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Worcestershire facts for kids

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For the condiment, see Worcestershire sauce.
For the County Council, see Worcestershire County Council.
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Flag of Worcestershire.svg WorcsCoatArms.jpg
Flag Coat of arms
Worcestershire within England
Worcestershire in England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region West Midlands
Established Historic
Ceremonial county
Area 1,741 km2 (672 sq mi)
 • Ranked 34th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 555,900
 • Ranked 38th of 48
Density 319/km2 (830/sq mi)
Ethnicity 91.25% White British
3.25% Other
2.86% Asian
1.26% Mixed
1.06% Black
0.32% Chinese
Non-metropolitan county
County council Worcestershire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Worcester
Area 1,741 km2 (672 sq mi)
 • Ranked 23rd of 27
Population 555,900
 • Ranked 22nd of 27
Density 319/km2 (830/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-WOR
ONS code 47
Worcestershire UK district map numbered.svg
Districts of Worcestershire
  1. Worcester
  2. Malvern Hills
  3. Wyre Forest
  4. Bromsgrove
  5. Redditch
  6. Wychavon
Members of Parliament
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Worcestershire ( WUUS-tər-shər or WUUS-tər-sheer; written abbreviation: Worcs) is a county in the West Midlands of England. Between 1974 and 1998, it was merged with the neighbouring county of Herefordshire as Hereford and Worcester.

The cathedral city of Worcester is the largest settlement and county town. Other towns in the county include Redditch, Bromsgrove, Stourport-on-Severn, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, and Malvern. The north-east of Worcestershire includes part of the industrial West Midlands; the rest of the county is largely rural. The county is divided into six administrive districts: Worcester, Redditch, Wychavon, Malvern Hills, Wyre Forest, and Bromsgrove.


The county borders Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills and the spa town of Malvern. The south of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds; to the east is Warwickshire. Two major rivers flow through the county: the Severn and the Avon.


Old Powick Bridge over the River Teme - - 795873
The Battle of Powick Bridge on the River Teme on 23 September 1642 began the English Civil War.

Worcestershire was the heartland of the early English kingdom of the Hwicce. It was absorbed by the Kingdom of Mercia during the 7th century and became part of the unified Kingdom of England in 927. It was a separate ealdormanship briefly in the 10th century before forming part of the Earldom of Mercia in the 11th century. In the years leading up to the Norman conquest, the Church, supported by the cathedral, Evesham Abbey, Pershore Abbey, Malvern Priory, and other religious houses, increasingly dominated the county.

The last known Anglo-Saxon sheriff of the county was Cyneweard of Laughern, and the first Norman sheriff was Urse d'Abetot who built the castle of Worcester and seized much church land.

On 4 August 1265, Simon de Montfort was killed in the Battle of Evesham in Worcestershire.

In 1642, the Battle of Powick Bridge was the first major skirmish of the English Civil War, and the Battle of Worcester in 1651 effectively ended the civil war.

During the Middle Ages, much of the county's economy was based on the wool trade. Many areas of its dense forests, such as Feckenham Forest, Horewell Forest and Malvern Chase, were royal hunting grounds subject to forest law.

In the 19th century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster became a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch specialised in the manufacture of needles, springs and hooks. Droitwich Spa, situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, with one of the principal Roman roads running through the town. These old industries have since declined, to be replaced by other, more varied light industry. The county is also home to the world's oldest continually published newspaper, the Berrow's Journal, established in 1690. Malvern was one of the centres of the 19th century rise in English spa towns due to Malvern water being believed to be very pure, containing "nothing at all".


See also: List of settlements in Worcestershire by population

The 2011 census found the population of Worcestershire to be 566,169, an increase of 4.4% from the 2001 population of 542,107.


Though the total number of people in every ethnic group increased between 2001 and 2011, the White British share of Worcestershire's population decreased from 95.5% to 92.4%, as did the share of white ethnic groups as whole, which went from 97.5% to 95.7%. While this change is in line with the nationwide trend of White British people's share of the population shrinking, Worcestershire is still much more ethnically homogeneous than the national average. In 2011 England as a whole was 79.8% White British, much lower than Worcestershire's figure of 92.4%.

Ethnic group 2001
White: British 517,747 95.5 522,922 92.4
White: Irish 4,163 0.8 3,480 0.6
White: Irish Traveller/Gypsy 1,165 0.2
White: Other 6,869 1.27 14,491 2.6
White: Total 528,779 97.5 542,058


Asian or Asian British: Indian 1,640 0.3 3,634 0.6
Asian or Asian British: Pakistani 2,917 0.5 4,984 0.9
Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi 970 0.2 1,316 0.2
Asian or Asian British: Chinese 1,106 0.2 1,601 0.3
Asian or Asian British: Asian Other 455 0.1 2,206 0.4
Asian or Asian British: Total 7,088 1.3 13,741 2.4
Black or Black British: Caribbean 1,153 0.2 1,275 0.2
Black or Black British: African 332 0.1 767 0.1
Black or Black British: Other 153 0.03 330 0.1
Black or Black British: Total 1,638 0.3 2,372


Mixed: White and Caribbean 1,704 0.3 3,150 0.6
Mixed: White and African 221 0.04 592 0.1
Mixed: White and Asian Other 1,099 0.2 2,053 0.4
Mixed: Other Mixed 771 0.1 1,250 0.2
British Mixed: Total 3,795 0.7 7,045


Other: Arab 236 0.04
Other: Any other ethnic group 807 0.1 717 0.1
Other: Total 807 0.1 953


Total 542,107 100 566,169


Physical geography

Worcestershire Beacon
Summit of the Worcestershire Beacon in the Malvern Hills, the county's highest point.

The Malvern Hills, which run from the south of the county into Herefordshire, are made up mainly of volcanic igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks, some of which date from more than 1200 million years ago. They are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Worcestershire Beacon, which at 425m is the highest point in the county, lies in this range.

The rest of the county consists of undulating hills and farmland stretching either side of the Severn valley. The Severn is the United Kingdom's longest river and flows through Bewdley, Stourport-on-Severn and Worcester. The River Avon flows through the Worcestershire town on Evesham and joins the Severn at Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

Several coniferous and deciduous woodlands are located in the north of the county. The Vale of Evesham runs through the south of the county and to its south are the Cotswolds AONB.

Honeybourne station-Geograph-3549213-by-Rob-Newman
Honeybourne railway station on the Cotswold Line and the potential Honeybourne Line.


Elgar's birthplace
Classical composer Sir Edward Elgar was born in this house in Broadheath, Worcestershire, currently used as the Elgar Birthplace Museum.

The village of Broadheath, about 6 miles (10 km) North-West of the city of Worcester, is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar.

It is claimed that the county was the inspiration for The Shire, a region of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth, described in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was thought to have named Bilbo Baggins' house "Bag End" after his Aunt Jane's Worcestershire farm. Tolkien wrote of Worcestershire: "Any corner of that county (however fair or squalid) is in an indefinable way 'home' to me, as no other part of the world is."

Worcestershire is one of the three counties associated with the Border Morris style of English folk dancing. Worcestershire Monkey is a popular Border Morris dance, although normally performed as a group of eight, it is sometimes danced en masse with multiple border morris sides performing the dance together.

Towns and villages

Worcester Cathedral - - 706524
Due to its Cathedral (pictured), the county town of Worcester is the only settlement in the county with city status.

The county town and only city is Worcester. The other major settlements, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove and Redditch are satellite towns of Birmingham. There are also several market towns: Malvern, Bewdley, Evesham, Droitwich Spa, Pershore, Tenbury Wells, Stourport-on-Severn and Upton-upon-Severn. The village of Hartlebury housed the Bishop of Worcester from the 13th century until 2007.

For a full list of settlements, see list of places in Worcestershire.

See also: List of settlements in Worcestershire by population

Places of interest

National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House

Local groups


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