Leicestershire (abbreviation Leics.) is a landlocked county in central England. It takes its name from the heavily populated City of Leicester, traditionally its administrative centre, although the City of Leicester unitary authority is today administered separately from the rest of Leicestershire. The county borders onto Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Lincolnshire, and Northamptonshire. The border with Warwickshire is Watling Street (the A5).
County Hall, situated in Glenfield, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Leicester city centre, is the seat of Leicestershire County Council and the headquarters of the county authority. The City of Leicester is administered from offices in Leicester itself and the City Council meets at Leicester Town Hall.
The River Soar rises to the east of Hinckley, in the far south of the county, and flows northward through Leicester before emptying into the River Trent at the point where Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire meet. A large part of the northwest of the county, around Coalville, forms part of the new National Forest area extending into Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The highest point of the county is Bardon Hill at 278 m/912 ft, which is also a Marilyn.
As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Foxglove as the county flower.
Leicestershire was recorded in the Domesday Book in four wapentakes: Guthlaxton, Framland, Goscote and Gartree. These later became hundreds, with the division of Goscote into West Goscote and East Goscote, and the addition of Sparkenhoe hundred. In 1087, the first recorded use of the name was as Laegrecastrescir.
Leicestershire's external boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. The Measham-Donisthorpe exclave of Derbyshire has been exchanged for the Netherseal area, and the urban expansion of Market Harborough has caused Little Bowden, previously in Northamptonshire to be annexed.
In 1974 , the Local Government Act 1972 abolished the county borough status of Leicester city and the county status of neighbouring Rutland, converting both to administrative districts of Leicestershire. These actions were reversed on 1 April 1997, when Rutland and the City of Leicester became unitary authorities. Rutland became a distinct Ceremonial County once again, although it continues to be policed by Leicestershire Constabulary.
The symbol of the county council, and Leicester City FC, is the fox. Leicestershire is considered to be the birthplace of fox hunting as it is known today. Hugo Meynell, who lived in Quorn, is known as the father of fox hunting. Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough have associations with fox hunting, as has neighbouring Rutland.
Stilton (cheese), Red Leicester cheese, and the Pork pie are three of Leicestershire's most famous contributions to English cuisine.
The annual East Midlands Food & Drink Festival held in Melton Mowbray had over 200 exhibitors and 20,000 visitors attending in 2007 making it the largest British regional food festival.
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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