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Warwickshire contains a large expanse of green belt area, surrounding the West Midlands and Coventry conurbations, and was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.

Places of interest

Warwick Castle Warwick Castle May 2016.jpg
Warwick Castle
Chesterton Windmill Chesterton Windmill, Chesterton.jpg
Chesterton Windmill


Warwickshire has a strong and growing economy with the automotive industry being a major contributor. In the north, BMW's Hams Hall plant employs over 1,000 people, [18] while Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin Lagonda have headquarters, including a giant advanced production creation centre, [19] at Gaydon in the south.

Warwickshire is also establishing a growing reputation as a global hub of the video game industry. [20] One of Britain's oldest still-running game studios, Codemasters, has operated out of Southam for decades; the greater "Silicon Spa" [21] area, including Southam, Royal Leamington Spa and Warwick, is now home to dozens of game studios which employ a combined total of over 2,000 highly skilled people, equating to more than 10% of the UK's games development workforce. [22]

Increasingly the region is establishing itself as one of the leading areas in battery technology with major developments announced in 2021 that include a £130 million UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) [23] based in Coventry.

Tourism is also a key area of employment with country parks, rural areas and historic towns across the county. It generates a total business turnover of over £1 billion to the local economy and supports almost 20,000 jobs. [24]



Warwickshire in 1832 Warwickshire Administrative 1832.png
Warwickshire in 1832
Stratford-upon-Avon StratfordAvon20040717.jpg
Kenilworth Castle Kenilworth Castle gatehouse landscape.jpg
Kenilworth Castle

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. The prefix wara- is the genitive plural of the Old English noun waru, which means "those that care for, watch, guard, protect, or defend". It was used as an endonym by both Goths [lower-alpha 1] and Jutes. [lower-alpha 2] The suffix -wick is an Old English cognate (-wic) for the Latin word for village, vicus. Near Warwick are the villages of Long Itchington and Bishop's Itchington along the River Itchen. [lower-alpha 3]

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 and Coventry within its boundaries.

Boundary changes

Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick from Church Street St Mary's church in Church Street, geograph 6862602 by Steve Daniels.jpg
Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick from Church Street

Local government

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, 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, 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 the held on 6 May 2021 and resulted in a Conservative majority. The county council operates a cabinet-style council. The county council is made of 57 councillors, who decide upon the budget and appoints the council leader. The council leader selects 8 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. [26]

In addition many small towns and villages have their own town council or parish council 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 single county-wide unitary authority. [27] 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. [28] 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. [29]


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 36 local authorities in England to still maintain the grammar school system in two districts: Stratford-on-Avon and Rugby. 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 5 grammar schools: Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls; King Edward VI School, a boys' school from year 7–11 with a mixed Sixth-Form; Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School for Boys; Rugby High School for Girls and Alcester Grammar School (mixed). The Warwickshire 11+ selection test consists of two papers, each containing a mixture of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and non-verbal reasoning multiple-choice questions. [30]

Warwickshire contains four colleges of further education: North Warwickshire & Hinckley College, King Edward VI Sixth Form College (K.E.G.S) in Nuneaton, Stratford-upon-Avon College and the Warwickshire College Group 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 (in Warwick).

A number of the Warwickshire grammar and independent schools have historical significance. 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 are HMC schools, with the Headmaster from each school attending the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

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 [31] The university has a small campus near Wellesbourne which houses the Warwick Horticultural Research Centre and an Innovation Centre. [32]



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 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.
  • 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 include 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 West Coast Main Line at Rugby Rugby railway station MMB 23 390XXX.jpg
The West Coast Main Line at Rugby

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).

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. A replacement station opened in April 2018, [33] with an hourly service to Coventry and to Leamington provided by West Midlands Trains.

HS2 construction near Leamington Spa in August 2021 HS2 construction near Leamington Spa, aerial 2021 (3), geograph 6947416 by Chris.jpg
HS2 construction near Leamington Spa in August 2021

The new High Speed 2 (HS2) line is being constructed through Warwickshire although, as it is a long-distance trunk route, there will be no stations in the county. It will pass south of Southam, then between Kenilworth and Coventry, before running into the West Midlands towards Birmingham. [34]


Coventry Airport is located in the Warwickshire village of Baginton.

Canals and waterways

The Oxford Canal at Napton-on-the-Hill Oxford Canal from Napton.jpg
The Oxford Canal at Napton-on-the-Hill

Canals and navigable waterways in Warwickshire include:

  • 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 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 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 Stratford-upon-Avon Canal which runs from the Grand Union west of Warwick to Stratford, where it joins the Avon.
  • The River Avon runs through Warwickshire on a south-west to north-east axis, running through Stratford, Warwick and Rugby. It is navigable for 47 miles (76 km) from the River Severn at Tewkesbury to Alveston weir just east of Stratford-upon-Avon, making it the only navigable river in Warwickshire. [35] There have been proposals to extend the Avon navigation 13 miles (21 km) to Warwick. [36] However, as of 2019, these plans look unlikely to proceed. [37]



Warwickshire's rural roads, canal towpaths and historic towns are increasingly popular with cycling enthusiasts. [38] Its reputation as a major cycling destination has been bolstered in recent years having hosted a stage of the Women's Tour since 2016 [39] and the Men's Tour of Britain in 2018 and 2019. [40]

In 2022, St Nicholas Park in Warwick will host the Elite Men's and Women's Road Race as part of the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham. [41]


There are six Saturday morning 5km parkruns in Warwickshire for all ages and abilities: Leamington, Stratford upon Avon, Rugby, Bedworth, Southam and Kingsbury. There are also three Sunday 2km junior events at Stratford upon Avon, Rugby and Warwick. [42]


Warwickshire County Cricket Club play at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham (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. [43]

Other grounds in modern-day Warwickshire which have hosted first-class cricket matches are:

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.


The Dallas Burston Polo Club is a six-pitch polo club located near Southam.

Water polo

Warwick Water Polo club play in the Midland League, and train in Warwick, Banbury and Coventry. [44]

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. [45]


Warwickshire is perhaps best known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon. 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 (from Nuneaton), Rupert Brooke (from Rugby), and Michael Drayton (from Hartshill). 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. [46] [47]

See also


  1. Warmia and Warsaw.
  2. Meonwara.
  3. Itchen derives from Ytene, the genitive plural of Yte the exonym of "Jute", i.e. "of the Jutes". [25] Various place-names identify locations as Jutish. These include Bishopstoke (Ytingstoc), the River Itchen (Ytene) and the Meon Valley (Ytedene).

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Southam</span> Human settlement in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stratford-on-Avon District</span> Non-metropolitan district in Warwickshire, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Warwick District</span> Non-metropolitan district in England

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Wellesbourne is a large village in the civil parish of Wellesbourne and Walton, in the county of Warwickshire, in the West Midlands region of the UK. In the 2021 census the parish, which also includes the hamlet of Walton, had a population of 7,283, a significant increase from 5,849 In the 2011 census. The civil parish was renamed from Wellesbourne to Wellesbourne and Walton on 1 April 2014.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2013 Warwickshire County Council election</span>

An election to Warwickshire County Council took place on 2 May 2013 as part of the 2013 United Kingdom local elections. 62 councillors were elected from 56 electoral divisions, which returned either one or two county councillors each by first-past-the-post voting for a four-year term of office. The electoral divisions were the same as those used at the previous election in 2009. The election saw the Conservative Party lose overall control of the council.

The Warwickshire Rugby Football Union is a governing body for rugby union in part of The Midlands, England. The union is the constituent body of the Rugby Football Union for the city of Coventry and the county of Warwickshire. The current president is Steve Wilkes of the Old Coventrians club.


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KML is from Wikidata
Warwick, UK - panoramio (47).jpg
Warwick, the county town of Warwickshire
Arms of Warwickshire County Council.svg
Warwickshire UK locator map 2010.svg
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region West Midlands
Established Historic
Time zone UTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament
Largest town Nuneaton
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant Timothy Cox
High Sheriff The Lady Willoughby de Broke [1] (2021–22)
Area1,975 km2 (763 sq mi)
  Ranked 31st of 48
Population (2021)571,010
  Ranked 39th of 48
Density289/km2 (750/sq mi)
Ethnicity92.8% White
4.6% Asian
1.5% Mixed
0.8% Black
0.4% Other [2]