Worcestershire is a mixture of the relentless urban landscape and the very open, rural land. 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 from Saxon times.
In the centre of the shire is the cathedral city of Worcester. The city stands on the River Severn and is dominated by a grand cathedral.
In the southeast is the pleasant Vale of Evesham, presided over by Evesham, popular with visitors. In the south-west, forming the boundary with Herefordshire, are the pretty Malvern Hills, a sheer, sharp north-south edge marking the end of the gentle hills in Worcestershire before the rigours of the Herefordshire peaks. Great Malvern standing in their shade is a lovely spa town that grew around the pure waters issuing from the hills.
The north-west of Worcestershire is a complete contrast to the rural heart, covered over with a conurbation spreading out across the county borders out to Birmingham. This and the neighbouring part of Staffordshire were coal country, known as the Black Country from the coal beneath and the smoke above, the latter now thankfully cleared. Much of the Black Country is in Worcestershire, including Dudley, a detached part. Outside the Black Country itself but still more or less absorbed within the same unbroken townscape are quieter towns ; Halesowen and Stourbridge. Yardley, a north-western extremity of Worcestershire has long since been absorbed into Birmingham.
Outside the cityscape though even in this corner of the county there remain havens of peace in the Clent Hills and the Lickey Hills.
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, 1,395 feet.
Area: 738 sq miles
County Flower: Cowlsip