Chippenham Community Area covers 159km2 of countryside in the north west of Wiltshire. In terms of population, it is the largest community area in Wiltshire. It is dominated by the one major settlement, the historic market town of Chippenham.
The river Avon flows southwards in its broad valley through the claylands along the eastern edge of the Chippenham Community Area, and Chippenham itself was established in one of the river’s main meanders. The area surrounding Chippenham is one of small villages and farms and is very rural in nature. There are 16 parishes across the community area and no other towns. The countryside and its villages have many buildings built of the local limestone which gives the area its Cotswold character.
The population of the town has doubled since the 1960s, and is now the largest town in Wiltshire. Castle Combe, historically speaking, is an industrial medieval town, but its modern accolade of ‘the prettiest village in England’ has meant it is a tourist attraction. Elsewhere Sutton Benger, Christian Malford and Kington St Michael are medium sized villages with essential facilities. Although the town of Chippenham provides a range of shops and facilities, the nearby settlements of Bath, Bristol and Swindon provide local alternatives.