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BERKSHIRENa0027.wmf (12854 bytes)erkshire or Royal Berkshire - County of south central England. First recorded as Beaurrucsir in 860 meaning a wooden hill district originating from the great forest of birch trees called Bearroc, the Celtic word for hilly.

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From April 1998 Berkshire was split into six unitary authorities:Local Links West Berkshire Council - Reading Borough Council - Slough Borough Council - Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead - Wokingham District Council - Bracknell Forest Borough Council

owns and cities Newbury (administrative headquarters), Hungerford, Lambourn, Aldermaston, Stratfield Mortimer
rea 1,256 sq km / 484 sq mi
opulation 768,000 (1995 est)
opography GoringBerkshire is largely a lowland area drained by the Thames and Kennet rivers. The River Cambourn and the Kennet and Avon Canal also flow through the County; Snelsmore Common Country Park covers 146 acres including wetland habitats; Inkpen Hill (291 m / 854 ft) with Stone Age tomb and Walbury Hill (297 m / 974 ft) with Iron Age fort are the highest chalk hills in England. Thatcham Moors reedbeds are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
ommerce Race horse industry, agriculture, dairy cattle, pig farming (including local Berkshire pig)
Industries include the manufacture of biscuits, brewing, boats, engineering, printing, and electronics. Reading is an agricultural and horticultural centre with seed-testing grounds and is a major bulb producer.
amous people The writer Oscar Wilde spent two years in Reading jail (1895-97). Reading was also the birthplace of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633.

Focus On...
Windsor & Eton

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River Thames - The longest river in England, it rises in the Cotswold Hills above Cirencester and is tidal as far as Teddington. It enters Berkshire from Oxfordshire and flows Eastwards into Surrey.
Windsor CastleWindsor CastleWindsor Castle, founded by William the Conqueror in 1070 was renovated in the 1820s, during the reign of George IV. Despite the serious fire of November 1992, many parts of the royal residence remain open, including St George's Chapel, an architectural masterpiece with a glorious fan-vaulted roof.
Windsor Great Park, over 4,000 acres of royal hunting ground.
Eton College, World famous college founded by Henry VI in 1440. The walls of the 15th-century College border the High Street.
Household Cavalry Museum (Windsor)
Stanley Spencer Gallery (Cookham on Thames)
Ascot Racecourse - Royalty and high society attend four racing days, which include the Ascot Gold Cup, one of the longest flat races of the season. The event has become famous for the flamboyant designer hats worn by women racegoers, especially on the third day, which is known as “Ladies Day”.
Swallowfield Park, house built for 2nd Earl of Clarendon in 1690.
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Attractive and historic, a Thameside gem. Monday market under the old County Hall arches.

Good for GWR steam enthusiasts. The power station dominates and it has open days in summer.

Dominated by the Atomic Energy Research stack but retaining an olde-worlde charm with 14th to 18th century buildings.

By the river, with its clustering boats and ducks, is pleasant with a clutter of antique shops.

Fine Georgian cottages and almshouses.

Riverside town with pub-lined towpath.

Notorious by-pass. Fine almhouses, a cloth museum and horse-drawn barge trips.

Has a set of almshouses and paving stones made of sheep bones. King Alfred, he of the burnt cakes, was born here.
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Donnington CastleDonnington castle. A mile to the north of Newbury is Donnington Castle. It was succesfully defended three times by Sir John Boys during the Civil War. Only the 14th Century gatehouse remains.
Henley Regatta course. UK rowing festival on the river Thames, inaugurated in 1839. The regatta is held in July. As from 1998, professional rowers were allowed to compete at Henley after the Regatta's stewards had dropped the amateur definition from their rules.
The Meteorological Office at Bracknell  - (one of two global forecasting centres for the world's airlines)
Reading - There are remains of a 12th-century Benedictine abbey where Henry I is buried. The Museum of Reading includes Roman and Saxon relics, and a full-size Victorian reproduction of the Bayeaux Tapestry. The Museum of English Rural Life is also located there.
Slough - A small market town until the beginning of the 20th century. The home of astronomer William Herschel is now a museum. The story of the town is recorded in Slough Museum
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Sunningdale - Golf is a popular sport to play and watch in Great Britain and international tournaments are held at courses across the country. One of the oldest of them is at Sunningdale.

Basildon Park, Lower Basildon, Reading.

Englefield House, Englefield, Theale, Reading.

The Savill Garden, windsor Great Park.

Taplow Court, Berry Hillm Taplow, Nr. Maidenhead.

Bisham AbbeyBisham Cottages