Status:Ceremonial & Administrative County
Region:West Midlands
- Total
- Admin. council
Ranked 31st
1,975 km²
Ranked 28th
Admin HQ:Warwick
ISO 3166-2:GB-WAR
ONS code:44
- Total (2003 est.)
- Density
- Admin. council
Ranked 39th
263 / km²
Ranked 23rd
Ethnicity:95.6% White
2.8% S.Asian
Warwickshire County Council
MPs:John Maples, Mike O'Brien, Bill Olner, James Plaskitt, Jeremy Wright

Larger version

  1. North Warwickshire
  2. Nuneaton and Bedworth
  3. Rugby
  4. Stratford-on-Avon
  5. Warwick

Warwickshire (pronounced worrickshur or worricksheer) is a landlocked county in central England. The county town is Warwick. The shape of modern-day Warwickshire differs considerably from that of the historic county. Commonly used abbreviations for the name of the county are Warks or Warwicks.

Famous people from Warwickshire include William Shakespeare (from Stratford-upon-Avon), George Eliot (from near Nuneaton), Rupert Brooke (from Rugby), and Frank Whittle (from Coventry – then a part of Warwickshire). J. R. R. Tolkien, though not born in Warwickshire, lived as a child in the village of Sarehole before moving to Birmingham.



Warwickshire is bounded to the northwest by the West Midlands county (formed in the local government reorganisation of 1974) and Staffordshire, by Leicestershire to the northeast, Northamptonshire to the east, Oxfordshire to the south, Gloucestershire to the southwest, and Worcestershire to the west.

The largest towns in Warwickshire as of 2004 are: Nuneaton ( pop. 77,500), Rugby (62,700), Leamington Spa (45,300), and Bedworth (pop 32,500).

The bulk of Warwickshire's population lives in the north and centre of the county, The north has traditionally been industrial, with towns such as Atherstone, Nuneaton, Bedworth and Rugby whose traditional industries include (or included) coal mining, textiles, cement production, and engineering.

In the centre and west of Warwickshire lie the prosperous towns of Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth, and Stratford-upon-Avon. The south of the county is largely rural and sparsely populated, and includes no towns of any significant size.

The southern fringe of Warwickshire includes a small area of the Cotswolds, and the highest point is Ebrington Hill, GR SP187426, at 261m/856ft.

Historically much of western Warwickshire, including the area now forming part of Birmingham and the West Midlands, was covered by the ancient Forest of Arden (although most of this was cut down to provide fuel for industrialisation in the 17th to 19th centuries). For this reason, several places in the northwestern part of Warwickshire have names with the termination "-in-Arden".

Historic boundaries

Historically Warwickshire included Coventry, Solihull, and most of Birmingham. These became part of the West Midlands county following local government re-organisation in 1974.

However some organisations such as Warwickshire County Cricket Club (which is based in Edgbaston in Birmingham) still observe the traditional county boundaries.

Coventry has only been a part of Warwickshire for some of its history. In 1451 Coventry was separated from Warwickshire and became a county in its own right called the County of the City of Coventry. In 1842 the county of Coventry was abolished and Coventry was re-merged with Warwickshire.

Missing image
A detailed map

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 from Worcestershire, and several villages such as Long Marston from Gloucestershire.

Coventry is effectively in the centre of the Warwickshire area, and is often considered to have more in common with Warwickshire than with the Birmingham conurbation. Coventry and Warwickshire are sometimes treated as a single area, and share a single NHS trust, and other institutions.

Main settlements

Missing image

This is a list of the main settlements in Warwickshire, including towns, or villages with a population of over 5,000. For a complete list see List of places in Warwickshire.


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 Waeinewiscscr 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

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.

1974 boundary changes removed Birmingham and Coventry from Warwickshire, leaving the present day county with a rather odd shape, which looks like a large chunk has been bitten out of it.

Local government

Like most English shire counties, Warwickshire has a two-tier structure of Local government. The county has a county council based in Warwick, and is also divided into five districts each with their own district councils. These districts are : North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford, and Warwick.(see map). The county and district councils are responsible for providing different services.

Atherstone is the headquarters of the North Warwickshire district, whereas Leamington Spa is the headquarters of the Warwick district.

In addition many small towns and villages have their own parish councils although these have only limited powers.



Several major motorways run through Warwickshire. these include:

  • The M40 motorway which connects London to Birmingham, runs through the centre of the county, and serves Leamington Spa, Warwick and Stratford.
  • The M6 motorway, which connects the north west of England and the 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.
  • The M69 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) and the A452 (Leamington to Birmingham route)


Two major railway lines pass through Warwickshire.

  • The Chiltern Main Line, the former Great Western route from London to Birmingham passes through the centre of Warwickshire on a route similar to the M40 motorway, and has stations at Leamington Spa, Warwick (and Warwick Parkway) and Hatton. Rail services are provided by Chiltern Railways and Central 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.
Missing image
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. 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 is one intermediate station at Water Orton near 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 are several stations 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. There is a campaign to re-open the station, although currently there are no local services operating on the line, as it is used only by Virgin cross-country services.

Canals and waterways

Canals in Warwickshire, include

The River Avon is navigable from just north of Stratford. It has been proposed recently to extend the navigation to Warwick, but this was rejected by local residents.

Places of interest

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See also

United Kingdom | England | Ceremonial counties of England Flag of England

Bedfordshire | Berkshire | City of Bristol | Buckinghamshire | Cambridgeshire | Cheshire | Cornwall | Cumbria | Derbyshire | Devon | Dorset | Durham | East Riding of Yorkshire | East Sussex | Essex | Gloucestershire | Greater London | Greater Manchester | Hampshire | Herefordshire | Hertfordshire | Isle of Wight | Kent | Lancashire | Leicestershire | Lincolnshire | City of London | Merseyside | Norfolk | Northamptonshire | Northumberland | North Yorkshire | Nottinghamshire | Oxfordshire | Rutland | Shropshire | Somerset | South Yorkshire | Staffordshire | Suffolk | Surrey | Tyne and Wear | Warwickshire | West Midlands | West Sussex | West Yorkshire | Wiltshire | Worcestershire


eo:Warwickshire no:Warwickshire pl:Warwickshire


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