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Cold Ashton Conservation Area


A conservation area is an area of ‘special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Once designated, the local planning authority has a statutory duty to ensure that any proposed development will preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area and its setting.

Cold Ashton was designated a conservation area on the 16th February 1983.  A Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) appraisal leaflet was published following the conservation areas designation. This document is not a review of such, but sets out the information as produced in an accessible format supported by current policy context, pictures and mapping.

Policy context

Local authorities have had the ability to designate locations of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ as conservation areas since 1967 when introduced as part of the Civic Amenities Act. Section 69 (2) of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation) Act 1990 legislates that authorities are to carry out reviews of existing conservation areas from ‘time to time’. Section 72 also states that ‘special attention shall be paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area’. Guidance on conservation area appraisals and the management of conservation areas is produced by Heritage England.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out national planning policy and must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions. The NPPF defines conservation areas as ‘Heritage Assets’ and sets out in Para 126 that local authorities should ‘recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and should conserve them in a manner appropriate to their significance’. Para 127 states that when designating conservation areas local planning authorities should ensure the area justifies this status because of its special architectural or historic interest.

South Gloucestershire has 31 conservation areas, and there are a number of policies within the Council’s Local Plan documents that are relevant. South Gloucestershire Local Plan 2006 saved policy L12 requires development within or affecting the conservation area to preserve or enhance its character or appearance. Further to this policy L13 states that development affecting the setting of a Listed Building will not be permitted unless ‘the building and its setting would be preserved’. South Gloucestershire Core Strategy 2006-2027 sets out in CS9 that the ‘natural and historic environment is a finite and irreplaceable resource’, and expects that new development will conserve, respect and enhance heritage assets.

The emerging Polices, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan policy PSP18 states that development should ‘serve to protect, and where appropriate, enhance or better reveal the significance of heritage assets and their setting’ and ‘development within their [listed buildings] setting will be expected to preserve and, where appropriate enhance…their special architectural or historic interest’. It should be noted the PSP Plan is currently a material consideration and at this time very limited weight is given to policies.


Cold Ashton is a small village approximately 3 miles north of Bath, off the Kingswood to Chippenham road, the A420. The village is a small but visually attractive settlement set upon an exposed position on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment (see figure 1). The village street commands magnificent views over the Wiltshire Downs to the east (see figure 2) and the steep St Catherine’s Valley to the South (see figure 3).

photo showing Views looking north from Slough Lane towards the village

Figure 1: Views looking north from Slough Lane towards the village

photo showing Views looking east from Hyde's Lane opposite The Thatched House

Figure 2: Views looking east from Hyde’s Lane opposite The Thatched House

photo showing Views looking south from Slough Lane

Figure 3: Views looking south from Slough Lane


Cold Ashton is ancient in origin and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Indeed, Cold Ashton is the site of two round barrows known as Robin Hood’s butts.

The Cold Ashton estate was originally the property of Bath Abbey until the dissolution and in 1564 came into the hands of William Pepwall, Mayor of Bristol. There are a number of listed buildings within the village one of which is the splendid Elizabethan Manor House (see figure 4). It has been suggested that this house may date from Pepwall’s time but it is more likely to have been begun c1629 when John Gunning, another Mayor of Bristol, bought the estate.

The forecourt wall has an impressive ornamental gateway bearing the coat of arms of Sir Robert Gunning of 1678 (see figure 4). The archway is a fine example of the renaissance style, with square Roman Doric columns, rosette frieze, surmounted by two floricated urns (see figure 5).

Semi-circular steps leading onto the road complete the design and there is a mounting block to one side (see figure 4). Inside the Manor the most notable feature is the splendid hall screen, one of few in the country to survive intact.

photo showing Elizabethan Manor House

Figure 4: Elizabethan Manor House

photo showing Floricated urns

Figure 5: Floricated urns

Adjacent to the Manor lies the Old Rectory (see figure 6) which dates from the 16th century and was largely rebuilt in the 19th century. It has an interesting history, being the place where Sir Bevil Grenville, Royalist Leader in the Civil War died, after being mortally wounded in the Battle of Lansdown in 1643.
photo showing The Old Rectory

Figure 6: The Old Rectory

The Holy Trinity Church originally came under the Priory of St Peter in Bath and was largely rebuilt between 1508 and 1540 by the rector, Thomas Key. His rebus, a ‘T’ entwined in a key can be found embellishing the church and other interesting features (see figures 7 to 9) include the remains of a rood loft and a curious pulpit set in a niche in the north wall.
photo showing Thomas Key rebus embellishing the church

Figure 7: Thomas Key rebus embellishing the church

photo showing Pulpit set on the north wall of the church

Figure 8: Pulpit set on the north wall of the church

photo showing Stained glass window on the west wall of the church

Figure 9: Stained glass window on the west wall of the church

Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey map Cold Ashton

Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey map Cold Ashton

Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey map Cold Ashton

Circa 1880 Ordnance Survey map Cold Ashton


Cold Ashton is a small village which, due to its setting, exhibits an air of tranquillity and pleasant isolation. The stone walled main street together with the close alignment of the Manor House, the Old Rectory and the Court House give the village an intimate character (see figures 10 to 12). The Holy Trinity Church, set away from the road, is almost entirely hidden by trees and provides an interesting feature within the village (see figure 13). Many of the village’s older non-listed buildings are also of architectural merit and contribute to the special character of Cold Ashton.

photo showing stone walls on the main street
photo showing stone walls on the main street

photo showing stone walls on the main street

Figures 10 to 12: Examples of stone walls on the main street
photo showing Holy Trinity Church

Figure 13: Holy Trinity Church

Cold Ashton’s location on the edge of the Cotswolds provides marvellous views of the surrounding countryside from the village (see figures 14 to 18). The Cotswold Way passes through Cold Ashton providing an opportunity for walkers to explore this historic settlement.
Views south from Hyde’s Lane

Figure 14: Views south from Hyde’s Lane


Figure 16: Views south from Hyde’s Lane

Views north from The White Hart

Figure 15: Views north from The White Hart


Figure 17: Views west towards the village


Figure 18: Views south from The Thatched Cottage

Figures 20 to 25. Various building styles in Cold Ashton

Summary map



The council is keen to work with the local community and other parties to help preserve and enhance this special area. If you wish to assist in any manner or have any further suggestions, please let us know.

For further information or advice please contact:

Conservation Officer
Strategic Planning Policy and Specialist Advice Team
South Gloucestershire Council
PO Box 2081
South Gloucestershire
BS35 9BP

Telephone: 01454 863578