Prestwick is situated on the west coast of Scotland, on the Firth of Clyde, on the curve of Ayr bay just north of Ayr harbour, extending to Pow Burn. There is an open view to Arran in the west.
Prestwick is within the northern part i.e. the ancient division of Kyle of the area of South Ayrshire Council. The town forms a single urban area with its larger neighbour, Ayr, to the south.
The whole of Prestwick forms a single South Ayrshire Local Authority ward. Four councillors represent the ward namely Ian Cochrane (SNP), Hugh Hunter and Margaret Toner, (Conservative) and Helen Mooney, (Labour)
In parliamentary terms, Prestwick South is within Ayr Constituency for the Scottish Parliament; within Central Ayrshire for the UK Parliament; and within South of Scotland, for the European Parliament.
Prestwick had a population of 15,500 in 2001 making it the second largest settlement in South Ayrshire. The estimated population of Prestwick South is 6,800. There are no major rivers and the Pow Burn is the most significant stream.
Over the course of the late 19th, 20th and now early 21st Century, the town has grown from its’ origins, mainly in the western part of the existing urban area, eastwards and away from the seashore.
The town is overwhelmingly residential in character with the main centres of employment located on the northern and southern fringes. Prestwick International Airport and adjacent Industrial Estates are in the North of the town and the Retail Park and industrial/commercial areas along the HeathfieId Road, are in the South. The most important shopping centre is Prestwick Main Street, in the North).
The most important local centre is Prestwick Toll (in Prestwick South).
The town has 3 major golf courses, one of which is partly within Prestwick South.
The town’s major park is St Ninians, with its’ Indoor bowls centre, swimming pool, cricket ground, running track, football field and indoor tennis club, which also has a fitness centre and cafe.
To the east of the urban area but within the boundary formed by the A77, is high quality agricultural land. This is intensively farmed on an arable basis, mainly for potatoes and grain. Much of this area is covered by the Clune Wildlife site.
The overwhelming majority of Prestwick residents who are “economically active” i.e. are in a job or are seeking employment, travel out with the town to other areas while many of the jobs provided in the town/airport attract workers from other areas.
Tourism, once very important, has declined over the last 4O years or so, as Scots have chosen in increasing numbers to holiday out with the country.
Prestwick is approximately 35 miles from the regional centre, that is Glasgow and about 75 miles from the capital city Edinburgh. Kilmarnock is 10 miles to the north and lrvine approximately 11 miles to the northwest.
By road, the most important link is part carriageway/motorway, A77/M77 which runs between Glasgow and Ayr. This road forms the eastern boundary of Prestwick and is an important regional route. Access to the A77 is provided by the A79 and B743 Prestwick is on the Ayr to Glasgow railway line with a station at Prestwick Town (Prestwick North) and Prestwick Airport (Monkton Community Council). Glasgow/Prestwick International Airport is located on the northern fringes of the town within the area of Monkton Community Council.
Weather and Climate
Because of its location on the west coast, Prestwick has a marine climate with relatively cool summers and relatively mild winters. Snow is rare but more frequent in the surrounding countryside. Rainfall is experienced throughout the year although the second half of the year tends to be wetter than the first.
The highest average temperature in July and August is 17/18 degrees centigrade.