Stretching from the Cotswolds in the south to the Clee Hill in the north, Worcestershire is a large and often beautiful county. It has always been favoured by Midlands dwellers, thanks to its scenery, reasonable prices and easy access to Birmingham. Now, local buyers face competition from London purchasers deterred by the high prices of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
There are two sides to Worcestershire: the urban, including towns such as Worcester, Kidderminster, and Bromsgrove, which tend to sprawl as there has historically been little pressure on land; and the rural.
Many of the county’s former urban areas, such as Stourbridge and Dudley, have now been incorporated into the county of the West Midlands; much of the rest of Worcestershire is still deeply rural. The flat and fertile Vale of Evesham to the south is renowned for its fruit and vegetables, and the Malvern Hills in the south are visible for many miles.
Communications to London and elsewhere in Britain are surprisingly good, as Worcestershire is well placed to take advantage of the motorway network. The M40 extension brings the capital within easy reach, and the M5 and M42 run through the east of the county.
The most valuable areas of Worcestershire are east of the Severn, within easy reach of Birmingham; however, the most beautiful and sparsely populated areas are to the west of the county.
There is little local stone in Worcestershire, so traditional houses are usually brick, brick and timber, or if older, timber-framed with wattle and daub infill.
Few pre-19th century cottages survive, as they were rarely built to exacting standards, but there are substantial farmhouses and a number of Georgian houses.
Worcester, Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Redditch, Droitwich, Malvern, Evesham, Stourport, Bewdley, Tenbury Wells.
Train: Paddington to Worcester 2hr 10min; Paddington to Evesham, 1hr 45min.
Car: Worcester is 120 miles from London via the M40, A40 and M5; 135 miles from London via the M40, M42, M5. Tenbury Wells is 149 miles from London via the M40, M42, A442 and A456.
Bromsgrove School (01527 579679). Co-educational, age range 13-18, day and boarding. Associated preparatory school. www.bromsgrove-school.co.uk/
Holy Trinity School, Kidderminster (01562 822929). Girls only, age range 3-18, day. http://www.holytrinity.co.uk/
Malvern College (01684 892333). Co-educational, age range 13-18, boarding and day. Associated preparatory school. www.malvern-college.co.uk/
Malvern Girls’ College (01684 892288). Girls only, age range 11-18, boarding and day. www.mgc.worcs.sch.uk/
The Alice Ottley School, Worcester (01905 27061). Girls only, age range 3-19, day. www.thealiceottleyschool.co.uk/
The King’s School, Worcester (01905 23016). Co-educational, age range 7-18, day and boarding. www.ksw.org.uk/
Royal Grammar School, Worcester (01905 613391). Boys only, age range 7-18, day and boarding. www.rgsw.org.uk/
Golfcourses: Droitwich (01905 770129); Evesham (01386 860395); Habberley (01562 745756); Kidderminster (01562 822303).
Hunts: the Worcestershire, the Clifton-on-Teme, the Ludlow. Yacht club: Stourport.
Fishing: River Severn and its tributaries.