Wiltshire North is situated on the edge of the Cotswolds, which reach into the western and northern ends of the constituency. It is bordered in the east by the chalk hills of the Marlborough Downs and Swindon.
There is significant manufacturing industry here, especially in the food and engineering sectors. The main centres of activity are Chippenham, Corsham and Malmesbury. In the rural areas the closure of military bases and the decline of agriculture is being compensated for by the growth of tourism.
In 1997, the Conservatives were returned once again to this seat but this time represented by James Gray with a 3,475 vote majority. He succeeded Richard Needham, the MP for this constituency since its creation and for its predecessor, Chippenham, since 1979.
Although the Conservatives saw a 12.4% drop in their share of the vote the Liberal Democrats failed to win here at a time when many west of England seats were falling to them.