AVON, the name of several rivers in England and elsewhere. The word is Celtic, appearing in Welsh (very frequently) as afon, in Manx as aon, and in Gaelic as abhuinn (pronounced avain), and is radically identical with the Sanskrit ap, water, and the Lat. aqua and amnis. The root appears more or less disguised in a vast number of river names all over the Celtic area in Europe. Thus, besides such forms as Evan, Aune, Anne, lye, Auney, Inney, etc., in the British Islands; A ff, Aven, Avon, Aune appear in France; Avenza and Avens in Italy; Avia in Portugal, and Avono in Spain. The names Punjab, Doab, etc., also show the root. In England the following are the principal rivers of this name : (1 ) The East or Hampshire Avon rises in Wiltshire south of Marlborough, and flows through the Vale of Pewsey. Travers ing the eastern edge of Salisbury Plain, it passes Amesbury, and reaches Salisbury after a very sinuous course. Here it receives on the east bank the Bourne and on the west the Wylye. In a wider fertile valley it skirts the New Forest on the west, receives the Stour, and 21m. lower enters the English Channel through the broad but narrow-mouthed Christchurch harbour. Length, exclud ing lesser sinuosities, about 6om. The total fall is over 5oof t. ; that from Salisbury (35m. from the mouth) about 14of t. The river is of no modern value for navigation, but may have been important in prehistoric times. It abounds in roach and there are valuable salmon fisheries. Drainage area, I,132sq.m.
(3) The Upper Avon, also called the Warwickshire, and sometimes the "Shakespeare" Avon from its associations with Stratford, is an eastern tributary of the Severn. It rises near Naseby in Northamptonshire, and, with a course of about Loom., joins the Severn immediately below Tewkesbury in Gloucester shire. After flowing south-west to Rugby, it runs west and south west to Warwick, receiving the Leam on the east. Continuing south-west it goes past Evesham to Tewkesbury. The valley is broad, and especially after Warwick, through the Vale of Eve sham, the scenery is very beautiful, the rich valley being flanked by the bold Cotswold Hills on the south and by the wooded Arden district on the north. Famous beauty spots include Warwick Castle, Stratford and Evesham. The river is locked, and carries some trade up to Evesham, 28m. from Tewkesbury ; the locks from Evesham upward to Stratford (17m.) are decayed, but there are many reaches suitable for pleasure boats. Total fall of river, about 5oof t. ; from Rugby about 23of t. ; and from Warwick 12of t. Coarse fish abound. Other streams of this name in Great Britain are one from Dartmoor to the English Channel; one in South Wales with its mouth at Aberavon in Glamorganshire; and, in Scotland, tributaries of the Clyde, Spey and Forth.