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Worcestershire (pronounced wustasheer) is one of the smaller English counties, located in the West Midlands. Other than the city of Worcester, and several large towns in the northern part of the county, the area is still largely rural. A large area of the county used to be devoted to fruit-growing and the cultivation of hops; this has decreased considerably since World War II, though in the southern area of the county, around the Vale of Evesham, there are still sufficient orchards that the British Automobile Association[?] signposts a route (the "Blossom Trail[?]") where the orchards can be seen in spring. Worcester City's coat of arms includes a depiction of three black pears, representing a now rare local fruit variety, the Worcester Black Pear. The county's coat of arms follows this theme, having a pear tree with black pears. The apple variety known as Worcester Pearmain originates from Worcestershire, and the Pershore[?] plum comes from the small Worcestershire town of that name, and is widely grown in that area.

The city of Worcester and the surrounding county are best known for Worcestershire sauce (a dark brown sauce used in flavoring various foods and the Bloody Mary drink), and for its porcelain works. In the nineteenth century, Worcester was a centre for the manufacture of gloves; the town of Kidderminster was a centre for carpet manufacture, and Redditch[?] specialised in the manufacture of needles and hooks. Droitwich Spa, being situated on large deposits of salt, was a centre of salt production from Roman times, 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 1690).

Worcestershire sauce,

The county borders Shropshire to the north, some parts of north Worcestershire having been incorporated into the West Midlands Metropolitan County in the local government reorganisation of 1974. To the west, the county is bordered by the Malvern Hills[?], on which is located the former spa town of Malvern (home of the Morgan[?] traditional sports car). The western side of the hills is in the county of Herefordshire. In the 1974 reorganisation, Worcestershire was amalgamated with Herefordshire to form the unimaginatively named county of Hereford and Worcester, but the Malverns seemed such a natural physical and social boundary that the hybrid county reverted back to the original two counties in a later reorganisation in 1999.

The southern part of the county is bordered by Gloucestershire and the northern edge of the Cotswolds, and to the east is Warwickshire. The two major rivers flowing through the county are the Severn and the Avon.

Worcestershire was the site of the Battle of Evesham in which Simon de Montfort was killed (4th August, 1265), and later, in the English Civil War, the Battle of Worcester (1651).

Worcester is the birthplace of the composer Edward Elgar.

Towns and villages

Places of interest

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