Avonmouth is a port and outer suburb of Bristol, England facing two rivers: the reinforced north bank of the final stage of the Avon which rises at sources in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset; and the eastern shore of the Severn Estuary. Strategically the area has been and remains an important part of the region's maritime economy particularly for larger vessels for the unloading and exporting of heavier goods as well as in industry including warehousing, light industry, electrical power and sanitation. The area contains a junction of and is connected to the south by the M5 motorway and other roads, railway tracks and paths to the north, south-east and east.

The council ward of Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston is as drawn a simplified name as it includes Shirehampton and the western end of Lawrence Weston.[n 1]

Avonmouth St Andrew
Avonmouth is located in Bristol
Location within Bristol
Population3,402 2011 Census - Avonmouth equates to output areas Bristol 008E and 008F
OS grid referenceST516785
• London110 miles (180 km)
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBRISTOL
Postcode districtBS11
Dialling code0117
PoliceAvon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
EU ParliamentSouth West England
UK Parliament


Avonmouth is approximately rectangular, its length favouring the Severn shore and sits on the same bank as the city centre from which it lies west-north-west — at the mouth of the River Avon and on the eastern shore of the dredged, at this point highly saline Severn Estuary. Both rivers in shallow valleys by this stage have been defensively embanked primarily to allow the construction of the large port Avonmouth Docks which occupies most of the western part. The related Royal Portbury Dock is across the Avon (in Easton-in-Gordano). Avonmouth is home to chemical manufacturing plants,[1][2] and north of the Avonmouth Docks is the gas-fired Seabank Power Station.[3] Its light industrial and warehouse companies include Nisbets.

Its long-established residential area in Avonmouth is between the industrialised zone and the M5 motorway, uniquely for Bristol west of the M5 motorway. Avonmouth Bridge of the M5 motorway forms the connection with Somerset, specifically with Easton-in-Gordano. The Wales-connecting M49 motorway runs between the M5 near Avonmouth and the M4 motorway at the Second Severn Crossing. The old Severn Bridge and the M48 motorway are linked to Avonmouth by the A403. The Welsh cities of Newport and Cardiff are both clearly visible from Avonmouth's coastline.

The Portway, part of the A4, connects Avonmouth to the centre of Bristol. Avonmouth is also served by a usually hourly train service to central Bristol from Avonmouth railway station on the Severn Beach Line.

A new deepsea container terminal is planned in Avonmouth.[4]


The mouth of the Avon was recorded as Afenemuþan in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the years 915 or 918 and 1052,[5] but it is clear from the context that the name does not refer to a settlement.[6]:16 The area was historically part of the chapelry of Shirehampton, a detached part of the ancient parish of Westbury-on-Trym in Gloucestershire.[7] Early 19th century maps show the area as farmland. At that time the deep water channel of the Avon ran through the present-day site of Avonmouth Docks and separated the mainland from a small island named Dumball Island.[6]:8 Bewys Cross, a stone monument possibly dating from the 15th century, was located on the bank of the Severn close to the old mouth of the Avon.

The first development at Avonmouth was a landing stage built in 1860 by Bristol Corporation at "Avon's Mouth". The first record of the modern name was in the title of the Port and Channel Docks (Avonmouth Dock) Bill debated in Parliament in early 1863.[6]:15 When the Bristol Port Railway and Pier was built in 1865 the terminus station was named Avonmouth. A hotel, the Avonmouth Hotel, was opened at the same time. A small new village was built to serve the new docks, which were finally opened in 1877. Also in 1877, the BPRP line was connected to the main railway network by the Clifton Extension Railway, and a new railway station named Avonmouth Dock was opened by the docks.

The new Avonmouth Dock and the original nucleus of the settlement were transferred from Gloucestershire to the City of Bristol in 1894, and the rest of the expanding settlement became part of the City in 1904.[6]:7

In 1902 work began on the Royal Edward Dock, a major expansion of the docks, completed in 1908. Land required for the expansion necessitated the closure of the original station, and from 1902 all trains terminated at Avonmouth Dock station (renamed plain "Avonmouth" in 1966). However, the Avonmouth Hotel adjacent to the original station remained open. It provided accommodation for many Europeans emigrating to the Americas via Avonmouth, and during the First World War it housed the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. It was finally demolished in 1926 when the Royal Edward Dock was expanded.[8]

Between 1919 and 1926 the Portway was built, providing more direct road access to Avonmouth from Bristol.

Shirehampton had become a separate parish in 1844, and a Church of England chapel was established in the new settlement of Avonmouth late in the nineteenth century. Avonmouth became a separate parish in 1917.[6]:7 Avonmouth's first church, completed in 1934, was bombed in World War II by bombers of the Luftwaffe in one of latter of the six major raids which formed the Bristol Blitz, in 1941.

In December 1971 the M5 motorway was opened to Avonmouth, and extended south into Somerset when the Avonmouth Bridge was opened in May 1974.[9]

Local places of interest

Avonmouth Sewage Works Nature Reserve

The 10-hectare (25-acre) Avonmouth Sewage Treatment Works is managed as a nature reserve by Wessex Water. The man-made lagoons and a pool provide a feeding and resting area for many birds including ducks such as pochard, tufted duck, teal and shoveller. The rough grassland provides a refuge for voles, Northern crested newt and other small mammals,[10] which are preyed upon by kestrels and barn owls.[11][12]

The Range Distribution Centre

Avonmouth is home to the largest single footprint warehouse in the United Kingdom[13], a 1,250,000 sq ft portal frame building operated by The Range as a distribution centre. The enormous building occupies 55 acres of land[14] and is part of the Central Park project located close to the Severn estuary shoreline. Previously, the largest single footprint warehouse in the United Kingdom was a building operated by Amazon in Dunfermline, Scotland which covers 1,000,000 sq ft.


Avonmouth is part of the Bristol North West constituency, which elects a member of Parliament (MP).

As a ward of Bristol City Council which has local elections in three of every four years, Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston June 2016 to May 2018 three councillors:

Apart from Avonmouth itself, the ward includes Shirehampton and part of Lawrence Weston. Shirehampton is a part of Bristol which has a medieval-founded village nucleus and contains buildings dating more than a century earlier than the earliest examples in Avonmouth. Today the pre-1893 mother parish of Shirehampton has definitive boundaries and c. 6,867 inhabitants.[16][17] Shirehampton railway station provides travel to the city centre. The western end of the Lawrence Weston area crosses the boundary into the Avonmouth ward, however the majority of the area falls within the Kingsweston ward. The combined area is separated from the rest of Bristol by a small amount of green land, see buffer zones.


  1. ^ Wards are periodically redrawn on arithmetical grounds to avoid malapportionment which arises from adult population change increasing or decreasing electors per councillor


  1. ^ "Hazardous Chemicals and Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH)". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Chemical experts check 'contaminated' land at Avonmouth". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Consultation update on proposed new gas-fired power station" (PDF). SSE. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Site investigation underway for Bristol box terminal Avonmouth,Bristol, Bristol Port Company, Container terminals,". 13 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  5. ^ Watts, Victor, ed. (2010), "Avonmouth", The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521168557
  6. ^ a b c d e Richard Coates (2013). "The street-names of Shirehampton and Avonmouth" (PDF). Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  7. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Shirehampton, Gloucestershire. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  8. ^ Mike Oakley (2006). Bristol Railway Stations 1840-2005. Redcliffe. pp. 38–40. ISBN 1-904537-54-5.
  9. ^ "The Twyning Green (J8) to Edithmead (J22) section of M5". The Motorway Archive. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Planning Application" (PDF). Bristol City Council. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Site Details". Severnside Birds. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Avonmouth Wind Turbine - Water Vole Mitigation". EcoSulis. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  13. ^ "The Range opens one of the largest distribution centres in the UK - eDelivery.net". eDelivery.net. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Central Park". www.centralparkbristol.co.uk. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Bristol City Council – Find councillors".
  16. ^ "St Andrew". A Church Near You. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  17. ^ 1991 census data; 2001 data not readily separable from Avonmouth.

External links

040424 026 avonmouth
The River Avon with Avonmouth and the M5 bridge
A403 road

The A403 is a main road linking Bristol with the Severn Estuary. It runs from junction 1 of the M48 at Aust to the docks at Avonmouth. After the Severn Bridge was opened in 1966, the A403 was constructed in 1969 and 1970 to provide a direct route between the M4 motorway and Avonmouth. It is an important route for the local industries, allowing easy access between Wales and this part of England. It was financed by Gloucestershire County Council with a £387,000 grant from the Ministry of Transport and was initially known as the Avonmouth Aust Coast Road.

Ashley Hill railway station

Ashley Hill railway station was a railway station serving the area of Ashley Down in the north of Bristol, England. It was located on what is now known as the Filton line. It was served by stopping trains to Severn Beach (via Pilning), Avonmouth (via Chittening) and Swindon (via Badminton).

Avonmouth Bridge

The Avonmouth Bridge is a road bridge that carries the M5 motorway over the River Avon into Somerset near Bristol, England. The main span is 538 ft (164 m) long, and the bridge is 4,554 ft (1,388 m) long, with an air draught above mean high water level of 98.4 ft (30 m). It also has a separate footpath and cycleway which connects with Avonmouth station.

Avonmouth Docks

The Avonmouth Docks are part of the Port of Bristol, in England. They are situated on the northern side of the mouth of the River Avon, opposite the Royal Portbury Dock on the southern side, where the river joins the Severn estuary, within Avonmouth.

Accessible via a 210 metres (690 ft) long and 30 metres (98 ft) wide lock, today the docks are one of the UK's major ports for chilled foods, especially fruit and vegetables. Land-side freight access and distribution is via either the M5 motorway or the Henbury Loop Line, whilst rail-passenger access is via Avonmouth railway station on the Severn Beach Line.

Avonmouth Docks railway station

Avonmouth Docks railway station was in the Avonmouth district of Bristol. It was opened by the Great Western Railway on 9 May 1910 as a terminus for trains on the Henbury Loop Line. The last train to the station ran on 22 March 1915, after which it was closed as a wartime economy measure. It officially closed on 28 April 1919.

Avonmouth Light Railway

The Avonmouth Light Railway (ALR) was a nominally independent railway company operating a short standard-gauge branch line from a point on what is now the Severn Beach Line near Avonmouth Docks station in Bristol to a Bristol Corporation electricity installation east of the main entrance to Avonmouth Docks. Its promoters had aspirations which were never fulfilled.

Avonmouth railway station

Avonmouth railway station is located on the Severn Beach Line and serves the district of Avonmouth in Bristol, England. It is 9.0 miles (14.5 km) from Bristol Temple Meads. Its three letter station code is AVN. The station has two platforms, on either side of two running lines. As of 2015 it is managed by Great Western Railway, which is the third franchise to be responsible for the station since privatisation in 1997. They provide all train services at the station, mainly a train every forty minutes to Bristol Temple Meads and one every two hours to Severn Beach.

The station was opened in 1877 by the Bristol Port Railway and Pier, a railway which ran along the River Avon from Hotwells to a pier at Avonmouth. The station, originally known as Avonmouth Dock, had a single platform, but was rebuilt with two platforms by the Great Western and Midland Railways in 1885 when they began services via Clifton Down. The station was enhanced numerous times in the early part of the twentieth century, and by 1913 employed 72 staff. Facilities included a goods yard, signal box and engine shed.

The Severn Beach Line declined over the latter half of the twentieth century, with passenger numbers falling significantly. Goods services at Avonmouth ended in 1966, and all staff were withdrawn in 1967. Services had decreased to 10 per day each direction by 2005, but have since increased to 25 trains per day.

Avonmouth railway station (Bristol Port Railway and Pier)

Avonmouth railway station was the terminus of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier, a self-contained railway which ran along the River Avon in Bristol, England. The station, which opened in 1865, was adjacent to a pier on the River Severn at Avonmouth. It had two platforms and an adjacent hotel, as well as an engine shed and water tank. The station was closed in 1902 as the land was required for the expansion of Avonmouth Docks, although it remained in use for workers' trains until 1903. The hotel continued in operation until 1926, when it too was demolished to make way for the docks. The station site is now in the middle of Avonmouth Docks.

Bristol Port Railway and Pier

The Bristol Port Railway and Pier (occasionally referred to as the Bristol Port and Pier Railway) was a railway in Bristol, England.


Chittening is an industrial estate in Avonmouth, Bristol, England, bypassed by the A403 road, near the River Severn. It lies within the city boundary of Bristol, in Avonmouth ward, but used to be beyond it, in historic Gloucestershire, on former marshland at the southern end of the Vale of Berkeley.

Henbury Loop Line

The Henbury Loop Line, also known as the Filton to Avonmouth Line is a railway line following the boundary between Bristol and South Gloucestershire between the Severn Beach Line at Hallen Marsh Junction, Avonmouth and the Cross Country Route/South Wales Main Line at Filton. It is currently only used for freight.

Horfield railway station

Horfield railway station was a railway station serving the northern part of Horfield and Lockleaze in the north of Bristol, England. It was located on the main line from Bristol to South Wales. It was served by stopping trains to Severn Beach (via Pilning), Avonmouth (via Chittening) and Swindon (via Badminton).

Lawrence Weston, Bristol

Lawrence Weston is a post war housing estate in north west Bristol between Henbury and Shirehampton.

The estate is bounded in the east by the Blaise Castle estate and woods. It is situated at the edge of the Severn flood plain, directly beneath the wooded Kingsweston Hill. The industrial complex and port of Avonmouth is a mile or so west, across the flood plain. Lawrence Weston forms part of the city ward of Kingsweston.

Lawrence Weston was originally a hamlet, a tything of the parish of Henbury. It was transformed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when the estate was built, absorbing both the original hamlet and the neighbouring hamlet of Kings Weston. Originally council owned, much of the housing stock is now in private hands. It is known as "El Dub" or "L' Dub" to its inhabitants. The row of shops in Ridingleaze has been revamped and each shop is now adorned with a mural.

Lawrence Weston is well known locally for its vibrant facilities for young people. There are two youth centres, a BMX track, a young people's shop called Juicy Blitz and a Youth Inclusion project. It has a community farm and a range of clubs and groups for young people.

Kings Weston House and Kings Weston Roman Villa both lie near the western end of the estate.

North Filton Platform railway station

North Filton Platform was a railway station which served the northern part of Filton, Gloucestershire, England. It was on the railway line between Filton and Avonmouth, and was situated on the western side of Gloucester Road (the present A38).

Port of Bristol

The Port of Bristol comprises the commercial, and former commercial, docks situated in and near the city of Bristol in England. The Port of Bristol Authority was the commercial title of the Bristol City, Avonmouth, Portishead and Royal Portbury Docks when they were operated by Bristol City Council, which ceased trade when the Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Docks were leased to The Bristol Port Company in 1991.

Royal Portbury Dock

The Royal Portbury Dock is part of the Port of Bristol, in England. It is situated near the village of Portbury on the southern side of the mouth of the Avon, where the river joins the Severn estuary — the Avonmouth Docks are on the opposite side of the Avon, within Avonmouth. The deepwater dock was constructed between 1972 and 1977, and is now a major port for the import of motor vehicles into the UK. The M5 motorway runs nearby, and the huge car storage compounds around the dock are visible from the Avonmouth Bridge. A waste industrial area west of the port is being developed as the Portbury Ashlands Nature Reserve.

The Royal Portbury Dock has the largest entrance lock into any UK port, accommodating vessels up to 41 m (135 ft) beam, 290 m (951 ft) length and 14.5 m (48 ft) draft.

Severn Beach line

The Severn Beach line is a local railway line in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, England. It runs from Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach, and used to extend to Pilning. The first sections of the line were opened in 1863 as part of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier, the section through Bristol was opened in 1875 as the Clifton Extension Railway. The line has faced several threats of closure over the years, and has been reduced to single track in many places. In recent years however it has experienced a surge in passenger numbers, with a 90% increase in the years 2007–11. All services along the line are operated by Great Western Railway, mainly one train in each direction between Avonmouth and Temple Meads every 40 minutes, calling at all stations, with one train every two hours extended to Severn Beach. The line carries little freight traffic, with most of the heavy freight traffic to Avonmouth Docks being routed via the Henbury Loop Line through Filton. The line has been highlighted by Thomas Cook as one of the scenic lines of Europe.


Shirehampton is a district of Bristol in England, near Avonmouth at the northwestern edge of the city.

It originated as a separate village, retains a High Street with a parish church and shops, and is still thought of as a village by many of its 6,867 inhabitants. Although on the far northwest corner, and largely separated from the rest of Bristol by a broad swathe of parkland extending from the Blaise Castle estate, with the River Avon forming a barrier for access to Somerset, the community is still a convenient location from which to reach all parts of the city and its work environment.

Travel is also easy from Shirehampton into Gloucestershire, South Wales and Somerset since it lies within easy reach of all the main motorways in the area, including the M5, the M4 Second Severn Crossing, and the M49, and it is served by the A4 Portway and by Shirehampton railway station, which allow access to near the city centre. It is informally known to local people as "Shire".

Shirehampton railway station

Shirehampton railway station is on the Severn Beach Line and serves the district of Shirehampton in Bristol, England. It is 7.6 miles (12.2 km) from Bristol Temple Meads. Its three letter station code is SHH. The station has a single platform which serves trains in both directions. As of 2015 it is managed by Great Western Railway, which is the third franchise to be responsible for the station since privatisation in 1997. They provide all train services at the station, mainly a train every forty minutes in each direction between Bristol Temple Meads and Avonmouth.

The station was opened in 1865 as the headquarters of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier, a railway which ran along the River Avon from Hotwells to a pier at Avonmouth, and was linked to the national network in 1877. The station had a single platform to begin with, but was rebuilt with a second in 1903, as well as a signal box and a goods yard. By the 1930s the station had ten staff.

The Severn Beach Line declined over the latter half of the twentieth century, with passenger numbers falling significantly. Goods services at Shirehampton ended in 1965, and all staff were withdrawn in 1967. The second platform and signal box were taken out of use in 1970, with the station buildings sold off and later destroyed by fire. Services had decreased to ten per day each direction by 2005, but have since increased to twenty-four trains per day.

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