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GLOUCESTERSHIRE (/ˈɡlɒstərʃər/ ( listen ) or /ˈɡlɒstərʃɪər/ ( listen )) formally abbreviated as GLOUCS. in print but now often as 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 , Cirencester , Stroud , Tewkesbury and Dursley .

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

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Economy

* 3 Education

* 3.1 Secondary schools * 3.2 Higher and further education

* 4 Towns and cities

* 4.1 Cities * 4.2 Towns

* 5 Antiquities * 6 Places of interest * 7 Media * 8 In popular culture * 9 Animals * 10 See also * 11 Notes * 12 Further reading * 13 External links

HISTORY

Main article: History of Gloucestershire

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.

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 (MILL. £)

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 £7927 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 and The Crypt for boys and The High School and Ribston Hall for girls). There are 42 state secondary schools, not including sixth form colleges , and 12 independent schools, including the renowned Cheltenham Ladies\' College , Cheltenham College and Wycliffe College . 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

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 two locations in Gloucestershire; an associate faculty (Hartpury College ) specialising in animal behaviour and welfare, agricultural and sports related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire and a regional centre at the Gloucester Docks , Alexandra Warehouse, specialising in Adult and Mental Health Nursing.

TOWNS AND CITIES

Main article: List of places in Gloucestershire See also: List of settlements in Gloucestershire by population

Gloucestershire has one city and 33 towns:

CITIES

* Gloucester

TOWNS

The towns in Gloucestershire are:

* Berkeley * Bradley Stoke * Cheltenham * Chipping Campden * Chipping Sodbury * Cinderford * Cirencester * Coleford * Dursley * Fairford * Filton * Kemble * Kingswood * Lechlade * Lydney * Minchinhampton * Mitcheldean * Moreton-in-Marsh * Nailsworth * Newent * Northleach * Painswick * Patchway * Quedgeley * Stonehouse * Stow-on-the-Wold * Stroud * Tetbury * Tewkesbury * Thornbury * Winchcombe * Wotton-under-Edge * Yate

Town in Monmouthshire with suburbs in Gloucestershire:

* Chepstow

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. 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

Abbey/Priory/Cathedral

Accessible open space

Amusement/Theme Park

Castle

Country Park

English Heritage

Forestry Commission

Heritage railway

Historic House

Museum (free/not free)

National Trust

Theatre

Zoo

Gloucester Cathedral Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle

Places of interest in Gloucestershire include:

* Badminton House , residence of the Dukes of Beaufort * Berkeley Castle , an example of a feudal stronghold. * Beverston Castle * Chavenage House * Cheltenham Town Football Club * Clearwell Caves * Dean Forest Railway * Dyrham Park * Edward Jenner 's House * Gloucester Cathedral * Gloucester Rugby * Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway * Hailes Abbey * Newark Park * Owlpen Manor * Snowshill Manor * Sudeley Castle , burial place of Queen Catherine Parr , 6th wife and consort of King Henry VIII . * Stanway House * River Thames * Rodmarton Manor * Severn Bore * Tewkesbury Abbey * Tewkesbury Medieval Festival * Tyndale Monument * Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Slimbridge * Westbury Court Garden * Woodchester Mansion

Areas of countryside in Gloucestershire include:

* Forest of Dean * Wye Valley

Scenic Railway Line:

* Gloucester to Newport Line

MEDIA

Gloucestershire's daily newspapers are The Citizen , which covers Gloucester, Stroud and the Forest of Dean, and the _Gloucestershire Echo _, which covers Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds. The two daily papers, along with free weeklies _The Forester_, _ Stroud Life_, _The Gloucester News_ and _The Cheltenham and Tewkesbury News_, are all published by Northcliffe Media . The _ Stroud News ">

Radio stations in Gloucestershire include BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Heart Gloucestershire , Sunshine Radio and The Breeze (Cheltenham ">_ 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

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