Windsor and Maidenhead

      royal borough and unitary authority, geographic county of Berkshire, southern England, located about 40 miles (64 km) west of central London. Most of the unitary authority lies in the historic county of Berkshire, but includes areas north of the Thames that belong to the historic county of Buckinghamshire. The unitary authority is bordered on the northwest and bisected in the northeast by the River Thames.

      The unitary authority contains the ancient towns of Windsor and Maidenhead, as well as Windsor Castle, long-time residence of British royalty. Its numerous historical structures, as well as scenic stretches of the Thames near Maidenhead, attract many tourists.

      A border of chalk hills fronts the river near the town (“parish”) of Cookham in the northwest. The district is not particularly productive agriculturally, but the sandy and clay soils of the valley support a growth of heath, parkland (e.g., Windsor Great Park), and Windsor Forest. Eton town and college lie across the Thames from Windsor, and the entirety is a historical conservation area. Maidenhead is the administrative centre. The unitary authority lies within commuting distance of London and has seen extensive residential development. Area 76 square miles (197 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) 138,500.

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Universalium. 2010.

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