Malmesbury Community Area covers 245km2 of mainly rural countryside in the north-west of Wiltshire. It is dominated by one major settlement, the ancient market town of Malmesbury.
Malmesbury as a town sits on an easily defended hill in a bend of the River Avon and can trace its civic status back to the days of King Alfred who is reported to have granted a charter for the town as early as 880. The town is characteristic of many market towns in Wiltshire which had their heyday during the 16th century with the booming woollen trade.
The surrounding area is one of small villages and farms and is very rural in nature. There are 20 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.
Today Malmesbury is a popular commuter town with easy access to Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Gloucester. Although the town provides a range of shops and facilities, the nearby towns of Chippenham and Cirencester provide local alternatives. Swindon with its large retail centre is only 35 minutes away by car.