Warminster is an important service centre for its large rural catchment of villages stretching along the Deverill Valley to the south, the Wylye Valley to the south east, the Longleat estate to the west and the fringes to Salisbury Plain to the north and east.
Warminster is home to a major military garrison, which uses Salisbury Plain as a training area. The effects of this can be felt not only by the immediate impact of a visiting regiment, but also by the tendency of many military personnel to make the town their home on retirement.
Some manufacturing still takes place in the town and there are small industrial sites across the community area. However the town has become largely dependent on the service sector with many people commuting in excess of an hour in each direction. A major feature of the shopping environment is a concentration of antiques and collectibles shops and there is also a weekly open-air market and regular Farmers’ Market in the town.
The Warminster Community Area is the location of many areas of protected land and AONB. The Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs form the southern part of the area and the Salisbury Plain Special Protection Area of Conservation borders the north. There are also 9 sites of special scientific interest and over 120 wildlife sites. The use of Salisbury Plan by the military has preserved it as the largest single expanse of unaltered chalk downland in Europe with evidence of human occupation for circa 5,000 years. The area also has more Iron Age hill-forts than anywhere else in Europe, with Cley Hill, Arn Hill, Copheap, Battlesbury Hill and Scratchbury Hill surrounding the town.