Welcome to Cheshire.org.uk
A setting of pastoral peacefulness, of traditional farming and numerous country events, Cheshire borders the North West of England and West Midlands to the east, and northern Wales to the west. According to archaeological discoveries, the region has been inhabited since the Hoxnian Interglacial and was in turn occupied by Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans, much like its neighbouring territories. It was originally known as the County of Chester, which was later changed to Chestershire and gradually evolved into its current form. Today it is known as a ceremonial county, which differs from others in terms of local administration.
Cheshire is a low, predominantly rural area, known for the prevalence of agricultural activities. Once shaped by the retreat of glaciers, its landscape boasts wide pastures and mineral resources, such as sandstone and salt. The county is currently divided into four administrative constituencies known as unitary administrative areas: Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Warrington and Halton.
Its cities and towns, lively and intensely visited, are highly evocative of past eras by preserving historic sites and exploiting their touristic potential. With its sandstone walls and sash windows, traditional architecture is omnipresent; nowadays it is increasingly valued, as efforts are being made to preserve it.
Cheshire's progress through the ages abounds in political struggles and territorial changes. During Norman occupation it included areas which are now part of Wales; overtime parts of it were also transferred to Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester. Its Roman heritage is mainly centred in Chester, which was an important outpost of the Roman Empire for two centuries, referred to as Castra Deva, roughly translated as ''fortress on the River Dee''. Many of Cheshire's castles were built during the Norman occupation, which was also a time of substantial economical growth as many towns were granted market status. Since then, agriculture has remained the area's most lucrative source of revenue.
Internationally, the county is well known for its history and local produce (particularly dairy products such as Cheshire cheese, considered of superior quality compared to many varieties across the UK). Also, it is commonly associated with the famous Cheshire cat, a charismatic fictional character in ''Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'', written by Lewis Carroll, who originated from Daresbury. In addition to intense and comprehensive agriculture, the region has got a rich industrial heritage, notably producing high quality silk and cotton. Moreover, it is home to many traditional events all year round (such as food and drink festivals), which, besides engaging local communities, are often attended by foreign visitors as well.
Today, Cheshire is somewhat more affluent than other areas in its vicinity, as the housing market and economical analyses have steadily confirmed. Tourism is also prominent, with a variety of heritage tours being organised around the county's many historic sites, particularly in Chester. Sightseeing tours are also popular due to the appeal of its vast rural landscapes. Its churches and cathedrals, some built as far back as a thousand years ago, regularly enjoy a large number of visitors as well.