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The Preserved counties of Wales are the current areas used in Walesmarker for the ceremonial purposes of Lieutenancy and Shrievalty. They are based on the counties created by the Local Government Act 1972 and used for local government and other purposes between 1974 and 1996.


The Local Government Act 1994 abolished the eight ceremonial counties created by the Local Government Act 1972. However, it created the concept of preserved counties based on their areas, to be used for purposes such as Lieutenancy. This usage was consolidated by the Lieutenancies Act 1997

In addition to these two ceremonial functions, the Boundary Commission should try to avoid crossing preserved county borders when drawing up Parliamentary constituencies, where practicable.

Certain statutes already in force were amended to include reference to them - as of 2009, the only remaining provisions still extant are:

  • The Sheriffs Act 1887 - The counties that High Sheriffs are appointed to are the preserved counties.
  • The Defence Act 1842 - Lord Lieutenants refer to preserved counties.
  • The Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 - Relevant portions of the sea shore shall be deemed to be within preserved counties.
  • The Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 - No preserved county or any part of a preserved county shall be included in a constituency which includes the whole or part of any other preserved county.

Boundary changes

The preserved counties were originally almost identical to the 1974–1996 counties, but with a few minor changes intended to ensure preserved counties were composed of whole principal areas. Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnantmarker, Llansilinmarker and Llangedwynmarker were transferred from Clwyd to Powysmarker, and Wickmarker, St Brides Major, Ewennymarker and Pentyrchmarker were transferred from Mid Glamorgan to South Glamorgan. However, these changes still left two county boroughs, Conwy and Caerphilly split between preserved counties.

In order to rectify this, the National Assembly for Wales made two changes of substance to the boundaries. These changes came into effect on 2 April 2003. The part of the local government area of Conwy which had been in Gwyneddmarker was transferred to Clwyd, and the part of the local government area of Caerphilly which had been in Mid Glamorgan was transferred to Gwent. The boundary between Mid Glamorgan and South Glamorgan was also re-aligned to reflect small changes in local government boundaries. Each preserved county now encompasses between one and five whole local government areas.

List of Preserved Counties

The population figures are mid-year estimates for 2007 from the Office for National Statistics, grouping component unitary authority area figures into their respective preserved counties [44474].

Name Comprises Area (km²) Population
Clwyd Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham 2,910 491,100
Dyfed Carmarthenshiremarker, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshiremarker 5,780 375,200
Gwent Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Newportmarker 1,553 560,500
Gwyneddmarker Angleseymarker, Gwyneddmarker 3,262 187,400
Mid Glamorgan Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfilmarker, Rhondda Cynon Taff 781 423,200
Powysmarker Powysmarker 5,196 132,000
South Glamorgan Cardiffmarker, Vale of Glamorganmarker 475 445,000
West Glamorgan Neath Port Talbot, Swanseamarker 820 365,500

See also


  1. Lieutenancies Act 1997 (c. 23)
  2. Review of Preserved County Boundaries Final Proposals - Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales
  3. Preserved Counties (Amendment to Boundaries) (Wales) Order 2003

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