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Worcestershire is a mixture of the very rural and the very urban. It is low-lying; much of it lies in the Severn Valley, between Shropshire and Gloucestershire. To the east is Warwickshire and to the west Herefordshire. The boundaries of Worcestershire are remarkably ragged, with many detached parts, all thought to originate from the scattered holdings of the Bishops of Worcester. In the centre of the shire is the cathedral city of Worcester. Worcester sits on the River Severn and is dominated by its grand cathedral. In the southeast is the pleasant Vale of Evesham, presided over by Evesham, popular with visitors. In the southwest, forming the boundary with Herefordshire, are the pretty Malvern Hills, a sheer north-south edge marking the end of the gentle hills in Worcestershire before the rigours of the Herefordshire peaks. Great Malvern is a lovely spa town. The northwest of Worcestershire is a complete contrast. Here is a coal country and part of the Black Country is in Worcestershire, including Dudley, a detached part. Outside the Black Country itself are quieter towns more or less absorbed within the same unbroken townscape; Halesowen and Stourbridge. Yardley, a north-western extremity of Worcestershire has long since been absorbed into Birmingham. Outside the cityscape though there remain havens of peace in the Clent Hills and the Lickey Hills.

County Facts

County Town: Worcester

Main Towns: Bromsgrove, Droitwich, Dudley, Evesham, Great Malvern, Kidderminster, Pershore, Redditch, Stourbridge.

Main Rivers: Stour, Severn, Terne, Avon.

Highlights: Bourneville; Broadway; Malvern Hills; Severn Valley Railway; Worcester Cathedral.

Highest Point: Worcestershire Beacon, 1395 feet.

Area: 738 sq miles

County Flower: Cowlsip