The M48 is a 12-mile long motorway in Great Britain, which connects Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, via the original Severn Bridge. The M48 is anomalously numbered, as it is to the west of the M5 motorway thus falling into zone 5 of the motorway numbering system, it is one of only three motorways in Wales. Travelling from east to west, after leaving the M4 at Awkley, Junction 21, near Olveston in England, the M48 begins by heading north-west towards Aust, Junction 1, it crosses the Wye rivers via their respective bridges. Entering Wales, the M48 heads south-west after Junction 2, passing to the south of Chepstow, past Crick and continuing in a south westerly direction, passing Caldicot and Rogiet; the motorway rejoins the M4 at Junction 23 to the east of Magor. Since 17 December 2018, the crossing has been toll-free. Junction 2 can be reached via the A466, which leads to the A48; the junction gives access to the Wye Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. When travelling either east or west on the M4, the M48 is the most direct route for Chepstow and Caldicot.
The M48 was opened as part of the M4 in 1966. Before this date traffic between South West England and South Wales was either transported on a motorail service through the Severn Tunnel, used the Aust Ferry or travelled through Gloucester to pass north of the Severn Estuary. After opening, the route became busy, in 1984 a report was commissioned into a Second Severn Crossing. After four years of construction this new route was opened in 1996 and the M4 was diverted over the newer bridge; the original stretch of motorway was renumbered as M48 and now shares the traffic between England and Wales. Junction 1 is the location of Severn View services, which can be accessed by the A403, from Avonmouth. There is a footpath leading from the service station to allow pedestrians to cross the bridge; when the M4 was diverted over the Second Severn Crossing, it was anticipated that these services may close. However, although the original building – which had offered views of the River Severn – was sold, due to business falling as a consequence of traffic using the newer bridge, operations continued in a new, much smaller development on an adjacent site nearer the motorway junction.
Data from driver location signs are used to provide carriageway identifier information. Where a junction spans several hundred metres and start and end points are available, both are cited. Information above gathered from Advanced Direction Signs May 2011 List of motorways in the United Kingdom Media related to M48 motorway at Wikimedia Commons CBRD Motorway Database – M48 The Motorway Archive – M48
The M4, a motorway in the United Kingdom running from west London to southwest Wales, was referred to as the London-South Wales Motorway. The English section to the Severn Bridge was constructed between 1961 and 1971; the Second Severn Crossing renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge, was inaugurated on 5 June 1996 by HRH The Prince of Wales and the M4 was rerouted. Apart from its two spurs—the A48 and the M48—the M4 is the only motorway in Wales; the line of the motorway from London to Bristol runs in parallel with the A4. After crossing the River Severn, toll-free since 17 December 2018, the motorway follows the A48, to terminate at the Pont Abraham services in Carmarthenshire; the major towns and cities along the route—a distance of 189 miles —include Slough, Swindon, Newport, Bridgend, Port Talbot and Swansea. A new road from London to South Wales was first proposed in the 1930s. In 1956, the Ministry of Transport announced plans for the first major post-war road improvement projects; the Chiswick flyover, a short section of elevated dual-carriageway, not classed as a motorway, opened in 1959 to reduce the impact of traffic travelling between central London and the west.
The Maidenhead bypass opened in 1961 whilst J1-J5 opened in 1965. The stretch from J18 to the west of Newport was opened including the Severn Bridge; the Port Talbot by-pass built in the 1960s and now part of the M4, was the A48 motorway, a number now allocated to a short section of motorway near Cardiff. The Ministry of Transport intended that the M4 would terminate at Tredegar Park west of Newport, following the creation of the Welsh Office that the Government became committed to a high-standard dual carriageway to Carmarthenshire; the English section of the motorway was completed on 22 December 1971 when the 50-mile stretch between junctions 9 and 15 was opened to traffic. The Welsh section was completed in 1993; the Second Severn Crossing opened in 1996, together with new link motorways on either side of the estuary to divert the M4 over the new crossing. The existing route over the Severn Bridge was redesignated the M48, the new M49 was opened to connect the new crossing to the M5. In April 2005, speed checks carried out by police camera vans between junction 14 and junction 18 led to a public protest, involving a "go-slow" of several hundred vehicles along the affected sections of the motorway.
Between 2007 and January 2010, the section from Castleton to Coryton was widened to six lanes. The scheme was formally opened on 25 January 2010 by Ieuan Wyn Jones the Deputy First Minister for Wales. During 2009, the Newport section of the motorway between junctions 23a and 29 was upgraded with a new concrete central barrier. In February 2010 it was proposed that the M4 in South Wales would become the first hydrogen highway with hydrogen stations provided along the route, with an aspiration for further stations to be provided along the M4 into South West England over time. Between 2008 and 2010, junction 11 was extensively remodelled with a new four-lane junction, two new road bridges and other works; the £65m scheme included work on the Mereoak roundabout and part of the A33 Swallowfield Bypass near Shinfield, the conversion of the two existing bridges, one of, available only to pedestrians and cyclists and the other to buses. It involved the movement of the local Highways Agency and Fire Service offices, the construction of a long footbridge network, a new bus-lane and a new gyratory.
Sound barriers for nearby residential areas were installed. In April 2008, the decision to preserve a rare Vickers machine gun pillbox and turn it into a bat roost was announced by the developers; the M4 crosses the River Severn on the Second Severn Crossing, toll free from 17 December 2018. Maintenance of the 123 miles section of the motorway in England is the responsibility of the Highways Agency; the 76 miles section in Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Government. For the majority of its length, the national speed limit applies. Exceptions include the following: 40 miles per hour on the Chiswick Flyover within London in both directions. 60 miles per hour between junction 4 and the Chiswick Flyover eastbound only. 50 miles per hour when approaching the toll plaza after the Severn Crossing. 50 miles per hour on the Port Talbot elevated section between junction 40 and junction 41. The fixed speed camera was removed in 2006. In July 2014, an average speed camera system was installed; the M4 has two sections of smart motorway.
The one between junctions 19 and 20 north of Bristol has variable speed limits and a part-time hard-shoulder. Completion was in summer 2014; the section between junctions 24 and 29 in Newport has variable speed limits. In 2010 it was announced that a smart motorway would be constructed between junctions 3 and 12, with work starting in Autumn 2018; this will be the longest smart motorway scheme in the United Kingdom, with a length of 51km. Work is expected to be completed in March 2022 at a cost of £848 million; the Brynglas Tunnels carry the M4 under Brynglas Hill in Wales. The 404 yards-long tunnels are only twin -- bored tunnels in the UK motorway network. In July 2011, a lorry fire in one tunnel closed the motorway. Although there were no injuries and no deaths, the tunnel remained closed and a contraflow system was in place in the remaining tunnel for about one month, causing major tr
Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council; the county town is Reading. The River Thames formed the historic northern boundary, from Buscot in the west to Old Windsor in the east; the historic county therefore includes territory, now administered by the Vale of White Horse and parts of South Oxfordshire in Oxfordshire, but excludes Caversham and five less populous settlements in the east of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. All the changes mentioned, apart from the change to Caversham, took place in 1974; the towns of Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage were transferred to Oxfordshire, the six places joining came from Buckinghamshire. Berkshire County Council was the main local government of most areas from 1889 to 1998 and was based in Reading, the county town which had its own County Borough administration.
Since 1998, Berkshire has been governed by the six unitary authorities of Bracknell Forest, Slough, West Berkshire and Maidenhead and Wokingham. The ceremonial county borders Oxfordshire, Greater London, Surrey and Hampshire. No part of the county is more than 8.5 miles from the M4 motorway. According to Asser's biography of King Alfred, written in 893 AD, its old name Bearrocscir takes its name from a wood of box trees, called Bearroc; this wood no longer extant, was west of Frilsham, near Abingdon. Berkshire has been the scene of some notable battles through its history. Alfred the Great's campaign against the Danes included the Battles of Englefield and Reading. Newbury was the site of two English Civil War battles: the First Battle of Newbury in 1643 and the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644; the nearby Donnington Castle was reduced to a ruin in the aftermath of the second battle. Another Battle of Reading took place on 9 December 1688, it was the only substantial military action in England during the Glorious Revolution and ended in a decisive victory for forces loyal to William of Orange.
Reading became the new county town in 1867. Under the Local Government Act 1888, Berkshire County Council took over functions of the Berkshire Quarter Sessions, covering the administrative county of Berkshire, which excluded the county borough of Reading. Boundary alterations in the early part of the 20th century were minor, with Caversham from Oxfordshire becoming part of the Reading county borough, cessions in the Oxford area. On 1 April 1974, Berkshire's boundaries changed under the Local Government Act 1972. Berkshire took over administration of Slough and Eton and part of the former Eton Rural District from Buckinghamshire; the northern part of the county became part of Oxfordshire, with Faringdon and Abingdon and their hinterland becoming the Vale of White Horse district, Didcot and Wallingford added to South Oxfordshire district. 94 Signal Squadron still keep the Uffington White Horse in their insignia though the White Horse is now in Oxfordshire. The original Local Government White Paper would have transferred Henley-on-Thames from Oxfordshire to Berkshire: this proposal did not make it into the Bill as introduced.
On 1 April 1998 Berkshire County Council was abolished under a recommendation of the Banham Commission, the districts became unitary authorities. Unlike similar reforms elsewhere at the same time, the non-metropolitan county was not abolished. Signs saying "Welcome to the Royal County of Berkshire" exist on borders of West Berkshire, on the east side of Virginia Water, on the M4 motorway, on the south side of Sonning Bridge, on the A404 southbound by Marlow, northbound on the A33 past Stratfield Saye. A flag for the historic county of Berkshire was registered with the Flag Institute in 2017. All of the county is drained by the Thames. Berkshire divides into two topological sections: west of Reading. North-east Berkshire has the low calciferous m-shaped bends of the Thames south of, a broader, gravelly former watery plain or belt from Earley to Windsor and beyond, are parcels and belts of uneroded higher sands, flints and acid soil and in north of the Bagshot Formation, north of Surrey and Hampshire.
Swinley Forest known as Bracknell Forest, Windsor Great Park and Stratfield Saye Woods have many pine, silver birch and other acid-soil trees. East of the grassy and wooded bends a large minority of East Berkshire's land mirrors the clay belt being of low elevation and on the left bank of the Thames: Slough, Eton Wick, Wraysbury and Datchet. In the heart of the county Reading's northern suburb Caversham is on that bank but rises steeply into the Chiltern Hills. Two main tributaries skirt past Reading, the Loddon and its sub-tributary the Blackwater draining parts of two counties south and the Kennet draining part of upland Wiltshire in the west. Heading west the reduced, but large, part of county becomes further from the Thames which flows from the north-north-west before the Goring Gap. To the south, the land crests along the bo
The A30 is a major road in England, running WSW from London to Land's End. It is 284 miles long; the length of the road was a principal axis in Britain from the 17th century to early 19th century, when it was a major coaching route. It used to provide the fastest route from London to the South West by land until a century before roads were numbered; the road has kept its principal status in the west from Honiton, Devon to Land's End where it is dual carriageway and retains trunk road status. The A30 begins at Henlys Roundabout, it runs south of the Southern Perimeter Road, Heathrow Airport and north of Ashford and Staines-upon-Thames, before reaching the M25 motorway orbital motorway. This first section is dual carriageway. Taken with the A4, its natural continuation which nearby becomes non-dualled towards the M25, the section constitutes one of five routes into the southern half of London which reach Inner London with at least a dual-carriageway, the others being the A3, the M3, the M20 and A2, however one mile before reaching Inner London it is combined with the London variants of the M3 and M4 approaches.
After running astride the M25 to cross the Thames on a bridge designed by Lutyens, the Runnymede Bridge, the A30 runs parallel to but distant from the M3 until southwest of Basingstoke, bypassing Egham and passing through heathland and Sunningdale, Bagshot bypass, Camberley where the route mirrors the Devil's Highway, a stone street to Calleva Atrebatum, believed to be older still passes close to Hook town centre and in the surrounding country the soil is arable. After the 1930's Basingstoke bypass, the M3 changes direction the A303 takes over for 2 miles the A30 losing continuity. From Sutton Scotney village the A30 runs parallel to the latter road as-the-crow-flies 85 miles to north-east of Honiton, Devon passing through towns Stockbridge and its trout fishing centres, Sherborne, Yeovil and Chard. Between Stockbridge and Shaftesbury it enters the cathedral city of Salisbury. Between the M25 and Honiton, the A30 is single carriageway, carrying local traffic with short stretches of dual carriageway from Camberley to Basingstoke, which has a dualled inner ring road, two between Stockbridge and Salisbury, between Sherborne and Yeovil.
This section is a trunk road as far as Penzance. It is dual carriageway, but there are some short sections of single carriageway. To pass Exeter, through traffic can join the M5 motorway for three miles. West of Exeter, the A30 is dual carriageway through Devon and into Cornwall, bypassing Whiddon Down and Launceston; the dual carriageway continues through Cornwall to Carland Cross, after which there is a single carriageway stretch to Chiverton Cross. Highways England are progressing plans to dual this section of carriageway. A Preferred Route Announcement was made July 2017 and an application for a Development Consent Order was accepted for examination in September 2018. Construction is due to start in 2020. From Chiverton Cross, the dual carriageway bypasses Camborne; the A30 returns to single carriageway west of Camborne, a mid-1980s bypass takes the road around Hayle. Between Hayle and Penzance, the A30 returns to the original route and it passes through several villages. Approaching Penzance, the A30 becomes a dual carriageway once again.
Once west of Penzance, the A30 becomes a more rural road running through or past several villages, before terminating at Land's End. The bulk of the A30 follows the historic London – Land's End coaching road; the road appeared on John Ogilby's map of Britain in 1675, was covered by Ogilby's strip-maps showing "The Road from London to The Land's End in Cornwall". The coaching route started at Hyde Park Corner, closer to the centre of London than the modern A30 mirroring the modern route as far as Exeter, except for three sections, the longest being the westernmost. Knightsbridge to Bedfont, the intermittent A315 in today's numbering. Basingstoke to Salisbury via Andover Exeter to Penzance via Ashburton and following the Cornish south coast via St Austell. Ogilby described it as "The Post-Office making this one of their Principal Roads" and thought the section through Surrey and Hampshire was "in general a good Road with suitable Entertainment", it is described as the "Great Road to Land's End" in the Magna Britannia, published in the early 19th century.
As the coaching road to Land's End was a major route, it was a popular place for highwaymen. William Davies known as the Golden Farmer, robbed several coaches travelling across Bagshot Heath, he was hanged in 1689 at a gallows at the local gibbet hill between Camberley. The Jolly Farmer pub was built near the site of a junction. At the turn of the 19th century, William Hanning created the "New Direct Road", a fast coaching route between London and Exeter; the road deviated from Ogilby's route running via Amesbury and Ilminster, rejoining the older road at Honiton. It became popular with postal services such as The Subscription. In 1831, a race was held between London and Exeter via the New Direct Road, which resulted in a dead heat. 170 miles were covered compared to a typical early 18th century time of four days. In response to the competition of routes, a new turnpike road was built west of Chard, avoiding the historic route to Honiton via Stockland, with several steep
The A40 is a major trunk road connecting London to Goodwick and called The London to Fishguard Trunk Road in all legal documents and Acts. It is 260 miles long, it is one of the few "old" trunk routes not to have been superseded by a direct motorway link. The southern section from Denham, Buckinghamshire to Oxford is now better served by the M40. Part of the A40 forms a section of the unsigned Euroroute E30, which the former Welsh Assembly Government referred to as "one of the lowest standard sections of the Trans European Road Network in the United Kingdom" The original route of the A40 was the City of London to Fishguard; the road still begins and ends in the same places, but a number of changes have been made to its route. The first change dates between Ross-on-Wye and Abergavenny; the original route of the A40 was via Skenfrith. The A40 was rerouted via Raglan. Subsequently, the A40 was rerouted within west London. Western Avenue dates from the 1930s, but was opened as the A403. After the Second World War, the A40 was rerouted along part of the Western Avenue.
The old route was renumbered the A4020. For the A40 in London, see A40 road. In central London it is High Holborn and Oxford Street. At Marble Arch it joins the A5 Edgware Road as far as the Marylebone Flyover to become Westway, it takes the A40 to meet Western Avenue. For the greater part, this section is six lanes, otherwise four lanes. With two exceptions, Western Avenue forms a grade-separated motorway standard dual-carriageway between Paddington and the M40 motorway; the two at-grade intersections are Savoy Circus. At Denham Roundabout, the six lane Western Avenue flows into the M40; the A40 branches off the Denham roundabout to run as a dual carriageway. After the junction with the A413, the A40 follows the same route as the M40 as a single carriageway, passing through Beaconsfield and High Wycombe. Beyond Stokenchurch the road is much quieter. Approaching Oxford, the A40 becomes a busy dual carriageway, carrying traffic from the M40 to Oxford and beyond; the route forms the eastern section of the Oxford ring road, crossing the A44 and A34.
After the road passes under the A34, the A40 reverts to single carriageway for 10 miles. It turns to dual carriageway again to form the Witney bypass, with a grade-separated junction; the dual carriageway finishes at a roundabout. For the rest of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire until Cheltenham, other than for a few short stretches, the road is single carriageway; this section has the highest point of the entire A40, 250 m above sea level, located 5 km west of the A429 junction. Before Andoversford the A436 breaks off to the west to try to take traffic away from descending into the centre of Cheltenham itself; the road travels through Cheltenham town centre along at least two parallel routes. Becoming a dual carriageway, it passes GCHQ in Cheltenham and the three-level stacked roundabout junction with the M5 motorway. In February 2015, the Witney Oxford Transport Group proposed the reopening of Yarnton railway station as an alternative to improvements to the A40 road proposed by Oxfordshire County Council.
The A40 is the Gloucester bypass, most of, dual carriageway. The junction with the A48 to Chepstow is at Highnam. For the remainder of Gloucestershire, a part of Herefordshire, the road is single carriageway until Ross-on-Wye, it connects with the M50 motorway, forms part of the high quality dual carriageway between South Wales and the West Midlands. In Monmouthshire, the A40 has a grade separated junction with the A449, which continues as dual carriageway to Newport and the M4; the A40 travels west, still as dual carriageway, to Abergavenny. Beyond Abergavenny, the road returns to single carriageway, running through the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park until Brecon; the section between Abergavenny and Brecon has one of the highest points of the A40, 200 metres above sea level and is located at Bwlch, Welsh for'pass'. The Brecon Bypass is a short trafficked dual carriageway which runs around the south of the town. At the end of the Brecon bypass the roads returns to a single carriageway and follows the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons until Llandeilo.
The A40 continues to Carmarthen where as a dual carriageway it forms the eastern bypass, meeting the terminus of the A48 at Pensarn. At Carmarthen the A40 crosses the River Tywi twice with two 90-degree junctions and continues to St Clears on 10 miles of dual carriageway. Thereafter, the road is a mixture of 3 lane single-carriageway until Fishguard; this section of road is controlled by the Welsh Assembly Government, which describes it as "one of the lowest standard sections of the Trans European Road Network in the United Kingdom". St Clears to Haverfordwest dualling There were plans in 2002 for a major improvement of the 23-mile stretch between St Clears and Haverfordwest which included upgrading to a dual carriageway.
The A419 road is a primary route between Chiseldon near Swindon at junction 15 of the M4 with the A346 road, Whitminster in Gloucestershire, England near the M5 motorway. The A419 is managed and maintained by a private company, Road Management Group, on behalf of the UK Department for Transport. From the M4 to Cirencester it is a dual carriageway road, which follows the course of the Roman road Ermin Way, but dualling work completed in the late 1990s, the bypass of Cirencester, has taken it off-course in some places. East of Cirencester the A417 continues straight ahead as the major road and the A419 separates through Cirencester and Stroud, becoming single carriageway. West of Cirencester the road loses its primary status; the A419 Road Bridge is a modern bridge carrying the Cricklade by-pass section of the A419 across the River Thames in the county of Wiltshire. The bridge is just east of the town and is a concrete construction carrying a dual carriageway, built as part of the two-mile £2.4m Blunsdon-Cricklade Improvement which opened in June 1988.
When it was first designated in 1922, the A419 ran from Berkshire, to Gloucester. Before the war, the section from Cirencester to Gloucester was renumbered the A417, the A419 was extended from Cirencester to Stroud and on part of the route of the former A434 through Stonehouse to a junction with the A38 at Hardwicke, just south of Gloucester. Following the opening of the M4 motorway, the section from Hungerford to Commonhead was downclassified to the B4192; the old lay-bys remain. The road was extended south from Commonhead for 0.8 miles to the M4 on the route of the old A345. When the M5 motorway was opened, the road was rerouted west of Stroud. A new alignment, known as the Ebley by-pass, was built south of the old route from Cainscross to a point just south of Stonehouse, from there the road was rerouted on the former line of the A4096 to Eastington, to the M5 and the A38 at Whitminster; the old route became the B4008. The 3-mile £4m Stratton St. Margaret Bypass opened in October 1977, the 2-mile £2.4m Blunsdon-Cricklade Improvement opened in June 1988 and the 4-mile Latton Bypass opened on 24 December 1997.
The major bottleneck in Swindon at Blunsdon traffic lights and the nearby Turnpike roundabout, where local traffic mixes with through traffic for the M4 and the Cotswolds has been addressed. Construction of a bypass at Blunsdon commenced on 13 September 2006, was completed in February 2009, although the new dual two-lane carriageway was open by January 2009. A flyover at Commonhead, the main junction for southeast Swindon and another notorious source of congestion, was opened to traffic on 6 February 2007. Parts of the newly dualled sections of road are surfaced in concrete, unusual in the UK; the high tyre noise generated by this surface is unpopular with nearby residents. The Golden Valley Line – a railway line serving a similar route Crossings of the River Thames Highways Agency pages: A419/A417 Route Management Strategy Blunsdon Bypass Scheme Commonhead Junction Scheme SABRE page on the A417
Buckinghamshire, abbreviated Bucks, is a ceremonial county in South East England which borders Greater London to the south east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, Bedfordshire to the north east and Hertfordshire to the east. Buckinghamshire is one of the home counties and towns such as High Wycombe, Amersham and the Chalfonts in the east and southeast of the county are parts of the London commuter belt, forming some of the most densely populated parts of the county. Development in this region is restricted by the Metropolitan Green Belt. Other large settlements include the county town of Aylesbury, Marlow in the south near the Thames and Princes Risborough in the west near Oxford; some areas without direct rail links to London, such as around the old county town of Buckingham and near Olney in the northeast, are much less populous. The largest town is Milton Keynes in the northeast, which with the surrounding area is administered as a unitary authority separately to the rest of Buckinghamshire.
The remainder of the county is administered by Buckinghamshire County Council as a non-metropolitan county, four district councils. In national elections, Buckinghamshire is considered a reliable supporter of the Conservative Party. A large part of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, runs through the south of the county and attracts many walkers and cyclists from London. In this area older buildings are made from local flint and red brick. Many parts of the county are quite affluent and like many areas around London this has led to problems with housing costs: several reports have identified the market town of Beaconsfield as having among the highest property prices outside London. Chequers, a mansion estate owned by the government, is the country retreat of the incumbent Prime Minister. To the north of the county lies rolling countryside in the Vale of Aylesbury and around the Great Ouse; the Thames forms part of the county’s southwestern boundary. Notable service amenities in the county are Pinewood Film Studios, Dorney rowing lake and part of Silverstone race track on the Northamptonshire border.
Many national companies have offices in Milton Keynes. Heavy industry and quarrying is limited, with agriculture predominating after service industries; the name Buckinghamshire means The district of Bucca's home. Bucca's home refers to Buckingham in the north of the county, is named after an Anglo-Saxon landowner; the county has been so named since about the 12th century. The history of the area predates the Anglo-Saxon period and the county has a rich history starting from the Celtic and Roman periods, though the Anglo-Saxons had the greatest impact on Buckinghamshire: the geography of the rural county is as it was in the Anglo-Saxon period. Buckinghamshire became an important political arena, with King Henry VIII intervening in local politics in the 16th century and just a century the English Civil War was reputedly started by John Hampden in mid-Bucks; the biggest change to the county came in the 19th century, when a combination of cholera and famine hit the rural county, forcing many to migrate to larger towns to find work.
Not only did this alter the local economic situation, it meant a lot of land was going cheap at a time when the rich were more mobile and leafy Bucks became a popular rural idyll: an image it still has today. Buckinghamshire is a popular home for London commuters, leading to greater local affluence; the expansion of London and coming of the railways promoted the growth of towns in the south of the county such as Aylesbury and High Wycombe, leaving the town Buckingham itself to the north in a relative backwater. As a result, most county institutions are now based in the south of the county or Milton Keynes, rather than in Buckingham; the county can be split into two sections geographically. The south leads from the River Thames up the gentle slopes of the Chiltern Hills to the more abrupt slopes on the northern side leading to the Vale of Aylesbury, a large flat expanse of land, which includes the path of the River Great Ouse; the county includes parts of two of the four longest rivers in England.
The River Thames forms the southern boundary with Berkshire, which has crept over the border at Eton and Slough so that the river is no longer the sole boundary between the two counties. The River Great Ouse rises just outside the county in Northamptonshire and flows east through Buckingham, Milton Keynes and Olney; the main branch of the Grand Union Canal passes through the county as do its arms to Slough, Aylesbury and Buckingham. The canal has been incorporated into the landscaping of Milton Keynes; the southern part of the county is dominated by the Chiltern Hills. The two highest points in Buckinghamshire are Haddington Hill in Wendover Woods at 267 metres above sea level, Coombe Hill near Wendover at 260 metres. Quarrying has taken clay for brickmaking and gravel and sand in the river valleys. Flint extracted from quarries, was used to build older local buildings. Several former quarries, now flooded, have become nature reserves; as can be seen from the table, the Vale of Aylesbury and the Borough of Milton Keynes have been identified as growth areas, with a projected population surge of 40,000 in Aylesbury Vale between 2011 and 2026 and 75,000 in Milton Keynes within the same 15 years.
The population of the Borough of Milton Keynes is expected to reach 350,000 by 2031. Buckinghamshire is sub-divided into civil parishes. Today Bucking