Last updated

Suburban town of Stroud:

Town in Monmouthshire with suburbs in Gloucestershire:

Green belt

The county has two green belt areas, the first covers the southern area in the South Gloucestershire district, to protect outlying villages and towns between Thornbury and Chipping Sodbury from the urban sprawl of the Bristol conurbation. The second belt lies around Gloucester, Cheltenham, and Bishop's Cleeve, to afford those areas and villages in between a protection from urban sprawl and further convergence. Both belts intersect with the boundaries of the Cotswolds AONB. [19]



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. [20] 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. [21]


There are a variety of religious buildings across the county, notably the cathedral of Gloucester, the abbey church of Tewkesbury (which is over 500 years old and has the tallest Norman tower in England), [22] 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. [23]

Parish Church of St. Mary, Fairford October plenty.jpg
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. [24]

Other notable buildings include Calcot Barn in Calcot, a relic of Kingswood Abbey. [25] 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. [26] 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. Berkeley Castle at over 800 years old and the ruins of Witcombe Roman Villa at Great Witcombe are also notable heritage features.

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. [27]

Places of interest

Gloucester Cathedral - - 4144766 (cropped).jpg
Arlington Row Bibury.jpg
The Second Severn Crossing - panoramio (cropped).jpg
Gloucester Cathedral, the village of Bibury in the Cotswolds, and the Second Severn Crossing in South Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire UK locator map 2010.svg
Coordinates: 51°50′N2°10′W / 51.833°N 2.167°W / 51.833; -2.167
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 Edward Gillespie
High Sheriff H C W Robinson (2023-2024)
Area3,150 km2 (1,220 sq mi)
  Ranked 16th of 48
Population (2021)916,202
  Ranked 23rd of 48
Density291/km2 (750/sq mi)
Ethnicity91.6% White British
AP Icon.svg Abbey/Priory/Cathedral
UKAL icon.svg Accessible open space
Themepark uk icon.png Amusement/Theme Park
CL icon.svg Castle
Country parks.svg Country Park
EH icon.svg English Heritage
Forestry Commission
HR icon.svg Heritage railway
HH icon.svg Historic House
AP Icon.svg Places of Worship
Museum icon.svg
Museum icon (red).svg
Museum (free/not free)
NTE icon.svg National Trust
Drama-icon.svg Theatre
Zoo icon.jpg Zoo
Gloucester cathedral west front Gloucester cathedral west front.jpg
Gloucester cathedral west front
Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle.jpg
Aerial photo of Sudeley Castle

Places of interest in Gloucestershire include:

Areas of countryside in Gloucestershire include:

Scenic Railway Line:


Gloucestershire's only daily newspaper is the Western Daily Press, while The Citizen, which covers Gloucester, Stroud and the Forest of Dean, and the Gloucestershire Echo , which covers Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the Cotswolds, were published daily but since October 2017 have been weekly publications. All three, along with free weeklies The Forester, Stroud Life, The Gloucester News and The Cheltenham and Tewkesbury News, are published by Local World. The Stroud News & Journal is a weekly paid-for newspaper based in Stroud. It is published in a tabloid format by Newsquest. Newsquest also produces the weekly Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard newspaper, which covers the southern and eastern parts of the county as well as the weekly Gloucestershire Gazette, which covers the south of the county and much of South Gloucestershire. [28]

Gloucester News Centre is an independent news website with news and information for Gloucestershire. [29]

Radio stations in Gloucestershire include BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Heart West, Sunshine Radio and Greatest Hits Radio Gloucestershire. [30] There are also several community radio stations including Gloucester FM, Radio Winchcombe, Forest of Dean Radio, North Cotswold Community Radio, and Severn FM.

Local TV for the county is provided by BBC West and ITV West Country from Bristol, although in the northern extremes of Gloucestershire, BBC Midlands and ITV Central (West) from Birmingham covers this area. [31] Some eastern parts of the county (Cirencester and parts of the Cotswolds) receive BBC South and ITV Meridian from Oxford.

The south cloister of Gloucester Cathedral was used for filming scenes in the Harry Potter films. South cloister of Gloucester Cathedral.jpg
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. [32] Most of the book is set in Nortonbury, easily recognisable as Tewkesbury. [33]

The county has also been the setting for a number of high-profile movies and TV series, including Die Another Day , the Harry Potter films and the BBC TV series Butterflies. [34]

"A Girl's Best Friend", the pilot for the proposed Doctor Who spin-off K-9 and Company , was filmed in Gloucestershire. [35] The setting is the fictional town of Moreton Harwood. [36] The fictional town of Leadworth in Doctor Who is in Gloucestershire. [37] It is the home of companions Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song in their childhoods and young adulthoods. [38] Additionally, the 2020 episode "Fugitive of the Judoon" was set and filmed at Gloucester Cathedral. [39]

A fictional Brimpsfield was the village, home of Peter and Abby Grant, in the 1970s BBC TV series Survivors , with a railway connection to London. [40]

Witcombe Festival is an annual music festival held in Brockworth. As well as music, the three-day festival has it roots deep in cider. The festival consists of four stages and has been headlined by Dizzee Rascal, Plan B, Sigma, Ella Eyre, Example, Wiley, Heather Small, Lethal Bizzle and Tinchy Stryder. [41]

The Romano/Celtic temple ruins in Lydney Park contributed to J.R.R. Tolkien's description of The Shire in his Middle-earth Legendarium. [42]


A boar of the local Gloucestershire Old Spot breed. Gloucester Old Spot Boar, England.jpg
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. [43] Sheep roam widely in the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley also have wild boar. [44]

Gloucester cattle, a rare [45] breed, can still be found in and around Gloucestershire. [46] 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. [47]

See also

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Further reading

Rudder, Samuel. (1779) A New History of Gloucestershire. Reprint: Nonsuch Publishing, 2006. ISBN   1-84588-023-4 (Free download of original here: A New History of Gloucestershire )