River Chew - A Somerset Stream
"If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees." - Rainer Maria Rilke
Compton Dando To Keynsham
THE RIVER CHEW enters its final phase at Compton Dando, turning north and flowing through Chewton Keynsham and the bustling town of Keynsham, where it empties into the depths of the much larger Bristol Avon.

Medieval road bridge, Compton Dando Just downstream of the medieval road bridge lies the Environment Agency's flow measuring station - a steep-sided flume where the flow is concentrated to a width of just a few feet. Once clear of the station, the Chew is once again allowed to meander across its flood plain, cutting a deep channel in the process.

The path of the Wansdyke crosses the river in this area, a site believed to have housed a significant outpost. The depths here range from fast-flowing rapids of only a few inches, to deeper eddies and holes of 11 feet or more in places. The banks are lined with Alder and old Willow trees, many of which are fallen or split due to a lack of pollarding in recent decades. The surrounding fields comprise a mixture of lush grazing pasture and agricultural land.

The Chew is crossed by an old stone packhorse bridge at Uplands, Chewton Keynsham, then winds its way to the weir and sluice at the former Chewton Mill. Downstream lies the sedate Mill Ground stretch, where the flow slows, the river deepens and the banks become less steep. This section extends north to the twin weirs at the Albert Mill complex in Dapps Hill, Keynsham.

Fish pass at Albert Mill, Keynsham From this former dye mill the river continues its journey into the heart of Keynsham, passing through the Memorial Park behind the leisure centre to the final weir near Bath Hill, where the flow powers a restored undershot water wheel on the site of Chew Mill, a former 18th to 19th century brass battery mill which predates the 1500's.

Downstream of this point, the Chew loses its natural beauty to a steep-sided stone culvert which carries the mature waters of the river under the twin concrete arches of the main A4 by-pass bridge, past the former abbey grounds and on, beneath Brunel's bridge and the Bristol to London railway line to the waiting waters of the Bristol Avon, where the identity of the River Chew slips (usually) quietly away.



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Related Articles, Maps & Further Reading
Flow measuring flume, Compton Dando
Flow measuring flume,
Compton Dando

Deer grazing at Lye Hill, near Compton Dando
Deer grazing at Lye Hill,
near Compton Dando

River Chew below Compton Dando
River Chew below
Compton Dando

The Chew Valley at Chewton Keynsham
The Chew Valley at
Chewton Keynsham

Uplands Bridge, Chewton Keynsham
Uplands Bridge,
Chewton Keynsham

Bridge and weir, Chewton Keynsham
Bridge and weir,
Chewton Keynsham

The Mill Ground in winter, Keynsham
The Mill Ground in
winter, Keynsham

River Chew at Dapps Hill, Keynsham
River Chew at Dapps Hill,
Keynsham

Dapps Hill Bridge, Keynsham
Dapps Hill Bridge,
Keynsham

Weir at Keynsham Memorial Park
Weir at Keynsham
Memorial Park
www.riverchew.co.uk

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