Buckinghamshire facts for kids
|Motto: Vestigia nulla retrorsum ("No turning back/We do not retreat")|
Buckinghamshire in England
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Lord Lieutenant||Henry Aubrey-Fletcher|
|High Sheriff||The Hon Mrs C R Soames (2016-17)|
|Area||1,874 km2 (724 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||32nd of 48|
|Population (2005 est.)||700,100|
|• Ranked||31st of 48|
|Density||374/km2 (970/sq mi)|
4.3% S. Asian
|County council||Buckinghamshire County Council|
|Area||1,565 km2 (604 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||33rd of 27|
|• Ranked||29th of 27|
|Density||308/km2 (800/sq mi)|
Districts of Buckinghamshire
Unitary County council area
|Members of Parliament||List of MPs|
|Police||Thames Valley Police|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
Buckinghamshire (// or //), abbreviated Bucks, is a county in South East England which borders Greater London to the south east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north east and Hertfordshire to the east.
Buckinghamshire is a home county and towns such as High Wycombe, Amersham, Chesham and the Chalfonts in the east and southeast of the county are parts of the London commuter belt, forming some of the most densely-populated parts of the county. Development in this region is restricted by the Metropolitan Green Belt. Other large settlements include the county town of Aylesbury, Marlow in the south near the Thames and Princes Risborough in the west near Oxford. Some areas without direct rail links to London, such as around the old county town of Buckingham and near Olney in the northeast, are much less populous. The largest town is Milton Keynes in the northeast, which with the surrounding area is administered as a unitary authority separately to the rest of Buckinghamshire. The remainder of the county is administered by Buckinghamshire County Council as a non-metropolitan county, and four district councils. In national elections, Buckinghamshire is considered a reliable supporter of the Conservative Party.
A large part of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, runs through the south of the county and attracts many walkers and cyclists from London. In this area older buildings are often made from local flint and red brick. Many parts of the county are quite affluent and like many areas around London this has led to problems with housing costs: several reports have identified the market town of Beaconsfield as having among the highest property prices outside London. Chequers, a mansion estate owned by the government, is the country retreat of the incumbent Prime Minister. To the north of the county lies rolling countryside in the Vale of Aylesbury and around the Great Ouse. The Thames forms part of the county’s southwestern boundary. Notable service amenities in the county are Pinewood Film Studios, Dorney rowing lake and part of Silverstone race track on the Northamptonshire border. Many national companies have offices in Milton Keynes. Heavy industry and quarrying is limited, with agriculture predominating after service industries.
The name Buckinghamshire is Anglo-Saxon in origin and means The district (scire) of Bucca's home. Bucca's home refers to Buckingham in the north of the county, and is named after an Anglo-Saxon landowner. The county has been so named since about the 12th century; however, the county has existed since it was a subdivision of the kingdom of Mercia (585–919).
The history of the area predates the Anglo-Saxon period and the county has a rich history starting from the Celtic and Roman periods, though the Anglo-Saxons perhaps had the greatest impact on Buckinghamshire: the geography of the rural county is largely as it was in the Anglo-Saxon period. Later, Buckinghamshire became an important political arena, with King Henry VIII intervening in local politics in the 16th century and just a century later the English Civil War was reputedly started by John Hampden in mid-Bucks.
Historically, the biggest change to the county came in the 19th century, when a combination of cholera and famine hit the rural county, forcing many to migrate to larger towns to find work. Not only did this alter the local economic situation, it meant a lot of land was going cheap at a time when the rich were more mobile and leafy Bucks became a popular rural idyll: an image it still has today. Buckinghamshire is a popular home for London commuters, leading to greater local affluence; however, some pockets of relative deprivation remain.
The expansion of London and coming of the railways promoted the growth of towns in the south of the county such as Aylesbury, Amersham and High Wycombe, leaving the town Buckingham itself to the north in a relative backwater. As a result, most county institutions are now based in the south of the county or Milton Keynes, rather than in Buckingham.
The county can be split into two sections geographically. The south leads from the River Thames up the gentle slopes of the Chiltern Hills to the more abrupt slopes on the northern side leading to the Vale of Aylesbury, a large flat expanse of land, which includes the path of the River Great Ouse.
The county includes parts of two of the four longest rivers in England. The River Thames forms the southern boundary with Berkshire, which has crept over the border at Eton and Slough so that the river is no longer the sole boundary between the two counties. The River Great Ouse rises just outside the county in Northamptonshire and flows east through Buckingham, Milton Keynes and Olney.
The main branch of the Grand Union Canal passes through the county as do its arms to Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover (disused) and Buckingham (disused). The canal has been incorporated into the landscaping of Milton Keynes.
The southern part of the county is dominated by the Chiltern Hills. The two highest points in Buckinghamshire are Haddington Hill in Wendover Woods (a stone marks its summit) at 267 metres (876 ft) above sea level, and Coombe Hill near Wendover at 260 metres (850 ft).
Quarrying has taken place for chalk, clay for brickmaking and gravel and sand in the river valleys. Flint, also extracted from quarries, was often used to build older local buildings. Several former quarries, now flooded, have become nature reserves.
|District||Main Towns||Population (2011)||Area||Population density (2011)||Population projection 2026|
|Aylesbury Vale||Aylesbury, Buckingham||174,137||902.75 km²||193/km²||213,000|
|Wycombe||High Wycombe, Marlow||171,644||324.57 km²||529/km²||165,000|
|Chiltern||Amersham, Chesham||92,635||196.35 km²||472/km²||89,000|
|South Bucks||Beaconsfield, Burnham||66,867||141.28 km²||474/km²||63,800|
|TOTAL Non-Metropolitan||N/A||505,283||1565 km²||323/km²||530,800|
|Borough of Milton Keynes||Milton Keynes, Newport Pagnell||248,821||308.63 km²||806/km²||323,146|
|TOTAL Ceremonial||N/A||754,104||1874 km²||402/km²||853,946|
As can be seen from the table, the Vale of Aylesbury and the Borough of Milton Keynes have been identified as growth areas, with a projected population surge of almost 40,000 in Aylesbury Vale between 2011 and 2026 and 75,000 in Milton Keynes within the same 15 years.
Buckinghamshire is sub-divided into civil parishes.
Today Buckinghamshire is ethnically diverse, particularly in the larger towns. At the end of the 19th century some Welsh drover families settled in north Bucks and, in the last quarter of the 20th century, a large number of Londoners in Milton Keynes. Between 6 and 7% of the population of Aylesbury are of Asian or Asian British origin. Likewise Chesham has a similar-sized Asian community, and High Wycombe is the most ethnically diverse town in the county, with large Asian and Afro-Caribbean populations. During the Second World War there were many Polish settlements in Bucks, Czechs in Aston Abbotts and Wingrave, and Albanians in Frieth. Remnants of these communities remain in the county.
Places of interest
Buckinghamshire is notable for its open countryside and natural features, including the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Stowe Landscaped Gardens near Buckingham, and the River Thames. The Ridgeway Path, a long-distance footpath, passes through the county. The county also has many historic houses. Some of these are opened to the public by the National Trust, such as Waddesdon Manor, West Wycombe Park and Cliveden. Other historic houses are still in use as private homes, such as the Prime Minister's country retreat Chequers.
Claydon House is a National Trust property, situated near the village of Steeple Claydon. Home to the Verney family and was also home to Florence Nightingale for some time.
Buckinghamshire is the home of various notable people in connection with whom tourist attractions have been established: for example the author Roald Dahl who included many local features and characters in his works.
Sports facilities in Buckinghamshire include half of the international Silverstone Circuit which straddles the Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire border, Adams Park in the south and stadium:mk in the north, and the county is also home to the world-famous Pinewood Studios. Dorney Lake, named "Eton Dorney" for the event, was used as the rowing venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes) is served by four motorways, although two are on its borders:
- M40 motorway: cuts through the south of the county serving towns such as High Wycombe and Beaconsfield
- M1 motorway: serves Milton Keynes in the north
- M25 motorway: passes into Bucks but has only one junction (J16-interchange for the M40)
- M4 motorway: passes through the very south of the county with only J7 in Bucks
Five important A roads also enter the county (from north to south):
- A5: serves Milton Keynes
- A421: serves Milton Keynes and Buckingham and links the M1 to the M40
- A41: cuts through the centre of the county from Watford to Bicester, serving Aylesbury
- A40: parallels M40 through south Bucks and continues to Central London
- A4: serves Taplow in the very south
The county is poorly served with internal routes, with the A413 and A418 linking the south and north of the county.
As part of the London commuter belt, Buckinghamshire is well connected to the national rail network, with both local commuter and inter-city services serving some destinations.
Chiltern Railways is a principal train operating company in Buckinghamshire, providing the majority of local commuter services from the centre and south of the county, with trains running into London Marylebone. First Great Western provides commuter services from Taplow and Iver into Paddington. London Midland provides commuter services from Milton Keynes Central into Euston whilst Southern provides services (via the West London Line) from Milton Keynes to Croydon.
For intercity services, Virgin Trains runs services from Milton Keynes Central to Euston, North West England, the West Midlands, the Scottish Central Belt, and North Wales. Meanwhile, First Great Western operates non-stop inter-city services through the south of the county between Paddington and South West England and/or South Wales.
There are four main lines running through the county:
- The West Coast Main Line in the north of the county serves stations in Milton Keynes
- London to Aylesbury Line serves Aylesbury and other settlements along the A413 towards London. Once part of the Metropolitan line of London Underground, which now runs to Amersham
- Chiltern Main Line: serves the towns along the M40 motorway including High Wycombe and Beaconsfield
- Great Western Main Line: runs through Slough. Slough is now in Berkshire, but the line enters Bucks twice, on either side of Slough, with Taplow and Iver both having stations in Buckinghamshire.
There are the following additional lines:
- Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line: a single track branch that connects the Chiltern Main Line to the London to Aylesbury Line.
- Marston Vale Line: between Bletchley and Bedford
- Marlow Branch Line: between Marlow, Bourne End and Maidenhead.
- Metropolitan line: between Amersham and Chesham to London
- Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway, a preserved railway.
From 2017, Iver will have Crossrail services. From 2019, the East West Rail Link is to reinstate the route via Winslow between Oxford and Bletchley, enabling electrified services to Milton Keynes Central. The line between Aylesbury and Claydon Junction is also to be reinstated in the same programme, enabling services between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. [Electrification of the Marston Vale Line is not programmed, meaning that passengers for Bedford must change at Bletchley]. Finally, the High Speed 2 line may run non-stop through the county at some future date.
|Milton Keynes||229,941||Borough of Milton Keynes||Unitary Authority since 1997. At the 2011 census, the population of the Milton Keynes Urban Area, which includes Newport Pagnell and Woburn Sands was 236,700|
|High Wycombe||120,256||Wycombe||Includes suburbs of Downley and Hazlemere. The High Wycombe Urban Area population is 133,204|
|Aylesbury||71,977||Aylesbury Vale||County town of Buckinghamshire. Population of Aylesbury Urban Area (including Stoke Mandeville and Bierton) is 74,748|
|Amersham||23,086||Chiltern||Part of Amersham/Chesham urban area with a population of 46,122.|
|Chesham||22,356||Chiltern||Part of Amersham/Chesham urban area with a population of 46,122.|
|Gerrards Cross||20,633||Chiltern/South Bucks||Includes Chalfont St Peter. The area lacks town status but is the 5th largest conurbation in the county.|
|Buckingham||12,890||Aylesbury Vale||Historically the county town of Buckinghamshire|
|Olney||6,477||Borough of Milton Keynes||Governed by Milton Keynes Council, not Buckinghamshire County Council|
Images for kids
The Gateway Building, Buckinghamshire New University, High Wycombe.
Buckinghamshire Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.