Warwickshire (wŏˈrĭkshĭr) [key], county (1991 pop. 477,000), 975 sq mi (2,525 sq km), central England. The county seat is Warwick. Warwickshire is divided into five administrative districts: North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon. Historically, Birmingham, Coventry, and Solihull were also part of the county. The terrain is gently rolling, with outcroppings of the Cotswold Hills in the south. The Avon, flowing southwesterly, is the chief river. There are vestiges of the ancient Forest of Arden.
The region is a varied one, largely given to agriculture (wheat and other grains, dairying, sheep and cattle grazing). Some light industry is practiced. There are deposits of limestone and fireclay; coal is in the northeast. One of England's most known public schools is at Rugby. Numerous traces of the Roman occupation remain, such as the abbeys of Merevale and Stoneleigh and the ruins of the castle at Kenilworth. Warwick Castle is largely intact. The county is rich in literary associations as well. Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon (see under Stratford-on-Avon) is one of England's most popular literary attractions. In 1974, Warwickshire was reorganized as a nonmetropolitan county.