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Gloucestershire
Flag of Gloucestershire
Flag
Arms of Gloucestershire County Council.svg
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Prorsum semper
("Ever forward")
Gloucestershire within England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South West
Established Ancient
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
Police Gloucestershire Constabulary
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Janet Trotter
High Sheriff Mrs Helen Lovatt (2020–21)
Area 3,150 km2 (1,220 sq mi)
 • Ranked 16th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 823,500
 • Ranked 25th of 48
Density 261/km2 (680/sq mi)
Ethnicity 91.6% White British
Non-metropolitan county
County council Gloucestershire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Gloucester
Area 2,653 km2 (1,024 sq mi)
 • Ranked of 26
Population 575,400
 • Ranked 21st of 26
Density 217/km2 (560/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-GLS
ONS code 23
GSS code E10000013
ITL UKK13
Unitary authorities
Councils South Gloucestershire Council
Districts
Gloucestershire numbered districts.svg
Districts of Gloucestershire
Unitary County council area
Districts
  1. Tewkesbury
  2. Forest of Dean
  3. City of Gloucester
  4. Cheltenham
  5. Stroud
  6. Cotswold
  7. South Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire ( abbreviated Glos) is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn and the entire Forest of Dean.

The county town is the city of Gloucester and other principal towns include Cheltenham, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Cirencester, Dursley, Cinderford and Lydney.

Gloucestershire borders Herefordshire to the north-west, Worcestershire to the north, Warwickshire to the north-east, Oxfordshire to the east, Wiltshire to the south, Bristol and Somerset to the south-west, and the Welsh county of Monmouthshire to the west.

The current Gloucestershire County Council area does not have the same geographical boundaries as the historic county. Some northern parts of the county, including Long Marston and Welford-on-Avon, were transferred to Warwickshire in 1931. Following the Local Government Act 1972, some southern parts of the county were transferred to the new county of Avon, which ceased to exist on 1 April 1996. After 1996, the city of Bristol and South Gloucestershire became separate unitary authorities.

History

Gloucestershire is a historic county mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the 10th century, though the areas of Winchcombe and the Forest of Dean were not added until the late 11th century. Gloucestershire originally included Bristol, then a small town. The "local" rural community moved to the port city, (as Bristol was to become) and Bristol's population growth accelerated during the industrial revolution. Bristol became a county in its own right, separate from Gloucestershire and Somerset in 1373. It later became part of the administrative County of Avon from 1974 to 1996.

Upon the abolition of Avon in 1996, the region north of Bristol became a unitary authority area of South Gloucestershire and is now part of the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire.

The official former postal county abbreviation was "Glos.", rather than the frequently used but erroneous "Gloucs." or "Glouc.".

In July 2007, Gloucestershire suffered the worst flooding in recorded British history, with tens of thousands of residents affected. The RAF conducted the largest peace time domestic operation in its history to rescue over 120 residents from flood affected areas. The damage was estimated at over £2 billion.

The county recovered rapidly from the disaster, investing in attracting tourists to visit the many sites and diverse range of shops in the area.

Towns and cities

Gloucestershire has one city and 32 towns:

Cities

Towns

The towns in Gloucestershire are:

2

Town in Monmouthshire with suburbs in Gloucestershire:

Antiquities

There are a variety of religious buildings across the county, notably the cathedral of Gloucester, the abbey church of Tewkesbury, and the church of Cirencester. Of the abbey of Hailes near Winchcombe, founded by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in 1246, little more than the foundations are left, but these have been excavated and fragments have been brought to light.

October plenty
Parish Church of St. Mary, Fairford

Most of the old market towns have parish churches. At Deerhurst near Tewkesbury, and Bishop's Cleeve near Cheltenham, there are churches of special interest on account of the pre-Norman work they retain. There is also a Perpendicular church in Lechlade, and that at Fairford was built (c. 1500), according to tradition, to contain a series of stained-glass windows which are said to have been brought from the Netherlands. These are, however, adjudged to be of English workmanship.

Other notable buildings include Calcot Barn in Calcot, a relic of Kingswood Abbey. Thornbury Castle is a Tudor country house, the pretensions of which evoked the jealousy of Cardinal Wolsey against its builder, Edward Stafford, duke of Buckingham, who was beheaded in 1521. Near Cheltenham is the 15th-century mansion of Southam de la Bere, of timber and stone. Memorials of the de la Bere family appear in the church at Cleeve. The mansion contains a tiled floor from Hailes Abbey. At Great Badminton is the mansion and vast domain of the Beauforts (formerly of the Botelers and others), on the south-eastern boundary of the county.

There are several royal residences in Gloucestershire, including Highgrove House, Gatcombe Park, and (formerly) Nether Lypiatt Manor.

An annual "cheese-rolling" event takes place at Cooper's Hill, near Brockworth and the Cotswold Games occurred within the county.

Places of interest

Key
National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House

Places of interest in Gloucestershire include:

Areas of countryside in Gloucestershire include:

Scenic Railway Line:

  • Gloucester to Newport Line

In popular culture

South cloister of Gloucester Cathedral
The south cloister of Gloucester Cathedral was used for filming scenes in the Harry Potter films.

There are two well-known accounts of childhood in rural Gloucestershire in the early 20th century, Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie and Winifred Foley's A Child in the Forest. Part of Mrs. Craik's novel John Halifax, Gentleman is set in Enderley, a thinly disguised Amberley, where she lived at the time of writing. Most of the book is set in Nortonbury, easily recognisable as Tewkesbury.

The county has also been the setting for a number of high-profile movies and TV series, including Die Another Day, Harry Potter and BBC TV series Butterflies. The film Hot Fuzz was set in Gloucestershire where Simon Pegg, who co-wrote and starred in the film, grew up.

"A Girl's Best Friend", the pilot for the proposed Doctor Who spin-off, K-9 and Company, was filmed in Gloucestershire. The setting is the fictional town of Moreton Harwood.

The fictional town of Leadworth in Doctor Who is located in Gloucestershire. It is the home of companions Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song in their childhoods and young adulthoods.

A fictional Brimpsfield was the village, home of Peter and Abby Grant, in the 1970s Survivors BBC TV series, with a railway connection to London.

Animals

Gloucester Old Spot Boar, England
A boar of the local Gloucestershire Old Spot breed.

The famous Gloucestershire Old Spots pig is named for Gloucestershire and is historically associated with the county. Sheep roam widely in the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley also have wild boar.

Gloucester cattle, a rare breed can still be found in and around Gloucestershire. They can be recognised by the white stripe that runs down the centre of their backs to the tip of their tails. The cattle are famous for producing milk for both Single Gloucester and Double Gloucester cheeses.

Economy

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Gloucestershire at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 5,771 196 1,877 3,698
2000 8,163 148 2,677 5,338
2003 10,617 166 2,933 7,517

The following is a chart of Gloucestershire's gross value added total in thousands of British Pounds Sterling from 1997-2009 based upon the Office for National Statistics figures

Year GVA (£ million)
1997 7,167
1998 7,630
1999 8,034
2000 8,414
2001 8,947
2002 9,504
2003 10,117
2004 10,525
2005 10,680
2006 11,073
2007 11,563
2008 11,666
2009 11,452

The 2009 estimation of £11,452 million GVA can be compared to the South West regional average of £7,927 million.

Education

Secondary schools

Further information: List of schools in Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire has mainly comprehensive schools with seven selective schools; two are in Stroud, Stroud High School for girls and Marling School for boys, one in Cheltenham, Pate's Grammar, and four in Gloucester, Sir Thomas Rich's for boys (aged 11–18) and girls (aged 16–18, in the sixth form), and Denmark Road High School and Ribston Hall for girls and The Crypt which is mixed. There are 42 state secondary schools, not including sixth form colleges, and 12 independent schools, including Cheltenham Ladies' College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close School. All but about two schools in each district have a sixth form, but the Forest of Dean only has two schools with sixth forms. All schools in South Gloucestershire have sixth forms.

Higher and further education

Oxstalls
A campus of the University of Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire has two universities, the University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Agricultural University, and four higher and further education colleges, Gloucestershire College, Cirencester College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the Royal Forest of Dean College. Each has campuses at multiple locations throughout the county.

The University of the West of England also has three locations in Gloucestershire; an associate faculty (Hartpury College) specialising in animal behaviour and welfare, agricultural and sports-related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire; a regional centre at the Gloucester Docks, Alexandra Warehouse, specialising in Adult and Mental Health Nursing; and Frenchay Campus in South Gloucestershire.

Transport

Railways

Gloucestershire once had a much larger railway network than it does now with over 100 stations in the county, the vast majority of which were closed during the Beeching cuts. Nowadays, only 15 remain within the county, mostly concentrated on the CrossCountry NE-SW route and around the North Fringe of Bristol. Some stations have been re-opened in recent years; Cam and Dursley railway station opened in 1994, with Ashchurch for Tewkesbury opening three years later. Local campaign groups are also seeking to reopen several disused stations, including Charfield railway station in South Gloucestershire.

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