Winterbourne, Gloucestershire

Winterbourne, Gloucestershire

infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Winterbourne
latitude= 51.4979
longitude= -2.5194
civil_parish= Winterbourne
population =
unitary_england= South Gloucestershire
lieutenancy_england= Gloucestershire
region= South West England
constituency_westminster= Filton and Bradley Stoke
post_town= BRISTOL
postcode_district = BS36
postcode_area= BS
dial_code= 01454
os_grid_reference= ST6580

Winterbourne is a large village in South Gloucestershire, England, on the outskirts of the city of Bristol. It had a population of just over 9000 in the 2001 census. It sits as the centre of the Civil Parish of Winterbourne which encompasses the neighbouring communities of Winterbourne Down, Hambrook and Frenchay. To the east is the village of Frampton Cotterell and to the west lies the new town of Bradley Stoke.

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. [ [ St Michael's School Admission Register 1966-1970] - Rowling listed as admission No.305. Accessed 14 August 2006.] Potter's surname originated from some of her friends in the village. [cite web|url=|title=Edinburgh "cub reporter" press conference, ITV, 16 July 2005|work=Quick Quotes Quill|accessdate = June 29|accessyear=2007]

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 from Frampton Cotterell (north-east of Winterbourne) and on towards Frenchay. 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.

Winterbourne Viaduct carries the railway over the River Frome. Beneath the viaduct is the abandoned Huckford Quarry, now a public nature reserve popular with dog walkers. Winterbourne also 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.

At Winterbourne's south-eastern slope is the village of Winterbourne Down, host of the Parish's annual May Day carnival. This village is 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 Winterbourne, St Michael's sits amidst green fields and attractive cottages with its spire clearly visible from the village. 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. This is a grade II* listed 14th century tithe barn – an outstanding and unique example of its type.

Winterbourne has a number of pubs. These include The George and Dragon (the upstairs of which served as the original location of St Michael's Primary School), The Wheatsheaf (also a hotel), The Swan and The Mason's Arms. More recently, The Wheatsheaf and The Swan have expanded their service to include restaurants.

Due to Winterbourne's size, people are divided on 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, all of which are host to clubs, functions and other public events.

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 are 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, The Ridings High School, 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 be entertained by Fromeside youth club, as well as a gymnastics club, Fromeside gym club. These are both situated on Watleys End Road.

Winterbourne was recorded in the Domesday book (1086) as Wintreborne, meaning Winter Stream [ISBN 0-19-852-758-6 Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names] . The River Frome does indeed flow more strongly in the winter, as suggested by the name.


Winterbourne has four schools: Elm Park and St Michael's are the local primary schools, with most students going on to attend the local secondary school: The Ridings High School. Silverhill is an independent preparatory school for children aged 2 to 11 years.


External links

* [ St Michael's Church]
* [ Introduction to Winterbourne]
* [ Winterbourne Family History Online]
* [ The Frome Valley Walkway]
* [ Winterbourne Down May Day Carnival information]
* [ Public Houses in Winterbourne and Winterbourne Down]
* [ Winterbourne Mediaeval Barn Trust]

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