Warwickshire (; abbreviated Warks) is a county
in the West Midlands
region of England. The county town
, and the largest town is Nuneaton
. The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare
. Other significant towns in the county include Rugby
, Leamington Spa
The county is divided into five districts of North Warwickshire
, Nuneaton and Bedworth
The current county boundaries were set in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972
. The historic county boundaries
, Sutton Coldfield
, as well as much of Birmingham
The county is bordered by Leicestershire
to the northeast, Staffordshire
to the northwest, Worcestershire
and the West Midlands
to the west, Northamptonshire
to the east and southeast, Gloucestershire
to the southwest and Oxfordshire
to the south. The northern tip of the county is only from the Derbyshire
border. An average-sized English county covering an area of almost , it runs some north to south.
The majority of Warwickshire's population live in the north and centre of the county. The market towns of northern and eastern Warwickshire were industrialised in the 19th century, and include Atherstone
, and Rugby
. Of these, Atherstone has retained most of its original character. Major industries included coal mining
production, but heavy industry is in decline, being replaced by distribution centres, light to medium industry and services. Of the northern and eastern towns, only Nuneaton and Rugby (as the birthplace of rugby football
) are well known outside of Warwickshire. The prosperous towns of central and western Warwickshire including Royal Leamington Spa
harbour light to medium industries, services and tourism as major employment sectors.
The north of the county, bordering Staffordshire and Leicestershire, is mildly undulating countryside (rising to 178m / 581 ft near Hartshill
) and the northernmost village, No Man's Heath
, is only south of the Peak District National Park
's southernmost point.
The south of the county is largely rural and sparsely populated, and includes a very small area of the Cotswolds
, at the border with northeast Gloucestershire. The plain between the outlying Cotswolds and the Edgehill
escarpment is known as the Vale of Red Horse
[''Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club'', v.14, (1903), p.217]
The only town
in the south of Warwickshire is Shipston-on-Stour
. The highest point in the county, at , is Ebrington Hill
, again on the border with Gloucestershire, at the county's southwest extremity.
There are no cities in Warwickshire since both Coventry
were incorporated into the West Midlands county in 1974 and are now metropolitan authorities in themselves. The largest towns (+20,000 pop.) in Warwickshire in 2011 were: Nuneaton (pop. 81,900), Rugby (70,600), Leamington Spa (49,500), Bedworth (32,500), Warwick (30,100), Stratford (25,500) and Kenilworth (22,400).
Arden and Felden
Much of western Warwickshire, including that area now forming part of Coventry, Solihull and Birmingham, was covered by the ancient Forest of Arden
(most of which was cut down to provide fuel for industrialisation). Thus the names of a number of places in the central-western part of Warwickshire end with the phrase "-in-Arden", such as Henley-in-Arden
. The remaining area, not part of the forest, was called the Felden – from ''fielden''.
Areas historically part of Warwickshire include Coventry
, Sutton Coldfield
, and some of Birmingham
, Aston and Edgbaston. These became part of the metropolitan county
of West Midlands
(and Sutton Coldfield became part of Birmingham) following local government re-organisation in 1974.
In 1986 the West Midlands County Council
was abolished and Birmingham, Coventry, and Solihull became effective unitary authorities
, however the West Midlands county name has not been altogether abolished, and still exists for ceremonial purposes
, and so the town and two cities remain outside Warwickshire.
Some organisations, such as Warwickshire County Cricket Club
, which is based in Edgbaston
, in Birmingham, still observe the historic county
boundaries. The flag of the historic county
was registered in October 2016. It is a design of a bear and ragged staff
on a red field, which is long associated with the county.
Coventry is effectively in the centre of the Warwickshire area, and still has strong ties with the county. Coventry and Warwickshire are sometimes treated as a single area and share a single Chamber of Commerce
and BBC Local Radio Station (BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
Coventry was administered separately from the rest of Warwickshire between 1451 and 1842. It formed the County of the City of Coventry
, a county corporate
from 1451. In 1842 the county corporate of Coventry was abolished and remerged with the rest of Warwickshire. In recent times, there have been calls to formally re-introduce Coventry into Warwickshire, although nothing has yet come of this. The county's population would increase by more than a third of a million overnight should this occur, Coventry being the UK's 11th largest city.
The town of Tamworth
was historically divided between Warwickshire and Staffordshire
, but since 1888 has been fully in Staffordshire.
In 1931, Warwickshire gained the town of Shipston-on-Stour
and several villages, including Long Marston
, from Gloucestershire
Warwickshire contains a large expanse of green belt
area, surrounding the West Midlands
conurbations, and was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.
The following towns and villages in Warwickshire rank in the top 20.
Main Warwickshire Settlements:
* Royal Leamington Spa
* Rugby, Warwickshire
Smaller Settlements include:
Warwickshire came into being as a division of the kingdom of Mercia
in the early 11th century. The first reference to Warwickshire was in 1001, as ''Wæringscīr'' named after Warwick (meaning "dwellings by the weir
During the Middle Ages
Warwickshire was dominated by Coventry
, which was at the time one of the most important cities in England due to its importance in the textiles trade. Warwickshire played a key part in the English Civil War
, with the Battle of Edgehill
and other skirmishes taking place in the county. During the Industrial Revolution
Warwickshire became one of Britain's foremost industrial counties, with the large industrial cities of Birmingham
within its boundaries.
*1844: The Counties (Detached Parts) Act
transferred a township to, and two parishes from, the county.
*1888: Those parts of the town of Tamworth
lying in Warwickshire were ceded to Staffordshire.
became part of the County Borough of Birmingham and thus was transferred from Staffordshire to Warwickshire by the Local Govt. Bd.'s Prov. Orders Conf. (No. 13) Act, 54 & 55 Vic. c. 161 (local act).
*1891: The district of Balsall Heath
, which had originally constituted the most northerly part of the Parish of King's Norton
in Worcestershire, was added to the County Borough of Birmingham
, and therefore Warwickshire, on 1 October 1891.
was formally removed from Worcestershire and incorporated into the County Borough of Birmingham, then in Warwickshire, on 9 November 1909.
*1911: The Urban District of Handsworth
, in Staffordshire, and the Rural District of Yardley
along with the greater part of the Urban District of King's Norton and Northfield
, both in Worcestershire, were absorbed into Birmingham, and thus Warwickshire, as part of the ''Greater Birmingham Scheme'' on 9 November 1911.
*1928: Perry Barr Urban District
was ceded to Birmingham from Staffordshire.
*1931: The boundaries between Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire were adjusted by the Provisional Order Confirmation (Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) Act which transferred 26 parishes between the three counties, largely to eliminate exclaves
. The town of Shipston-on-Stour
was gained from Worcestershire and several villages, including Long Marston
, from Gloucestershire
*1974: Under The Local Government Act 1972
, Birmingham, Coventry
and Sutton Coldfield
were ceded to the new West Midlands county
, with Sutton Coldfield becoming part of Birmingham.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Warwickshire at current basic pricepublished
(pp. 240–253) by ''Office for National Statistics'' with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
# Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
# Includes hunting and forestry
# Includes energy and construction
# Includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
The video game developing company Codemasters
is based in Warwickshire.
Like most English shire counties, Warwickshire has a two-tier structure of local government
. with a county council
, and five districts
each with their own district or borough councils. These districts are: North Warwickshire
, Nuneaton and Bedworth
, and Warwick
(see map). The county and district councils are responsible for providing different services.
is the headquarters of the North Warwickshire district, Nuneaton
is headquarters of the Nuneaton and Bedworth District and Leamington Spa
is the headquarters of the Warwick district.
Warwickshire County Council
, based in Warwick
is elected every four years. The last election was held on 4 May 2017 and resulted in Conservative control. The county council operates a cabinet-style council
. The county council is made of 62 councillors, who decide upon the budget and appoints the council leader. The council leader selects 2 to 9 councillors and together they form the cabinet. The Leader assigns portfolios on which cabinet members make decisions. Key decisions are made by the whole cabinet while others are made only by the portfolio holders for relevant areas.
In addition many small towns and villages have their own parish councils
as the most local tier of local government.
Warwickshire is policed by the Warwickshire Police
. The force is governed by the elected Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Proposed local government reorganisation
In August 2020 Warwickshire County Council put forward proposals for the five district and borough councils in the county to be abolished and replaced with a singe county-wide unitary authority
. This prompted a backlash from the district and borough councils who commissioned their own report, which argued in favour of Warwickshire being split into two unitary authorities, one for the north of the county, covering the current districts of North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth and Rugby, and one for the south of the county, covering Warwick and Stratford districts. In September 2020, it was agreed that both proposals would be sent for consideration to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
In the state sector, children start school in the school year in which they turn five. They stay at primary school for seven years (although this varies even within the county, as some people have previously gone for four years and then spent another four years at a 'middle school') until they are eleven. Warwickshire is one of the few local authorities in England to still maintain the grammar school
system in two districts: Stratford-on-Avon and Rugby, although Southam claims to have a comprehensive school. In the final year of primary school, children are given the opportunity of sitting the 11-plus
exam to compete for a place at one of the grammar schools, with two in Stratford and Rugby and one in Alcester; these are: Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls
; King Edward VI School
, a boys' school; Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School for Boys
, in Rugby, as well as, Rugby High School for Girls
and Alcester Grammar School (mixed). The exam is sat on three different days and consists of two verbal reasoning and mathematics papers and one extended writing paper. To maintain standards, there is a bank of papers that are used in rotation.
Warwickshire contains four colleges of further education; North Warwickshire & Hinckley College which has main colleges based in Nuneaton and the Leicestershire town of Hinckley with smaller colleges based around North Warwickshire, King Edward VI Sixth Form College (K.E.G.S) in Nuneaton, Stratford-upon-Avon College anWarwickshire College
an institution made up of six main separate colleges that have merged (Leamington Centre, Rugby Centre, Moreton Morrell Centre, Pershore College, Henley-in-Arden Centre and the Trident Centre in Warwick).
There are also six independent senior schools within the county, namely: Rugby School
, Warwick School
, Princethorpe College
, Kingsley School
, Arnold Lodge School
(both in Leamington Spa
), and the King's High School For Girls
King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon
still uses 13th century school buildings and is the likely school of William Shakespeare
, Rugby School
was founded in 1567 and Warwick School
was founded c. 914 AD, which makes it the oldest surviving boys' school in the country. Rugby School
is one of nine schools that were defined as the "great" English public schools by the Public Schools Act 1868
, and is a member of the Rugby Group
. Rugby School
, Princethorpe College
and Warwick School
schools, with the Headmaster from each school attending the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference
In 2011, Warwickshire members of the union NUT
supported action by staff at Coventry's Tile Hill Wood School
, in opposition to the government's programme of Academies
There are no universities per se in Warwickshire, though the University of Warwick
forms part of the border with Warwickshire on the southern edge of the city of Coventry. Some areas of the University of Warwick are within the boundaries of Warwickshire including Lakeside Village and Warwick Business School The university has a small campus near Wellesbourne which houses the Warwick Horticultural Research Centre and an Innovation Centre.
Several major motorway
s run through Warwickshire. These include:
*The M40 motorway
, which connects London
, runs through the centre of the county, and serves Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford.
*The M6 motorway
, which connects northwestern England and the West Midlands to the M1 motorway
(and then on to London), runs through the north of Warwickshire, and serves Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth on its way to Birmingham.
Coventry to Leicester motorway, which serves Nuneaton.
*Other motorways pass briefly through Warwickshire including the M45
(a short spur south of Rugby connecting to the M1), the southern end of the M6 Toll
, and the M42
, which passes through the county at several points.
Other major trunk routes in Warwickshire includes the A45
(Rugby-Coventry-Birmingham and east into Northamptonshire route). The A46
(connects the M40 to the M6 via Warwick, Kenilworth and Coventry), the A452
(Leamington to Birmingham route) and the A5
runs through Warwickshire passing Nuneaton between Tamworth and Hinckley. Also the A444 goes through Nuneaton and Bedworth.
Two major railway lines pass through Warwickshire.
*The Chiltern Main Line
, the former Great Western Railway
route from London Paddington
passes through the centre of Warwickshire on a route similar to the M40 motorway, and has stations at , , (and ), and . Rail services are provided by Chiltern Railways
and West Midlands Trains
(Birmingham to Leamington only). There are also two branches off the Chiltern line, one from Leamington to Coventry
, and another from Hatton near Warwick to Stratford
*The West Coast Main Line
(WCML) runs through Warwickshire. At the WCML splits into two parts, one runs west through to Coventry
, and the other the Trent Valley Line
runs north-west towards and the north-west of England. This section has stations at , , and (north bound services only). There is one branch off the WCML from Nuneaton to Coventry
, and there are stations at , and on this branch.
Other railway lines in Warwickshire include the Birmingham-Nuneaton section of the Birmingham to Peterborough Line
, which continues east of Nuneaton towards Leicester
. Nuneaton has direct services to Birmingham and Leicester on this line, and there are two intermediate stations at and Coleshill
in the extreme north-west of the county.
There is also a branch line
from Birmingham to . This line used to continue southwards to Cheltenham
but is now a dead-end branch. There is an intermediate station on this line at and at several small villages. Stratford also has direct rail services to London via the branch line to Warwick (mentioned earlier).
Until 2018 the only major town in Warwickshire without a station was Kenilworth
. The Leamington to Coventry line passes through the town, but the station was closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching cuts
. Following several delays, a replacement station opened
in April 2018, with an hourly service to Coventry and to Leamington provided by West Midlands Trains
The Honeybourne Line
is being reopened by the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway connecting Cheltenham Racecourse
on the Cotswold Line
(which connects with Hereford
and London Paddington). There is only a short gap to connect many places to Stratford upon Avon
by reopening the line into Warwickshire. There is a good business case to restore the Stratford-Cotswolds link line.
is located in the Warwickshire village of Baginton
Canals and waterways
s in Warwickshire include:
*The Grand Union Canal
, which runs through Leamington and Warwick and onwards to Birmingham.
**The restored Saltisford Canal Arm
is close to the centre of Warwick, and is now a short branch of the Grand Union Canal. The arm is the remains of the original terminus of the Warwick and Birmingham Canal and dates back to 1799.
*The Coventry Canal
which runs through the north of the county from Coventry
, and Polesworth
, and then onwards to Tamworth
*The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
which runs from the Grand Union west of Warwick to Stratford.
*The Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal
passes briefly through Warwickshire from a junction with the Coventry Canal at Bedworth
*The Oxford Canal
, which runs from near Coventry and then eastwards around Rugby, and then through the rural south of the county towards Oxford
*The River Anker
goes through Nuneaton in the park Riversley Park
to Tamworth in Staffordshire.
The River Avon
is navigable from just north of Stratford. In 1974, the Higher Avon Navigation Trust made a proposal to extend the navigation to Warwick and Leamington, where a junction with the Grand Union Canal
would create a new cruising ring. Warwickshire County Council believed the scheme to be a catalyst for economic regeneration in the area, but after gauging public support in 2003, decided not to support the plans. The Stratford and Warwick Waterway Trust is still actively pursuing the proposals.
Places of interest
*Anne Hathaway's Cottage
*Battle of Edgehill
*British Motor Museum
*Burton Dassett Hills
*Charlecote Water Mill
*Compton Verney House
*Coombe Country Park
*Grand Union Canal
*Guy Fawkes House
*Hartshill Hayes County Park
*Hatton Country World
*James Gilbert Rugby Football Museum
*King Edward VI School
*Kingsbury Water Park
*Lunt Roman Fort
*Lord Leycester Hospital
*Mary Arden's House
*Midland Air Museum
*Royal Pump Rooms
*Rugby Art Gallery and Museum
*Ryton Pools Country Park
*Shakespeare's New Place
*St Nicholas Park
*The Forest Hermitage
*University of Warwick
*Wellesbourne Wartime Museum
Warwickshire has no Football League
clubs. As of the 2020–21 season the highest-placed team is Leamington
, who play in the National League North
, the sixth tier of English football. A level below in the Southern Football League
Premier Division Central are Nuneaton Borough
and Stratford Town
. Other clubs include Rugby Town
, Bedworth United
, Southam United
and Racing Club Warwick
. All of these are affiliated to the Birmingham FA
, Birmingham City
and Coventry City
are Football League clubs located within the historic boundaries of Warwickshire, along with National League club Solihull Moors
and Southern League Division One Central club Sutton Coldfield Town
Warwickshire County Cricket Club
play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground
(historically part of Warwickshire). Notable English players for the side have been Eric Hollies
, M.J.K. Smith
, Bob Willis
, Dennis Amiss
, Jonathan Trott
, Ian Bell
, Moeen Ali
and Chris Woakes
. Overseas players have included Alvin Kallicharran
, Rohan Kanhai
, Brian Lara
, Allan Donald
and Shaun Pollock
. In 2014 the club partly severed its links to the county by renaming its Twenty20
side the Birmingham Bears, much to the chagrin of many supporters.
Other grounds in modern-day Warwickshire which have hosted first-class cricket matches
*Griff and Coton Ground
– 26 matches (most recently 1980)
, Leamington Spa
– 4 matches (most recently 1910)
*Swan's Nest Lane
– 3 matches (most recently 2005)
– 3 matches (most recently 1914)
The Warwickshire County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association
(GAA) (or Warwickshire GAA) is one of the county boards
and is responsible for Gaelic games
in Warwickshire. The county board is also responsible for the Warwickshire inter-county teams. They play their home games at Páirc na hÉireann
The Dallas Burston Polo Club
is a six-pitch polo
club located near Southam
Freedom of the county
In March 2014 the freedom of the county was bestowed on the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
. The honour was officially bestowed following a parade through Warwick
on 6 June 2014.
Warwickshire is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare
. Even today, road signs at the county boundary describe Warwickshire as "Shakespeare's County". The county has also produced other famous figures such as Aleister Crowley
(from Royal Leamington Spa
), George Eliot
and Ken Loach
), Rupert Brooke
), and Michael Drayton
). The poet Philip Larkin
lived in Warwick (born in nearby Coventry). Folk musician Nick Drake
, who recorded for Island records in the late 1960s and early 1970s, lived and died in Tanworth-in-Arden
. Frank Whittle
the inventor of the jet engine was born in Coventry and was closely associated with Warwickshire, growing up in Leamington Spa, and carrying out much of his work at Rugby.
*List of Lord Lieutenants of Warwickshire
*List of High Sheriffs for Warwickshire
*Custos Rotulorum of Warwickshire
– List of Keepers of the Rolls
*Warwickshire (UK Parliament constituency)
– List of MPs for Warwickshire constituency
*2007 Atherstone fire
*W. W. Quatremain
Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire College HomepageWarwickshire Geological Conservation Group (WGCG)The Manor of HunninghamImages of Warwickshire
at the English Heritage Archive
Category:NUTS 3 statistical regions of the United Kingdom
Category:West Midlands (region)
Category:Counties of England established in antiquity