Magna, an ancient settlement dating from Saxon times,
lies in the Chew Valley, 15 miles from Bath.
1062 to 1548, when the manor of Chew was held by the Bishops
of Bath and Wells, the village was called Episcopi Chew or
Middle Ages the village became a thriving woollen centre.
From around 1600 the settlement became known as Chew Magna,
since it was the most important of a number of villages sited
along the banks of the River Chew.
19th and 20th centuries the wool industry declined and today
Chew Magna is a dormitory area for Bristol and Bath.
village has many listed buildings and was designated a conservation
area in 1978.
Church, dating from the 12th century, has a large 15th century
sandstone tower. Chew Court, next to the church, stands on
the site of the Bishop's palace.
south of the village is the Tun Bridge, dating from the 15th
century. This medieval structure, with three pointed arches,
spans 60 ft over the River Chew. The bridge is approached
by one of the raised pavements that are a feature of Chew
just on the northern edge of the Mendip Hills , an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty, Chew Magna is also a tourist destination.
The creation of the Chew Valley Lake to the south of the village
in the 1950s created further opportunities for tourism and
Chew Valley Lake
Chew Valley, the 5th largest
artificial lake in the UK, lies in the Chew Valley at the
northern edge of the Mendip Hills. Nearby are the villages
of Chew Stoke and Chew Magna.
The reservoir was created in
the early 1950s to provide drinking water for Bristol and
the surrounding area.
Today the relatively shallow
lake, surrounded by reed beds, is an extremely important area
for wildlife and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific
Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA).
The lake is a prominent bird-watching site. Over 260
types of birds have been recorded here including some rare
There are two nature trails
and there are also two landscaped picnic areas, a cafe, information
centre and shop. Activies allowed around the lake including
dinghy sailing and fishing.