Last updated

Prorsum semper
("Ever forward")
Gloucestershire UK locator map 2010.svg
Coordinates: 51°50′N2°10′W / 51.833°N 2.167°W / 51.833; -2.167 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 Janet Trotter
High Sheriff Mrs Helen Lovatt [1] (2020–21)
Area3,150 km2 (1,220 sq mi)
  Ranked 16th of 48
Population (mid-2019 est.)916,202
  Ranked 23rd of 48
Density291/km2 (750/sq mi)
Ethnicity91.6% White British
Non-metropolitan county
County council Gloucestershire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Gloucester
Area2,653 km2 (1,024 sq mi)
  Ranked 13th of 26
  Ranked 19th of 26
Density240/km2 (620/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-GLS
ONS code 23
GSS code E10000013
Unitary authorities
Councils South Gloucestershire Council
Gloucestershire numbered districts.svg
Districts of Gloucestershire
Unitary County council area
  1. Tewkesbury
  2. Forest of Dean
  3. City of Gloucester
  4. Cheltenham
  5. Stroud
  6. Cotswold
  7. South Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire ( /ˈɡlɒstərʃər/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) /-ʃɪər/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) abbreviated Glos) [2] (Welsh: Swydd Gaerloyw) 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, Stroud, Tewkesbury, Cirencester, Dursley, Cinderford, and Lydney.

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

The current Gloucestershire County Council area does not have the same geographical boundaries as the historic county. Some northern parts of the county, including Long Marston and Welford-on-Avon, were transferred to Warwickshire in 1931. Following the Local Government Act 1972, some southern parts of the county were transferred to the new county of Avon, which ceased to exist on 1 April 1996. After 1996, the city of Bristol and South Gloucestershire became separate unitary authorities.


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. [3] 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. [4] It later became part of the administrative County of Avon from 1974 to 1996. [5] [6]

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. [7]

In July 2007, Gloucestershire was subject to some of the worst flooding in recorded British history, with tens of thousands of residents affected. The RAF conducted the largest peacetime domestic operation in its history to rescue over 120 residents from flood affected areas. The damage was estimated at over £2 billion. [8]

Geography and environment

Gloucestershire has three main landscape areas, a large part of the Cotswolds, the Royal Forest of Dean and the Severn Vale. The Cotswolds take up a large portion of the east and south of the county, The Forest of Dean taking up the west, with the Severn and its valley running between these features. The Daffodil Way in the Leadon Valley, on the border of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire surrounding the village of Dymock, is known for its many spring flowers, orchards, and woodland, which attracts many walkers.


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.

YearRegional Gross Value Added [9] Agriculture [10] Industry [11] Services [12]

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 [13]

YearGVA (£ million)

The 2009 estimation of £11,452 million GVA can be compared to the South West regional average of £7,927 million.


Secondary schools

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 for boys (aged 11–18) and girls (aged 16–18, in the sixth form), and Denmark Road High School and Ribston Hall for girls and The Crypt which is mixed. There are 42 state secondary schools, not including sixth form colleges, and 12 independent schools, including Cheltenham Ladies' College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close School. 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 Oxstalls.JPG
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 three locations in Gloucestershire; an associate faculty (Hartpury College) specialising in animal behaviour and welfare, agricultural and sports-related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire; a regional centre at the Gloucester Docks, Alexandra Warehouse, specialising in Adult and Mental Health Nursing; and Frenchay Campus in South Gloucestershire. [14]

Towns and cities

Gloucestershire has one city and 33 towns:



The towns in Gloucestershire are:

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. [15]


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), [16] 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. [17]

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. [18]

Other notable buildings include Calcot Barn in Calcot, a relic of Kingswood Abbey. [19] 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. [20] 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. [21]

Places of interest

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 Mosques
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 Gloucester Cathedral exterior front.jpg
Gloucester Cathedral
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. [22]

Gloucester News Centre is an independent news website with news and information for Gloucestershire. [23]

Radio stations in Gloucestershire include BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Heart Gloucestershire, Sunshine Radio and The Breeze (Cheltenham & North Gloucestershire). [24] 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, although in the northern extremes of Gloucestershire, BBC Midlands and ITV Central (West) covers this area. [25]

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. [26] Most of the book is set in Nortonbury, easily recognisable as Tewkesbury. [27]

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. [28] The film Hot Fuzz was set in Gloucestershire where Simon Pegg, who co-wrote and starred in the film, grew up. [29]

"A Girl's Best Friend", the pilot for the proposed Doctor Who spin-off K-9 and Company , was filmed in Gloucestershire. [30] The setting is the fictional town of Moreton Harwood. [31] The fictional town of Leadworth in Doctor Who is in Gloucestershire. [32] It is the home of companions Amy Pond, Rory Williams and River Song in their childhoods and young adulthoods. [33] Additionally, the 2020 episode "Fugitive of the Judoon" was set and filmed at Gloucester Cathedral. [34]

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. [35]

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. [36]


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. [37] Sheep roam widely in the Forest of Dean. [38] The Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley also have wild boar. [39]

Gloucester cattle, a rare [40] breed, can still be found in and around Gloucestershire. [41] 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. [42]

See also


  1. "No. 62943". The London Gazette . 13 March 2020. p. 5161.
  2. "Abbreviations". Oxford English Dictionary. Archived from the original on 19 June 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  3. "Forest of Dean: Introduction Pages 285-294 A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean". British History Online. Victoria County History. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  4. Liddy, Christian Drummond (2005). War, Politics and Finance in Late Medieval English Towns: Bristol, York and the Crown, 1350–1400. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN   978-0-86193-274-0. Archived from the original on 3 May 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  5. "Local Government Bill (Hansard, 16 November 1971)". Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2009.
  6. "The Avon (Structural Change) Order 1995". Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. Robbins, Bill (1997). "South Gloucestershire: The Transition to Unitary Authority Status". Journal of Integrated Care. 5 (1): 18–23. doi:10.1108/14769018199700004.
  8. "Flood crisis grows as rivers rise". BBC News. 23 July 2007. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  9. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  10. includes hunting and forestry
  11. includes energy and construction
  12. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  13. "{title}". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  14. "Getting to and from UWE Bristol campuses". University of the West of England. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  15. "Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy 2011 - 2031". Gloucester City, Cheltenham Borough and Tewkesbury Borough. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  16. "History". Tewkesbury Abbey. Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  17. "Hailes Abbey". English Heritage. Archived from the original on 27 October 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  18. "Fairford, St Mary's Church". Britain Express. Archived from the original on 28 October 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  19. "C. Michael Hogan and Amy Gregory, History and Architecture of Calcot Manor, Lumina Technologies, prepared for Calcot Manor, July 5, 2006". Archived from the original on 29 March 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  20. "Simon Thurgood Images: Out and About in Gloucestershire". Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  21. "Cotswold Olimpicks". Cotswold Olimpicks. Archived from the original on 3 May 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  22. "Newsquest Gloucestershire". Newsquest. Archived from the original on 24 July 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  23. "Gloucester News Centre". Gloucester News Centre. Archived from the original on 25 March 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  24. "Listen to 7 radio stations in Gloucester online". Radio net. Archived from the original on 25 September 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  25. "Local news area". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  26. "Minchinhampton - Introduction | A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11 (pp. 184-190)". 22 June 2003. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  27. "Literary Tewkesbury". Tewksbury History. Archived from the original on 3 May 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  28. 'Gloucestershire TV and Movie Locations' at Gloucestershire On Screen Archived 22 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  29. Day, Elizabeth (17 September 2013). "Simon Pegg: 'My daughter was a blank slate. This little life had never eaten an E-number'". Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  30. "Doctor Who Locations Guide: K9 and Company". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  31. "K-9 and Company". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  32. Moffat, Steven (3 April 2010). "The Eleventh Hour". Doctor Who. Series 5. Episode 1. BBC. BBC One.
  33. Moffat, Steven (3 April 2010). "The Eleventh Hour". Doctor Who. Series 5. Episode 1. BBC. BBC One.
    Moffat, Steven (26 June 2010). "The Big Bang". Doctor Who. Series 5. Episode 13. BBC. BBC One.
    Moffat, Steven (27 August 2011). "Let's Kill Hitler". Doctor Who. Series 6. Episode 8. BBC. BBC One.
  34. Norris, Phil (21 January 2020). "Doctor Who in Gloucester: This is probably the strangest thing you'll ever see in a cafe". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  35. "The Fourth Horseman". Survivors Series. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  36. Gibbon, Tom (30 May 2019). "Fix up look sharp! Dizzee Rascal tops incredible line-up for Witcombe Cider Festival 2019". Gloucestershire Live. Archived from the original on 31 May 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  37. "Gloucestershire Old Spots". Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  38. "Campsites in the Forest of Dean". Camping in the forest. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  39. Vidal, John (5 April 2013). "Hundreds of wild boars face cull in Forest of Dean". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  40. "Gloucester" (PDF). Rare Breeds Survival Trust. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  41. "Gloucester Cattle Society". Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  42. "Gloucester cattle breed at increased risk of extinction". BBC. Archived from the original on 11 April 2021. Retrieved 3 May 2021.

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 )

Related Research Articles

Cotswolds protected area in south central England

The Cotswolds is an area in south-central and southwest England comprising the Cotswold Hills, a range of rolling hills that rise from the meadows of the upper Thames to an escarpment, known as the Cotswold Edge, above the Severn Valley and Evesham Vale.

Gloucester City and Non-metropolitan district in England

Gloucester is a cathedral city and the county town of Gloucestershire in the South West of England. Gloucester lies on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the west, 19 miles (31 km) east of Monmouth, and 17 miles (27 km) east of the border with Wales. Including suburban areas, Gloucester has a population of around 150,000. It is a port, linked via the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal to the Severn Estuary.

Tewkesbury Human settlement in England

Tewkesbury is a market town and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England. It stands at the confluence of the River Severn and the River Avon, and also minor tributaries the Swilgate and Carrant Brook. It gives its name to the Borough of Tewkesbury, of which the town is the second largest settlement. It lies in the far north of the county, forming part of the border with Worcestershire.

Winchcombe Cotswold market town in Gloucestershire, England

Winchcombe is a market town of early medieval origin, in the Cotswold hills of Gloucestershire, England, 6.2 mi (10 km) north-east of Cheltenham. The population recorded as 4,538 in the 2011 census was estimated at 5,347 in 2019. Fragments of the Winchcombe meteorite, originating from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, landed in the town on 28 February 2021.

Cotswold Way

The Cotswold Way is a 102-mile (164 km) long-distance footpath, running along the Cotswold Edge escarpment of the Cotswold Hills in England. It was officially inaugurated as a National Trail on 24 May 2007 and several new rights of way have been created.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire is the BBC's local radio station serving the county of Gloucestershire.

History of Gloucestershire Aspect of history

The region now known as Gloucestershire was originally inhabited by Brythonic peoples in the Iron Age and Roman periods. After the Romans left Britain in the early 5th century, the Brythons re-established control but the territorial divisions for the post-Roman period are uncertain. The city of Caerloyw was one centre and Cirencester may have continued as a tribal centre as well. The only reliably attested kingdom is the minor south-east Wales kingdom of Ergyng, which may have included a portion of the area. In the final quarter of the 6th century, the Saxons of Wessex began to establish control over the area.

Tewkesbury (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Tewkesbury is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since its 1997 recreation by Laurence Robertson, a Conservative.

Alderton, Gloucestershire Human settlement in England

Alderton is a village and civil parish in the Tewkesbury district of Gloucestershire, England.

Diocese of Gloucester Diocese of the Church of England

The Diocese of Gloucester is a Church of England diocese based in Gloucester, covering the non-metropolitan county of Gloucestershire. The cathedral is Gloucester Cathedral and the bishop is the Bishop of Gloucester. It is part of the Province of Canterbury.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service

The Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory emergency fire and rescue service for the non-metropolitan county of Gloucestershire, England. The service is run by Gloucestershire County Council. The service does not cover the unitary authority of South Gloucestershire which is covered by Avon Fire and Rescue Service.

Geology of Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire is one of the most geologically and scenically diverse counties in England, with rocks from the Precambrian through to the Jurassic represented. These varying rock-types are responsible for the three major areas of the county, each with its own distinctive scenery and land-use - the Forest of Dean in the west, bordering Wales, the Cotswolds in the east, and in between, the Severn Vale.

Grade I listed buildings in Gloucestershire

The county of Gloucestershire is divided into seven districts. The districts of Gloucestershire are Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Cotswold, Stroud, Forest of Dean, South Gloucestershire.

Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union

The Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union is the union responsible for rugby union in the county of Gloucestershire, England and is one of the constituent bodies of the national Rugby Football Union. Formed in 1878, it has won the county championship on numerous occasions.

<i>Gloucestershire Victoria County History</i>

Gloucestershire Victoria County History is an encyclopaedic history of the county of Gloucestershire in England. It forms part of the overall Victoria County History of England founded in 1899 in honour of Queen Victoria. With twelve volumes published in the series A History of the County of Gloucestershire, the Gloucestershire Victoria County History is about halfway through its history of all the parishes in the county. Ten volumes have been published to date, and a further four volumes are in preparation.

Grade II* listed buildings in Gloucestershire

The county of Gloucestershire is divided into seven districts. The districts of Gloucestershire are Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, Cotswold, Stroud, Forest of Dean, South Gloucestershire.