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WARWICKSHIRE (/ˈwɒrᵻkʃər/ ( listen ) or /ˈwɒrᵻkʃɪər/ ) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England . The county town is Warwick , although the largest town is Nuneaton . The county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare . Commonly used abbreviations for the county are WARKS or WARWICKS.

The county is divided into five districts of North Warwickshire , Nuneaton and Bedworth , Rugby , Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon . The current county boundaries were set in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 . The historic county boundaries also included Coventry and Solihull , as well as much of Birmingham .

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Arden and Felden * 1.2 Historic boundaries

* 2 Settlements

* 3 History

* 3.1 Boundary changes

* 4 Economy

* 5 Local government

* 5.1 County council

* 6 Education

* 7 Transport

* 7.1 Roads * 7.2 Rail * 7.3 Honeybourne Line * 7.4 Air * 7.5 Canals and waterways

* 8 Places of interest

* 9 Sports teams

* 9.1 Association football * 9.2 Cricket * 9.3 Gaelic sports * 9.4 Hockey * 9.5 Polo

* 10 Freedom of county * 11 People * 12 See also * 13 References * 14 External links

GEOGRAPHY

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 3 miles (5 km) from the Derbyshire border. An average-sized English county covering an area of almost 2,000 km2, it runs some 60 miles (97 km) north to south. Equivalently it extends as far north as Shrewsbury in Shropshire and as far south as Banbury in north Oxfordshire .

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 , Bedworth , Nuneaton , and Rugby . Of these, Atherstone has retained most of its original character. Major industries included coal mining , textiles , engineering and cement 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 , Warwick , Stratford-upon-Avon , Kenilworth , Alcester and Wellesbourne 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 and the northernmost village, No Man\'s Heath , is only 34 miles (55 km) south of the Peak District National Park 's southernmost point.

The south of the county is largely rural and sparsely populated, and includes a small area of the Cotswolds , at the border with northwest Gloucestershire. The only town in the south of Warwickshire is Shipston-on-Stour . The highest point in the county, at 261 m (856 ft), is Ebrington Hill , again on the border with Gloucestershire, grid reference SP187426 at the county's southwest extremity.

There are no cities in Warwickshire since both Coventry and Birmingham were incorporated into the West Midlands county in 1974 and are now metropolitan authorities in themselves. The largest towns 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 , Hampton-in-Arden and Tanworth-in-Arden . The remaining area, not part of the forest, was called the Felden – from _fielden_.

HISTORIC BOUNDARIES

Areas historically part of Warwickshire include Coventry , Solihull , Sutton Coldfield , Erdington , and some of Birmingham including 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.

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 -webkit-column-count: 3; column-count: 3;">

* Alcester * Atherstone * Bedworth * Bidford-on-Avon * Bulkington * Coleshill * Henley-in-Arden * Kenilworth * Leamington Spa * Nuneaton * Polesworth * Rugby * Shipston-on-Stour * Southam * Stratford-upon-Avon * Studley * Warwick * Wellesbourne * Whitnash

HISTORY

Warwickshire in 1832 Stratford-upon-Avon Kenilworth Castle Main article: History of Warwickshire

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 textiles trade in the heart of England. 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 and Coventry within its boundaries.

BOUNDARY CHANGES

* 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. * 1891: Harborne 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 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. In 2006, it was revealed in a local newspaper, the Stratford Herald, that some private 11-plus tutors had copies of the exam papers and that they were using them as practice papers for their pupils. This meant that, in some cases, pupils sitting the exam had seen the paper in advance.

Warwickshire contains four colleges of further education; North Warwickshire "> The WCML at Rugby

* The West Coast Main Line (WCML) runs through Warwickshire. At Rugby the WCML splits into two parts, one runs west through to Coventry and Birmingham, and the other the Trent Valley Line runs north-west towards Stafford and the north-west of England. This section has stations at Nuneaton , Atherstone , and Polesworth (North bound services only). There is one branch off the WCML from Nuneaton to Coventry , and there is a station at Bedworth 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 and Peterborough . Nuneaton has direct services to Birmingham and Leicester on this line, and there are two intermediate stations at Water Orton and Coleshill in the extreme north-west of the county.

There is also a branch line from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon . This line used to continue southwards to Cheltenham but is now a dead-end branch. There is an intermediate station on this line at Henley-in-Arden and at several small villages. Stratford also has direct rail services to London via the branch line to Warwick (mentioned earlier).

The only major town in Warwickshire not to have a station is Kenilworth . Although the Leamington to Coventry line passes through the town, its station was closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching Axe . The station is now slated to re-open in December 2016, although currently there are no local services operating on the line, as it is used only by CrossCountry services.

HONEYBOURNE LINE

The Honeybourne Line is being reopened by the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway connecting Cheltenham Racecourse to Broadway and Honeybourne on the Cotswold Line (which connects with Hereford , Worcester and Oxford , Reading and London Paddington ). There is only a short gap to connect many places to Stratford upon Avon with Honeybourne by reopening the line into Warwickshire. There is a good business case to restore the Stratford- Cotswolds link line.

AIR

Coventry Airport is located in the Warwickshire village of Baginton .

CANALS AND WATERWAYS

The Oxford Canal at Napton-on-the-Hill

Canals 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 Saltisford Canal Trust have restored most of the surviving canal, which is now the mooring for colourful narrowboats and a waterside park open to the public. Over 800 visiting narrowboats come by water to Warwick each year and moor on the arm.Saltisford Canal Trust

* The Coventry Canal which runs through the north of the county from Coventry through Bedworth , Nuneaton , Atherstone , 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 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

* Arbury Hall * Battle of Edgehill * The Belfry * Brinklow Castle * British Motor Museum * Burton Dassett Hills * Caldecotte Park * Charlecote Park * Charlecote Water Mill * Compton Verney House * Compton Wynyates * Coombe Abbey * Coombe Country Park * Coughton Court * Coventry Canal * Draycote Water * Grand Union Canal * Guy Fawkes House * Hartshill Hayes County Park * Hatton Country World * James Gilbert Rugby Football Museum * Jephson Gardens * Kenilworth Castle * Kingsbury Water Park * Ladywalk Reserve * Lunt Roman Fort * Lord Leycester Hospital * Lowsonford * Mary Arden\'s House * Midland Air Museum * Oxford Canal * Ragley Hall * River Avon * Rollright Stones * Royal Pump Rooms * Rugby Art Gallery and Museum * Rugby School * Ryton Pools Country Park * St Nicholas Park * University of Warwick * Warwick Castle * Warwick School * Wellesbourne Wartime Museum

SPORTS TEAMS

ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL

Whilst Warwickshire does not have any professional football clubs it does still maintain a reasonable number of teams at the non-league level. As of the 2015/16 season the highest ranking team is Nuneaton Town of the National League North , the sixth tier of English football. A level below in the Southern Football League Premier Division are Leamington F.C. and Stratford Town . Other clubs include Rugby Town , Bedworth United , Southam United and Racing Club Warwick . All of these are affiliated to the Birmingham F.A.

Until the Local Government Act 1972 , which dramatically reduced the size and population of the county, it boasted league sides Aston Villa , Birmingham City and Coventry City as well as strong non-league sides Solihull Borough and Sutton Coldfield Town .

CRICKET

Warwickshire County Cricket Club play at Edgbaston , Birmingham (historically part of Warwickshire). Notable players for the side have been M.J.K. Smith , Rohan Kanhai , Brian Lara , Bob Willis , Allan Donald , Shaun Pollock , Dennis Amiss , Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell . 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 are:

* Griff and Coton Ground , Nuneaton – 26 matches (most recently 1980) * Arlington Avenue , Leamington Spa – 4 matches (most recently 1910) * Swan\'s Nest Lane , Stratford-upon-Avon – 3 matches (most recently 2005) * Weddington Road , Nuneaton – 3 matches (most recently 1914)

GAELIC SPORTS

The Warwickshire County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) (or WARWICKSHIRE GAA) is one of the county boards outside Ireland 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 . Warwickshire Schools GAA Board was originally set up in September 2000. It has grown at a very healthy rate such that by May 2007 WSGAA worked in partnership with 28 primary schools, 15 Secondary schools, 2 HE/FE Colleges and 5 local GAA clubs and in total an estimated 2385 young people. The aims of the WSGAA include competition by their elite team in the All- Ireland underage championships. This initiative is a remarkable departure from the traditional way in which British GAA clubs have been organised.

HOCKEY

Warwickshire has more clubs than any other county within the Midlands, and has good representation at all levels of the game, and within the Administrative and Officiating Worlds as well. Old Silhillians Hockey Club is the Home of Warwickshire hockey, with many fixtures being played on the site, as well as the County Club Minis being played, Junior Academy Centres being coached, and meetings/ County Officials being based at the Silhillians Sports Ground. There are 3 clubs who include the word "Warwickshire" within their names: Olton & West Warwickshire, Coventry & North Warwickshire, and Rugby -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "UK Flag Registry- Warwickshire". Flag Institute. 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016. * ^ "British County Flags - Warwickshire". British County Flags. 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016. * ^ "2011 Census: Key Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales" (XLS). _Ons.gov.uk_. Retrieved 19 July 2017. * ^ Planet, Lonely (10 May 2016). "Warwickshire: the heart of English history – Lonely Planet". _Lonely Planet_. Retrieved 18 May 2017. * ^ Muir, Jonny (2011). _The UK\'s County Tops: Reaching the top of 91 historic counties_. Cicerone. ISBN 9781849655538 . * ^ "How the County Council makes decisions". Warwickshire County Council. Retrieved 5 May 2010. * ^ " Coventry News: The latest Coventry news updates from". _The Coventry Telegraph _. Retrieved 19 July 2017. * ^ "Teachers in Warwickshire threaten strike action in protest over academy plans". _icCoventry.co.uk_. 15 April 2011. * ^ Railnews (22 October 2012). "Good business case for Stratford- Cotswolds link". _ Railnews _. Retrieved 2 June 2014. * ^ Roger Squires, (2008), _Britain's Restored Canals_, 2nd Ed., Landmark Publishing, ISBN 1-84306-331-X * ^ Brian Halford (25 February 2014). "Warwickshire\'s T20 \' Birmingham Bears\' name is confirmed". _ Birmingham Mail _. Retrieved 19 July 2017. * ^ "Royal Fusiliers honoured with Freedom of Warwickshire". _BBC News_. BBC. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.

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