The village of Freshford includes the four smaller hamlets of Sharpstone, Park Corner, Woodside and Staples Hill which are separated from the village centre by a few hundred metres of open fields.
The village history goes back to Saxon times and it expanded with the growth of local industry history but is now largely residential.
The village has existed since Saxon times, and existed before the land at Fersceforde was given to Bath Abbey after the Norman Conquest. A mill existed at as early as 1086 and there are still remains of one built in the 1540s.
Freshford Bridge over the River Frome dates from the early to mid 16th century.
In the 19th century freestone and fuller's earth were mined in the parish and employment included the manufacture of cloth, operation of malt-kilns, breweries, and fulling-mills. The importance of weaving can be seen at the now derelict site of Freshford Mill, and the numerous weavers’ cottages in the village. Dunkirk Mill, which was built in 1795 for Thomas Joyce, is now a residential property located just over the parish boundary in Hinton Charterhouse.
The village is notable in that the houses have names instead of numbers, as was noted in the Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt, which was filmed locally in 1952 and where Freshford village served as the set for the idyllic English village under threat. The railway scenes were filmed on the Camerton branch line of the Bristol and North Somerset Railway. Passenger services started in 1910 and were suspended for the First World War in 1915; they resumed in 1923 but were withdrawn entirely in 1925. Freight services, mostly of coal, on the branch line ceased in 1951. The line achieved some fame after closure by its use in the film The Titfield Thunderbolt, but the track was taken up in 1958. The cricket scene was filmed nearby the former viaduct hotel at Limpley Stoke, where cricket is still played today.
Freshford shares its parish council with Sharpstone and the surrounding hamlets.
The village is part of the ward of Bathavon South in the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset, which has the wider responsibility for providing services such as education, refuse collection, and tourism. The ward is currently represented by Councillor Neil Butters, a member of the Liberal Democrats. It is also part of the Wansdyke constituency, which will become North East Somerset at the next general election, and part of the South West England constituency of the European Parliament. The sitting Member of Parliament for Wansdyke is Dan Norris, a member of the Labour Party.
The village is in the valley of the River Avon close to the point at which it is joined by the River Frome. The Kennet and Avon Canal is visible across the Avon valley from the village, but the nearest crossings of the Avon are at Avoncliff and Limpley Stoke.
Freshford's village centre is a conservation area which was created in 1975 and extended in April 2007, designated under the provisions of Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
A significant number (20%) of local residents work from home using the internet. The village has a long-standing tradition of attracting "retired people of status". It is also a dormitory town for people working in Bath and Bristol.(27%)
Most of the buildings and boundary walls are built from the local Oolitic limestone.
The 19th century brewery and attached cottages are now used as offices. The tall ashlar chimney has a tapered octagonal shaft with moulded cap and provides an obvious landmark around the village.
Freshford manor is an 18th century manor house. It was built on the site of an earlier house known as Pittes Place which dated from before 1603.
The Freshford Mill site comprises a mixture of buildings the oldest of which, the mill owner's house, dates back to the 17th century. There are also three major blocks from the late 18th/early 19th centuries, all in natural stone and clay tile or slate, and three more modern buildings from the 1950's, and 1980's. The site features a mill channel with an internal wheel although a narrower mill leat was blocked many years ago. The site was used until 1993 by Peradins for the manufacture of rubber components for the car industry. Since the firm relocated to their new premises in Trowbridge the site has been essentially empty. In 2003 an application was made to turn the site into a rural recreation area, nature sanctuary and workshops. The site was sold to new owners and more recent proposals are for a residential estate. This has been opposed by local residents and the parish council. They have argued that the increase in the population of the village and the effect on the infrastructure such as the roads and school would be too great. There are also concerns because the site is within a Zone 3 flood plain, which is designated by the Environment Agency as having an annual probability of river flooding of 1% or greater. The site contains several protected species of bat.
Freshford is close to the A36.
It is served by Freshford railway station which opened in 1857. It has 2 platforms and is served by First Great Western. A half-hourly peak and hourly off-peak service is currently provided northbound to Bath and Bristol and southbound to Bradford on Avon, Trowbridge, Westbury and then further to Weymouth and Southampton. In February 2006, Platform 2 at Freshford was raised by 30cm to reduce the large stepping gap between the train and the platform. It was lowered in 1988 as part of the realignment of the track through the station to allow trains to pass at a faster speed. At the same time the platform was raised, the station also received additional improvements including better lighting and the construction of a new waiting shelter. Suggestions have been made by railway officials, that "excessive" use of the station leads to overcrowding at peak times further up the line and that the stop should be dropped.
Freshford Primary School, a co-educational primary school for children between the ages of 4 – 11, was founded in 1847 and has been recently modernised.
St. Peter's Church, on the north side of the village, has a very old Christian marking on the back of the church and parts of the church date back to the fifteenth century. The church has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building. The churchyard also has a number of Georgian chest tombs, dating from the late 18th and early 19th century, four of which are listed in their own right.
The local pub is called The Inn, and sits beside the River Frome, a tributary of the River Avon. The Inn (which has never been an inn!) is noted for its regular offering of music including jazz every Thursday night. Every third Monday musicians, professional and amateur alike, are welcome to come and play. The village hall plays host to many events, including painting classes, aerobics, badminton, drama productions, and much more. The village hall is situated part way between the centre of Freshford, and Park Corner. Unfortunately, the village hall is in a poor condition and fails to meet the present requirements for energy conservation and may contain asbestos in its construction.