Our History

An independent practice with a pedigree you can rely on

“Golden Valley Vets are an independent practice that has treated more pets for more years than any other practice in North Somerset.”

“Whilst Golden Valley Vets can trace its history back to the end of the 19th century, today it has a level of equipment and facilities that is almost unique in the UK for a first opinion practice.”

In early days veterinary practice was very much a ‘smoke and mirrors’ affair and definitely more of an art than a science! Early veterinary work was largely concerned with farm animals, and it was not until later that companion animals began to be included.

The practice, originally called Cox and Peat, was for a time based at a house called “Ulvik”, which disappeared under the new post office, after the Nailsea town development started. Shortly after the war, the practice moved to 146 Old Church Road, Clevedon where a purpose built extension provided facilities – which were in those days – considered as state-of-the-art!

By the early 1960’s the practice had outgrown these premises. Dogs and cats were becoming more important and although the agricultural side of the practice was still important the demands of modern veterinary treatment necessitated more room and better facilities.

In 1966 the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons introduced a special title – Veterinary Hospital – for those practices which met a criteria of excellence with rigid standards of equipment, staffing and facilities. 

Although the title “Veterinary Clinic”, “Animal Hospital” or “Veterinary Surgery” could be used by any veterinary premises, only those practices which met the standards for a hospital status, set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons could use the title “Veterinary Hospital”. 

This accreditation quickly became the standard to aspire to and recognition of the best veterinary care available.

In 1967 the current Nailsea Veterinary Hospital site was acquired, as the premises offered room to expand. The buildings converted easily into what was then a spacious veterinary hospital and the site became the hub of our organisation and the ‘go to’ place for .anyone wanting the best of veterinary care 24 hours a day.

“The practice moved from Clevedon to its new premises in Nailsea in 1968, and at the time was only the second veterinary practice in the country to achieve the new RCVS hospital status.”

A new Clevedon branch surgery was then built behind the old house at 8A Knowles Road. This allowed the surgery to provide an extended range of veterinary services to an ever expanding number of clients. 

A very significant event occurred in September 1977 when David Holmes joined the practice after a year working at Bristol University.  David was made a partner in the early eighties and took on the responsibility of developing the small animal side – a mission that continues today.

In 1989 Golden Valley Vets decided to extended their specialist small animal services to help local communities backed by the full hospital services at Nailsea, The merger with the Clark & Warden practice who were mainly known as established farm animal vets saw the start of this policy.. 

The surgery premises at 2 The Vinery, set in the heart of Chew Magna village, then offered all of the clients in the area the opportunity to receive small animal veterinary advice on a ‘James Herriott style’ which continued to develop until a new premises was required.  Top quality veterinary advice is now on offer to all our Chew Valley clients from our specially designed new home at 40a High Street.

The policy of trying to bring convenient and routine services to more local areas continued in 1997 to a surgery based at the heart of Long Ashton village and in 1999 with an additional surgery in Wrington at Glebe House, Station Road.

In October 2001, Neal King – who was widely recognised in the profession for pushing excellent veterinary standards – and Bob Gore – who was responsible for the farming side of the practice – both retired and David Holmes turned the practice into a limited company to continue its development.  David took over the largest practice in the area, with the intention of pursuing the standards of veterinary excellence that had been demonstrated in the past

Spring 2003 saw the beginning of this major development plan. The demand for quality veterinary care continued to grow, and more space was needed to accommodate new diagnostic and laboratory equipment. Work started by ‘benchmarking’ other large practices who were considered to be leading their field at the time. This provided useful information but the breakthrough came when Gplden Valley Vets were lucky enough to be shown around the new Bristol Children’s Hospital. The hospital had introduced some ground breaking ideas from around the world and helped Golden Valley Vets identify a clear way forward. This initiative secured our position as one of the forefront first opinion practices in the country at the time but also has allowed for all the development necessary for Golden Valley to remain a leading first opinion practice today.

“the new Nailsea hospital used a number of ‘firsts’ in the veterinary world to provide a state-of-the-art working environment, and a top class facility for all of our patients.”

The facility still stands out as almost unique in the veterinary world and one of which we are very proud. 

2004 saw a decision to focus solely on the small animal side of the practice as the two different disciplines, farm animal and small animal, continued to develop and it became increasingly difficult to be a ‘Jack of all Trades’.  This also recognised that more and more of our farm clients opting for housing development rather than a continuation of their farming activities as anyone in the area will have experienced for themselves.

This concentration on the small animal side of the business has seen the practice go from strength to strength in recent years and now, in addition to our state of the art theatres and facilities we have our own in house CT scanner and MRI scanner to offer the very best in imaging, an essential part of modern veterinary science.

Today, the only thing that could be described as ‘old fashioned’ is our level of service and commitment of care to our clients. We are extremely proud of our whole team and all our facilities so if you would like a look around please give us a ring – we know you will be impressed.