The Eight River Avons of Britain
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The Eight River Avons of Britain

Facts about the River Avon, River Avons in England, River Avons in Scotland, River Avon in Wales, Afon Afan, eight River Avons in Britain, Avon Aqueduct, Ynys - y - Gwas Bridge, Avon Water, Warwickshire Avon, Shakespeares Avon, Lower Avon, Bristol Avon, Loch Avon, Glen Avon,

There are eight River Avons situated within Great Britain.

The name Avon, comes from the Brythonic language and stems from its word for river, abona.

Brythonic was an ancient, insular Celtic language of the British Isles spoken between the Iron Age (1200 BC) and the fifth century, by a race of people called Britons.

The words River Avon actually mean River River, which is a tautology, the mergence of two words that mean the same thing, taken from two different languages.

There are four River Avons in England, three River Avons in Scotland and one River Avon in Wales, although this Welsh river is spelt Afan, but pronounced in just the same way.

The Welsh word for river is Afon, also prounounced in the same way as avon, meaning River Avon in Welsh is called Afon Afan, another tautology, also meaning River River.


1.) Both the longest English and the longest British River Avon, this river travels for eighty five miles through the English counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, from it's source at Naseby in Northamptonshire until it merges with the River Severn at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.

This River Avon is also known as the Warwickshire Avon - as it travels through more of that county than any other - or Shakespeare's Avon - as it travels through William Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford - upon - Avon. It is here at Stratford that the river connects with the Stratford and Avon Canal.

2.) The second English River Avon also known as the Lower Avon or Bristol Avon travels for seventy miles from its source at Old Sodbury in Gloucestershire until it merges with the River Severn Estuary at Avonmouth near the city of Bristol.

This river runs through the English counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset, the cities of Bristol and Bath and merges with the River Kennet at Bath to form part of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

3.) English River Avon number three is a sixty mile long river which rises in Pewsey, Wiltshire and travels through the counties of Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset on England's south coast before draining into the English Channel at Mudeford in Dorset.

This river is synonomous for having more species of fish than any other British river.

4.) English River Avon number four is the baby of the family, situated soley in the county of Devon and is only seven miles long.

The river rises on the moorlands of Dartmoor National Park and flows southwards towards the south Devon coastal town of Bigbury - on - Sea, where the tiny river drains into the English Channel.


                     Britain's longest River Avon, at Stratford - upon - Avon, Warwickshire.


1.) The longest River Avon in Scotland is the forty mile long river that rises at the foothills of Ben MacDui then travels for ten miles before entering the remote and isolated Loch Avon, situated 3,700 feet up on the Cairngorm plateau in the Cairngorms National Park. The river travels on through the Forest of Glenavon and the Highland villages of Tomintoul and Strathavon before joining the River Spey at Ballindalloch in Banffshire.

This River Avon is the larger River Spey's longest tributary and is considered to be Scotland's best salmon river. 

2.) Scottish River Avon number two is a twenty four mile long tributary of the River Clyde also known as Avon Water. This river rises near the town of Irvine in Ayreshire and flows in a north easterly direction before merging with the River Clyde between the two Lanarkshire towns of Hamilton and Motherwell.

3.) Scottish River Avon number three rises at Cumbernault in Lanarkshire and travels just eleven miles through the towns of Falkirk, Avonbridge and Avongorge before draining into the Firth of Forth at Grangemouth on Scotland's east coast.

The 810 foot long by 86 foot high, Avon Aqueduct designed by Thomas Telford and built between 1818 and 1822 - the largest of it's kind in Scotland and the second largest in Britain -  carries the thirty one and a half mile long Union Canal over this River Avon, located outside the town of Linlithgow in West Lothian.


The Welsh River Avon, also known as Afon Afan, rises in the village of Cymer in the Vale of Glamorgan and travels south westerly through the Afan Forest and Afan Argoed Country Park for just fourteen miles before reaching Port Talbot on Wales' south coast, where it drains into Swansea Bay situated in the Bristol Channel. 

This River Avon was the site of a total bridge collapse in December 1985, when the road bridge the Pont  Ynys - y - Gwas, suddenly and unexpectedly plunged into the river near Port Talbot in West Glamorgan, due to metal corrosion. There were no injuries or fatalities.

NB - The English pronounce avon = ay - von and the Welsh and the Scots pronounce avon = av - on.









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Comments (4)

Very interesting reading.Thanks DeeBee for sharing

Interesting article about all these rivers of the same name.

Very interesting. I didn't know that there were eight rivers called Avon.

Hi! Have just come across this article and found it very interesting. Thought you might like to know though that the Devonshire Avon, although certainly the shortest of the four English Avons, is not quite as short as seven miles. From its source on Dartmoor it actually runs for about twenty-three miles before it reaches the English Channel. I made a film about it some years ago and wlkeed the whole length!