. A small, generally level county with the northern eastern part now very much Birmingham suburbia.
. The hilly, wooded parts in the northwest of the county, bordering Herefordshire and Shropshire, is all that now remains of the once mighty Wyre Forest. Further south, the central plain of the county is bordered by the sharp ridges of the Malvern Hills which are also shared with Herefordshire. North towards the conurbation of Birmingham, are the Clint and Lickey Hills.
. The richly fertile vale of the River Severn runs from north to south through the centre of the county, and towards the Gloucestershire border. The Severn is one of the largest rivers in Britain, springing from Plinlimmon in Montgomeryshire, and its two chief tributaries are the Wye and Avon: the River Avon winds across the Vale of Evesham. Bredon Hill (991 feet), described in verse by A. E. Housman, is close to this southern border.
Origin of name: From the Anglicised Latin, meaning "fort of the Wigoran".
Name first recorded: c. 1040 as Wirceastrescir.
WORCESTER Walk in meadows by the Severn under the cathedral. New Road cricket ground is said to be the prettiest in the country
BROADWAY An extraordinarily pretty place permanently overrun by tourists.
BROMSGROVE An ancient market town with elegant Gothic church. Famous for making buttons and nails.
DROITWICH Famous for its salt spring waters and for the beneficial effects of its brine baths during a cholera outbreak in 1832.
DUDLEY The "Capital of the Black Country "gets its name from a Saxon prince. Has a superb museum.
EVESHAM Named after a swineherd called Eoves who had a vision of a monastery which was subsequently built. The town of Eovesham grew up around it.
GREAT MALVERN inland resort spa now world famous for its spring water.
KIDDERMINSTER its carpets are famous for durability and brilliant colours, which may stem from properties of the Stour river on which the town stands.
PERSHORE A very ordered, neat Georgian town with pear orchards and a fine abbey.
REDDITCH A town once famous for making bicycles as well as needles and fish hooks.
STOURBRIDGE The school here boasts poet A. E. Housman, who was born at Fockbury in 1859 and educated at Stourbridge School, where he later taught for a time. The lexicographer Samuel Johnson was educated for a time at Stourbridge.
. Alvechurch . Bewdley . Hagley . Kempsey . Rednal . Rubery . Stourport-on-Severn . Tenbury Wells . Upton- upon-Severn . Yardley
Stour, Severn, Teme, Avon
Bredon Hill at 991 feet.
. Late May: Oak Apple Day Ceremony, Worcester Guildhall.
. Late June: Peace & Good Neighbourhood Dinner, Kidderminster.
. 2nd week in June: Three Counties Agricultural Show - Malvern.
. 3rd week of May to 1st week of June: Malvern Music Festival - Malvern.
. Pershore Organ Festival - Pershore (biennially).
. 4th week in August: Droitwich Horticultural Show - Droitwich.
. August: Three Choirs Festival - held alternately between Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester.
. Sir Edward Elgar, the famous English composer, was born at Upper Broadheath in 1857, and his works are annually performed as part of the Malvern and Worcester Music festivals.
. William Huskisson, MP for the county in the early 19th century, was the first victim of a railway accident, being knocked down and killed at the opening of the line from Manchester to Liverpool in 1830.
. Sir Rowland Hill, founder of the penny post, was born at Kidderminster in 1795.
. Lucien Bonaparte, the brother of the Emperor Napoleon, lived In exile at Thorngrove for a time.
. Stanley Baldwin, three times Prime Minister, was born at Astley Hall at Bewdleyin 1867.
The County of Worcestershire is a jigsaw of a local government puzzle! It is primarily two-tier with Worcestershire County Council and the six District Councils of Bromsgrove, Kidderminster, Malvern Hills, Worcester, Wyre Forest and Wychavon.There are three unitary Metropolitan Boroughs of Birmingham, Dudley and Sandwell which are shared with the Counties of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Alderminster, Shipston on Stour, Tidmington and Tredington are
Worcestershire detached in Warwickshire falling under the auspice of Warwickshire County and Stratford upon Avon Councils as does the Worcestershire parish of Oldberrow. Blockley, Cuddesden, Daylesford, Evenlode and Icombe are Worcestershire detached in Gloucestershire with that County's Council and Cotswold District providing the two-tier government for all. Edwin Loach is Worcestershire detached in Herefordshire and under its unitary council.
THIS IS THE land of apples, plums, and pears: the land of Pershore and Worcester: a centre of market gardening nestling in the abundant Vale of Evesham.. Come here in blossom time and see flowery orchards deliver their pinks and whites beneath a clear blue sky and you could be forgiven for thinking it's snowing! Come again in August when all those fruit trees are laden with luscious fruit just waiting to be picked . .
Worcester is a mixture of the sublime and the mundane as it stands on the banks of the smoothly flowing Severn, its glorious 14th-century cathedral and timbered Tudor houses offset by charmless modern buildings. It's perhaps hard to imagine that there was once a deer forest close by, thus making the town the centre of the glove-making industry. Among its other famous local industries are the manufacture of porcelain (Royal Worcester) and Worcestershire sauce, based on a recipe of Sir Marcus Sandys, once Governor of Bengal. The local barley fields provided the brown vinegar but where the other ingredients including walnut ketchup, anchovy essence, soy sauce, cayenne and shallots originated remains a mystery.
To the east lies the richly fertile Vale of Evesham, renowned for its vegetables and fruit, with the market town of Evesham itself still retaining its 15th-century half- timbered Round House, along with 16th-century Town Hall, and pleasant tree- lined walks along the River Avon. Another pleasing town on the banks of this river is Pershore, which acquired its name as a result of the pear-orchards in the vicinity The choir and transepts of its original Benedictine Abbey of ancient date are now preserved as part of the parish church. Just west of Worcester, looking across to the Malvern Hills is the village of Lower Broadheath, birthplace of the Victorian composer Edward Elgar, whose music reflects much of the rural atmosphere of this region. Although Malvern is the generic title for a string of towns extending along the lower slopes of these hills. Great Malvern serves as the main centre. A pretty Victorian spa town, it now exudes a genteel resort atmosphere, with the main attraction being the Norman priory church and its 15th- century stained glass windows. St Ann's Well, on the slopes of the nearby Worcestershire Beacon (1,395 feet), provided the waters on which the spa's popularity wasbased.
North of Worcester, Kidderminster has the distinction of being the southern terminus of the Severn Valley Railway (operating between April and October and at Christmas), one of the longest and most picturesque steam railways in Britain. It offers a most attractive way to travel to Bewdley, a beautiful Georgian town on the banks of the Severn itself.
The village of Broadway, near Evesham, acts as a gateway the Cotswolds, but its scenic charms have led to it being permanently swamped with visitors and tourists. Sited above the village is the Broadway Tower, an 18th- century folly which now houses exhibitions on William Morris and the members of the pre-Raphaelite movement.
In 1041 the city of Worcester was razed to the ground by Hardicanute in revenge for a tax revolt by the inhabitants. The county also suffered from raids by both the Danish and the Welsh, and the Benedictine monasteries at Evesham and Worcester were fortified. During the 16th and 17th centuries, cloth manufacture grew into a thriving industry in the county. With the coming of the Civil War, the gentry sided with the Royalist cause, while the clothiers supported the Parliamentary forces. Worcester was the first city to declare for the King and was the last to surrender in 1646. In 1651, Charles II marched into Worcester, where he was warmly greeted by the citizens. But Cromwell and his forces took up positions outside the gates, and in a subsequent battle the King's forces were routed and the monarch sought refuge in a room in the cathedral.