South Yorkshire is a metropolitan county in England. It is the southernmost county in the Yorkshire and the Humber region and had a population of 1.34 million in 2011. It has an area of 1,552 square kilometres and consists of four metropolitan boroughs, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. South Yorkshire was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972.
Lying on the east side of the Pennines, South Yorkshire is landlocked, and borders Derbyshire to the west and southwest, West Yorkshire to the north-west, North Yorkshire to the north, the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north-east, Lincolnshire to the east and Nottinghamshire to the south-east. The Sheffield Urban Area is the tenth most populous conurbation in the UK, and dominates the western half of South Yorkshire with over half of the county's population living within it. South Yorkshire lies within the Sheffield City Region.
South Yorkshire County Council was abolished in 1986 and its metropolitan boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities, although the metropolitan county continues to exist in law. As a ceremonial county, South Yorkshire has a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff.
South Yorkshire was created from 32 local government districts of the West Riding of Yorkshire (the administrative county and four independent county boroughs), with small areas from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
The county borders Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. The metropolitan county lies largely on the carboniferous rocks of the Yorkshire coalfield which have produced a rolling landscape with hills, escarpments and broad valleys. In this landscape there is widespread evidence of both current and former industrial activity. There are numerous mine buildings, former spoil heaps and iron and steel plants. The scenery is a mixture of built up areas, industrial land with some dereliction, and farmed open country. Ribbon developments along transport routes including canal, road and rail are prominent features of the area although some remnants of the pre industrial landscape and semi-natural vegetation still survive. The west of the county is fringed by the Pennines and its foothills, most of which lie inside the Peak District National Park and also contain carboniferous rocks, with the underlying geology primarily being millstone grit sandstones rising from the Yorkshire coalfield. The Pennine range within the county is distinguished by the moorlands and plateaus of the Dark Peak while the Pennine fringes are distinguished by many steep valleys, and a transition from uplands and rural landscape to lowlands and urban landscape towards the east of the county.
Major rivers which cross the area are the Dearne, Rother and Don. To the east, in the Doncaster area the landscape becomes flatter as the eastward dipping carboniferous rocks of the coalfield are overlain by the lacustrine deposits of the Humberhead Levels. There is very little evidence of glaciation in the area as it lies largely beyond the limit of the last glaciation.
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