Holford village gets its name from its position. ‘Hole’ is a local word for ‘combe’. Holford grew up where two deep combes meet and their two streams flow into one. It was the best place to cross or ford the water. In Holford village, the old cottages straggle up the valleys alongside the streams. Later, people found it more convenient to build their houses near the new turnpike road (now the A39). Now there are 20th century houses on the far side of the main road.

In the past, Holford people did many different jobs. People used water-power from the streams to drive corn mills, a silk-weaving mill and a tannery, where local people made leather.

  • Old Holford Tannery

This ruin is part of a copper mine, which gave jobs to some local people.

  • The Dodington copper mine

There are farms as well around Holford…

  • Holford Farm yard

…and woods, where you can often see deer.

  • Deer in Holford

"How Many Deer?"

Click on the framed picture for tour stop 1

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Holford is popular because it seems such a hidden and unchanged place, in a wild and beautiful landscape. It is loved by writers, poets and artists.
The poet William Wordsworth came here and stayed at Alfoxton house.

  • Alfoxton House

Nearby is this strange building.

  • An old compound for stray animals
  • St Aubyn crest

Since the time of the Wordsworths, more and more people wanted to visit or stay. Houses were turned into hotels. Now tourism is Holford’s main industry.

The Tannery has been a hotel since 1910.

  • Postcard of Glen Combe hotel.

Holford was a hard place to make a living, and the people who first lived in these cottages were very poor. They would be astonished that so many visitors come from miles away to admire their old homes.

  • Old postcard showing Holford village