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Berkshire’s northern border runs for more than 100 miles along the south bank of the Thames. It stretches from Windsor in the east up to the borders of Gloucestershire in the west. The River Thames provides, apart from the northern border, fertile farmland. In western Berkshire rise the Berkshire Downs, rising to about 1,000 feet. From them is much beautiful and wooded river scenery down to Reading. The prehistoric Ridgeway runs along the Berkshire Downs, above the pleasant Vale of White Horse. There the famous White Horse of Uffington is the major landmark. The main town is Reading, though historically the county town is Abingdon. The Shire Hall in Abingdon is one of the earliest and finest of the seventeenth century public halls. Reading, Bracknell and other Berkshire towns are growing and thriving on the computer industry, becoming known as Silicon Valley. Windsor is the Queen’s main residence outside London. This jewel of a town is dominated by Windsor Castle, the largest castle in Britain and indeed the largest inhabited castle in the world.

County Facts

County Town: Abingdon

Main Towns: Abingdon, Didcot, Harwell, Hungerford, Maidenhead, Newbury, Reading, Wantage, Windsor.

Main Rivers: Thames, Kennet, Blackwater, Lamborn, Ock, Lodden.

Highlights: White Horse and Maiden Castle, Uffington; Windsor Castle and Great Park; Warfield St Michael’s church.

Highest Point: Walbury Hill shoulder, 959 feet (SU 374 618).

Area: 722 sq miles

Flower: Summer Snowflake