Portal:Hertfordshire/Selected article

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Hertfordshire is an English county forged in the Norse–Saxon wars of the ninth century and developed through commerce serving London. It is a land-locked county in the heart of England, well-protected from invasion, though it certainly saw battles during the various English and British civil wars, and action in its skies during the two world wars. Nowadays, with a population slightly over 1 million, it retains much of its historic character, but its industry and commerce have changed radically.

Although Hertfordshire is numbered among the historic counties of England, it was not created until the early tenth century. Since then, its development has been intimately tied with that of London, which lies on its southern border. London is easily the largest city in Western Europe; it requires an enormous tonnage of supplies each day and Hertfordshire grew wealthy on the proceeds of trade because no less than three of the old Roman roads serving the capital run through it, as do the Grand Union Canal and other watercourses.

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As of 2009, there are 43 sites of Special Scientific Interest in Hertfordshire. 28 of these have been designated for their biological interest, six for their geological interest, and nine for both biological and geological interest. One such site is Oddy Hill and Tring Park, shown opposite. Despite being home to over 1,000,000 people, Hertfordshire is a predominantly rural county, and as a result there is a wide diversity in the SSIs in the county. An example of a biological site of interest is Whippendell Wood, located near to Cassiobury Park and The Grove, Watford. Other sites of interest in the county include Sawbridgeworth Marsh, Ashwell Springs, Thorley Flood Pound, Croxley Common Moor and the Castle Lime Works Quarry.
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Watford Football Club are an association football team based in south west Hertfordshire, at a stadium called Vicarage Road. The club has a tradition of allowing its fans to vote for their Player of the Season, which dates back to Elton John's first involvement with the club in 1973. As of 2012 thirty different players have won the award, including David James, Robert Page, John McClelland, Heiðar Helguson and Marlon King, who have had international careers with England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Jamaica respectively. Other notable winners include Tony Coton, the only player ever to have won the award three times, Nigel Gibbs, who spent the entirety of his twenty year professional career at Watford, and Les Taylor, who captained the club in the 1984 FA Cup Final.
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Hertfordshire is an English county forged in the Norse–Saxon wars of the ninth century and developed through commerce serving London. It is a land-locked county in the heart of England, well-protected from invasion, though it certainly saw battles during the various English and British civil wars, and action in its skies during the two world wars. Nowadays, with a population slightly over 1 million, it retains much of its historic character, but its industry and commerce have changed radically.

Although Hertfordshire is numbered among the historic counties of England, it was not created until the early tenth century. Since then, its development has been intimately tied with that of London, which lies on its southern border. London is easily the largest city in Western Europe; it requires an enormous tonnage of supplies each day and Hertfordshire grew wealthy on the proceeds of trade because no less than three of the old Roman roads serving the capital run through it, as do the Grand Union Canal and other watercourses.

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Despite Hertfordshire having a population of 1,058,600 within an area of 1,634 km2 (403,770.2 acres), almost two-thirds of the county is rural. As of 2010, there are 43 sites of Special Scientific Interest in the county. Twenty-eight of these have been designated for their biological interest, six for their geological interest, and nine for both biological and geological interest. In England, the body responsible for designating SSSIs is Natural England, which chooses sites because of their flora, fauna, geological or physiographical features. Natural England took over the role of designating and managing SSSIs from English Nature in October 2006 when it was formed from the amalgamation of English Nature, parts of the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service. One such site is Therfield Heath (pictured), near Royston.
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London Country North East was a bus operator in South East England and London. It was formed from the split of London Country Bus Services in 1986 and operated a fleet of around 350 buses from six garages. Despite the name suggesting otherwise, Hertfordshire was integral to the company's operations; it was headquartered in Hatfield, had garages in Hatfield, Hertford, Stevenage and St Albans, and operated bus routes across Hertfordshire, including the relatively urban western part of the county.

The company was formed in 1986 as a publicly owned company, as one of 72 subsidiaries of National Bus Company. It retained much of the stock previously used on its routes, including Leyland Atlanteans (pictured). London Country Bus Services was the last subsidiary to be privatised, being sold to AJS Group in April 1988. Later in the same year it was split into County Bus & Coach and Sovereign Bus & Coach. Its former operations are now provided by Arriva East Herts & Essex and Uno.

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Hertfordshire's representation in the British Parliament can be traced back to the thirteenth century, during the reign of King Edward I of England. By 1307 the county had six representatives; two for the entire county, and two each for St Albans and Hertford. Parliament's role changed steadily over the following centuries, from a body that acted in an advisory role to the English monarch, to a legislative body in its own right. However, Hertfordshire's representation within it remained constant for over 500 years.

By the 19th century it became clear that the national constituency boundaries were in need of reform to reflect the rapidly changing demographics of the country. One of Hertford's Members of Parliament immediately prior to the 1885 Redistribution of Seats Act was Arthur Balfour, who later went on to become Prime Minister. The act divided Hertfordshire into the four constituencies of Hertford, Hitchin, St Albans and Watford. Significant reform of British politics continued in the 20th century, and by 1983 Hertfordshire had 11 constituencies. As of the 2010 election, all of Hertfordshire's eleven MPs are Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats finished second in seven constituencies, while Labour finished second in the remaining four.

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