1st April 1974 was a momentous day for Freshford, because it marked the day when Freshford, after centuries spent in a quiet corner of Somerset, woke up to find itself in the Wansdyke District of the new County of Avon.
Freshford was not pleased.
A memorial ceremony was held on The Tyning the day before and a horse chestnut tree was planted “as a final act to plant it in the soil of Somerset by the sorrowing people of Freshford”. A stone engraved “SOMt 31 March 1974 AVON” was set beside the tree – both are there to this day (the tree used for climbing by children). There was a big turnout by residents to witness a procession, singing by the choir, speeches and prayers.
The Parish Council has recently come across a BBC 16mm film from that day. The film shows various locations around the village – much the same as now except for noticeably fewer cars; it shows children coming out of the school and crossing High Street to their waiting mums; and it shows some of the tree-planting ceremony and the attendant villagers.
The film has been transcribed to video and you can view it by clicking on the following link. Please note that the quality is not good and there is no sound for the first part of the film. However, it is only 8 minutes long and will make fascinating viewing for anyone with long connections with Freshford – and for anyone else who has an interest in our community.
And how did the story end? Well, after the demise of the unloved Avon, Freshford was on the move again and on 1st April 1996 found itself in B&NES (Bath and North East Somerset).