Bitton Parish Council was formed in 1894. The Parish of Bitton comprises the communities of Bitton, Oldland Common, North Common, Upton Cheyney, Beach, Swineford and part of Willsbridge. The principal authority is South Gloucestershire Council. Located around the A431/A4175 the parish lies 7 miles from Bristol and 6 miles from Bath. It includes part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and gives immediate access onto the Cotswold Way.
The River Boyd runs through the centre of the village. The beautiful parish church of St Mary’s, Bitton is a prominent local landmark, with an exceptionally long aisle and timbered roof. The wood came from a shipwreck in the Bristol Channel during the incumbency of Cannon Ellacombe, an assistant to Isambard Kingdom Brunel in his earlier employment. The church contains two stone coffins, reputed to be among the best in the country. They were found nearby during the 19th century and are thought to belong to either Walter or Sir John de Bitton and his lady. (circa 1277). On the A4175 going towards Oldland Common is the old turnpike (toll) house. To the east, is Cully Hall Farm where Queen Elizabeth I once slept. Its outstanding feature is the main door through which a man can ride on horseback without dismounting.
A431 at Bitton Looking south east toward Kelston and Bath.
Bitton From King’s Field, the South Gloucestershire village of Bitton, showing the 12c St Mary’s Church. Bitton Hill is to the left.
Oldland Common is made up of a triangle of roads – High Street, North Street and West Street – with smaller roads running off these. It has been a centre of industry, including coal mining, market gardening, hat making, pin making and boot manufacture. There is a good mix of new and old housing. Among the older ones can be found ‘bartons’ – lanes leading to a group of houses in a square. The Flemish who came to the area introduced this style of housing.
Upton Cheyney & Beach
In the east of the parish lies Swineford, named after the ford across the River Avon. Here was a wharf where horse-drawn barges carried coal and wood pulp for the Golden Valley paper mills. The picnic site has been formed alongside Pipley Brook coming down from the hills.
The A4175 splits the community of Willsbridge between the parishes of Bitton and Oldland. The preserved former Midland Railway station at Bitton offers steam and diesel train rides through the scenic River Avon valley. On the Keynsham Road lies the 15th century Clack Mill, now converted to a cottage. The Portavon Marina marks the most southerly point in the parish.