The Anglican parish church is dedicated to St. Laurence. St. Joseph the Worker Church is the local Roman Catholic church. The Barn is the home of Bidford Baptist Church. Bidford also has a Methodist church.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Information for record number MWA591: Ford (Byda's Ford)". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- "Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council". Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
- "Site of Saxon cemetery 100m N of Bidford Bridge". Our Warwickshire. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- Warwickshire County Council: New Prehistoric Archaeology Objects
"Even further away in time, during the Bronze Age, we now have evidence of people taking care of their appearance. This leaf-shaped bronze razor was found near Bidford on Avon and is one of only a few of this type of Bronze Age razor to be found in this country."
- Hutton, W. H. (1914) Highways and Byways in Shakspeare's Country
- "Barbara Comyns profile". Virago Press. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1355318)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Wet weekend for rain-soaked UK". ITV. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Dunn, J.M., (1952) The Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, Lingfield: The Oakwood Press
- "St Laurence Parish Church, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire". St Laurence Parish Church. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- "theBarn - Home of Bidford Baptist Church". Bidford Baptist Church. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
Media related to Bidford-on-Avon at Wikimedia Commons
- Parish council website
- www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Bidford-on-Avon and surrounding area
- Bidford on Avon Baptist Church website
- Gallery and info on the fallen of Bidford WW1 website
- Bidford on Avon and District Gardening Society website
- Bidford Gliding & Flying Club website
- for Bidford-on-Avon