Winterbourne, Gloucestershire

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Winterbourne is located in Gloucestershire
 Winterbourne shown within Gloucestershire
Population 8,965 
OS grid reference ST647807
Civil parish Winterbourne
Unitary authority South Gloucestershire
Ceremonial county Gloucestershire
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BRISTOL
Postcode district BS36
Dialling code 01454
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Avon
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Filton and Bradley Stoke
List of places

Coordinates: 51°31′28″N 2°30′16″W / 51.52445°N 2.50447°W / 51.52445; -2.50447

Winterbourne is a large village and civil parish in South Gloucestershire, England, situated on the north side of Bristol. The village had a population of 8,623 in the 2001 census.[1] increasing to 8,965 taken at the 2011 census. The Civil Parish of Winterbourne is centred on the village but also encompasses the neighbouring communities of Winterbourne Down, Hambrook and Frenchay. To the north-east is the village of Frampton Cotterell and to the west lies the new town of Bradley Stoke.

St Michael's Church

Much of Winterbourne is located on a hill. The village is partially surrounded by woodlands and fields, most with public access, but urban development has greatly reduced these areas. The River Frome snakes its way through a scenic valley between the village and nearby Frampton Cotterell, continuing on towards Frenchay, and eventually draining in Bristol's Floating Harbour. The Bradley Brook flows from Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford to the west and joins the Frome near Winterbourne. Since the 1960s the M4 motorway has bypassed the village to the south and west.

Looking towards the Winterbourne Viaduct and Frome Valley from Cloisters
The village pond, home to ducks and swans. Shelter for the ducks is provided on the islands.

Winterbourne Viaduct carries the railway over the River Frome. Beneath the viaduct is the abandoned Huckford Quarry, a public nature reserve popular with dog walkers. Winterbourne has a large duck pond which overlooks part of the Frome Valley and is a popular spot for fishing and feeding the ducks and swans.

On Winterbourne's south-eastern slope is the village of Winterbourne Down, host of the Parish's annual May Day carnival. Parts of the village are subject to minor flooding from the River Frome during the winter months.

The Parish Church is St Michael's, a building believed to date from the 12th century and which celebrated its 800th anniversary in 1998. Set away from the bustle of modern Winterbourne, St Michael's now sits amidst green fields and attractive cottages with its distinctive spire visible for miles around. It is believed that the original village of Winterbourne was located here. At the altar a stone depiction of the Last Supper, based on the painting by Leonardo da Vinci, greets the congregation. Winterbourne Court Farm Barn is close to St Michael's Church. This is a grade II* listed 14th century tithe barn – an outstanding example of its type.

Winterbourne has a number of pubs including The George and Dragon (the upstairs of which served as the original location of St Michael's Primary School), The Swan and The Mason's Arms. A number of the village's pubs have become restaurants; two of which now serve Indian cuisine.

Due to Winterbourne's size, people are divided over whether it should be classed as a village or town. The village has three social centres: St Michael's Rooms, Fromeside Community Centre and Greenfield, hosts to clubs, functions and other public events.

The High Street

Winterbourne has branches of the Co-op and Tesco Express, a chemist, optician, a handful of dental practices and a library. NatWest has a branch in the village. The typical aspects of an English village remain, however; a bakery, butchers' and Post Office. Horses and cows can be found grazing in the fields surrounding the village, notably the Cloisters area, which offers a picturesque view of the Frome Valley and viaduct.

In late 2004, the local secondary school (then The Ridings High School, now Winterbourne International Academy) opened a large all-weather pitch in the heart of Winterbourne as part of its 'Sports Village' scheme. The school also owns the local swimming pool and gym.

As well as being the centre of an extensive Civil Parish, Winterbourne contains the hamlet of Watley's End, nestled on the border between Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell. Nowadays, it is regarded as an area of Winterbourne, but a few decades ago (and still by a number of older residents) it was considered to be a separate village. People with a sense of identity in Watley's End refer to the busy, uphill part of the village as 'Winterbourne Hill'. Salem, the local Methodist church, is in Watley's End.

Children in the village can join Fromeside Youth Club, and the gymnastics club, Fromeside Gym Club, both situated on Watleys End Road.

Winterbourne was recorded in the Domesday book (1086) as Wintreborne, meaning 'Winter Stream'.[2] The village is believed to have derived its name from the nearby Bradley Brook as much of medieval Winterbourne is believed to have originally built up around St Michael's Church, which is situated near the river.


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward stretches from Winterbourne in the north west to Hambrook in the southeast. The total population of the ward taken at the 2011 census was 6,994.[3]


Winterbourne has four schools: Elm Park (Link needed to Elm Park Winterbourne) and St Michael's are the local primary schools, with most students going on to attend the local secondary school: The Ridings Winterbourne International Academy. Silverhill School and Day Nursery ([1]) is an independent preparatory school for children aged 6 months to 11 years. St Michael's was founded in 1813 by the educational reformers Hannah More and William Wilberforce. The original school began in the upstairs of the local George and Dragon pub. Larger rooms were then provided in Bourne House, where the school remained until a permanent building was erected on Winterbourne's High Street. St Michael's present location on Linden Close was opened in 1970.[4] The author, J. K. Rowling, was taught at St Michael's,[5] and is reputed to have based much of her character, Albus Dumbledore, on Alfred Dunn, who was headmaster at the time.[6]

Notable residents[edit]

Inventor Harry Grindell Matthews was born in Winterbourne in 1880. His childhood home was located at what is now The Grove Residential Home for the Elderly on the High Street where there is a blue plaque commemorating this link.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, lived in Winterbourne and attended St Michael's Primary School until she was nine years old.[7] Potter's surname originated from some of her friends in the village.[8]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Winterbourne has a Non-League football club Winterbourne United F.C. who play at Parkside Avenue.


  1. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Winterbourne CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 January 2009. 
  2. ^ ISBN 0-19-852758-6 Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names
  3. ^ "ward population 2011.Retrieved 21 March 2015". 
  4. ^ Winterbourne Family History Online, St Michael's School Admission Register 1966–1970 – Accessed 14 August 2006.
  5. ^ Winterbourne Family History Online, St Michael’s School Admission Register 1966–1970 – Rowling listed as admission No.305. Accessed 14 August 2006.
  6. ^ Winterbourne, South Gloucestershire Community Information and Magazine, Winterbourne, Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore!. Accessed 8 August 2009.
  7. ^ St Michael's School Admission Register 1966–1970 – Rowling listed as admission No.305. Accessed 14 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV, 16 July 2005". Quick Quotes Quill. Archived from the original on 6 January 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007. 

External links[edit]