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Around Bath

Bath asparagus


Roach, bream and gudgeon are some of the most plentiful fish in the Avon.

The nationally rare plant Bath asparagus is actually more commonly found in the Hanham area despite its name. In the past this plant was known as Poor man's asparagus and formed part of many a poor person's diet.


As the River Avon Trail approaches Bath from Saltford, the steep slope of the Cotswold Escarpment can be seen rising on either side of the river. The high hills around the city are capped by the hard limestone which provides the Bath Stone used in most of the city’s buildings, while the steep valley sides are made of softer clays and sands. All these rocks contain the fossil remains of marine animals, such as ammonites, corals and shellfish, which show the area must have been covered by the sea about 170 million years ago (Jurassic age).

AmmoniteBath Stone became one of the country’s most popular building stones in Georgian times, and many thousands of tons of it were carried by boat down the Avon and around the coast of the British Isles. The stone was even exported to America and South Africa.

The River Avon Valley is much younger than all the rocks along its course. It probably cut its way through the Cotswold Escarpment during the Ice Ages of the last million years. During the cold periods of the Ice Ages the river would have been swollen with melt water from ice and snow which covered the ground. This was when most erosion must have taken place. Fossil woolly mammoth teeth and tusks have been found in gravels beside the river, as have flint tools made by Stone Age people.
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