Bishop's Cleeve

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Bishop's Cleeve
Bishop's Cleeve Church - - 1009305.jpg
Location: 51°56’51"N, 2°3’39"W
Population: 15,000  (est.)
Postcode: GL52
Local Government

Bishop's Cleeve is a village in Gloucestershire, to the north of Cheltenham. It has become urbanised with new housing estates and business parks, albeit without losing some traces of its older, rural roots.

The village sits at the foot of Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds and indeed of Gloucestershire. Bishop's Cleeve has a population of 15,000 and is surrounded by many hamlets and villages.

Bishop's Cleeve and Woodmancote as seen from Cleeve Hill
Half-timbered house in the centre of the village on Station Road

Railway past

Bishop's Cleeve was once served by a railway line, a relative latecomer in British railway history, opened on 1 June 1906 by the Great Western Railway and running from Stratford-upon-Avon to Cheltenham, part of a main line from Birmingham to the South West and South Wales. Bishop's Cleeve railway station along with almost all others on this section closed on 7 March 1960 and was subsequently demolished, but the nearby Cheltenham Racecourse railway station remained in operation for royal visits to Cheltenham Racecourse until 1965; through passenger services continued until 25 March 1968, and goods until 1976 when a derailment (railway accident) at Broadway damaged the line.

With the damage done, it was decided not to bring the section back into use and by 1980 the entire line had been dismantled. However the 12 mlies of track between Laverton and Cheltenham Racecourse had since been reconstructed, reopened and preserved as a heritage railway; the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.

Bishop's Cleeve was also served, though less well, by a station, called Cleeve railway station, on the present Birmingham to Bristol main line about a mile and a half to the west, but this station closed on 20 February 1950.

Bishop's Cleeve is bordered by the village of Woodmancote to the east, the former Great Western railway line dividing the two parishes. In November 2012, the population of Bishop's Cleeve was approximately 15,000.


In 2010, the development of 450 houses began at Homelands Farm, with the developers, Comparo, wanting to build an extra 550 houses on top of this. This was rejected by Tewkesbury Borough Council in 2007, but the developers appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government about the decision, which triggered a full planning inquiry. The main concerns stated were the strain on the local infrastructure it would create, and that the site is prone to flooding. Tewkesbury Borough Council persevered to stop the developments from being built. But in 2013 the Secretary of State upheld the appeal, so 550 dwellings are to be built in the north-west of Bishop's Cleeve and a further 500 dwellings between Gotherington and Cleeve. Within the accepted developments there are many more shops, sports facilities such as a gym, swimming pool or other entertainment sports and plans for a 'mega surgery'. Once the development goes ahead Bishop's Cleeve will soon become overwhelmingly bigger than Tewkesbury, which is the Borough Town.

There are future plans for Gloucestershire Police to build a new 'Police HQ' in Bishop's Cleeve near GE Aviation. This would benefit the village after the closure of the police station in 2012 to make way for a small housing development on Cheltenham Road. Recently old garages on the Smith's Estate in Bishop's Cleeve are being demolished to make way for more houses and make the surrounding area more appealing.

Local shops and businesses

There is a large industrial estate with many employers as well as a gym and other facilities. There is also a large business HQ shared by Capita and Zurich behind Grangefield School.

GE Aviation also own a large collection of industrial buildings to the west of the A-road through the village. As well as GE there are many hangars used by companies for helicopter construction and flying; these are especially used during the races in Cheltenham.

Sport & leisure

  • Football: Bishop's Cleeve FC,and Bishop's Cleeve Colts FC youth football
  • Rugby: North Cheltenham RFC play at a ground to the west of the village

There is also a local sports and arts centre on Two Hedges Road which provides tarmac netball pitches, hockey pitches, astro-turf pitch, tennis courts, squash courts and a very large sports hall. There are also plans to build a swimming pool for community use. There are also two local gyms and large sports fields and plans for four football pitches in the new development to the north west of Bishop's Cleeve.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Bishop's Cleeve)