IW Introducing Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a diverse, beautiful and exciting county, with
plenty to offer residents, employees, tourists and businesses
Figure IW1: Map of the
West Midlands showing the major transport networks
(Download the map (PDF 950 KB))
Source: Ordnance Survey,
IW.1 Worcester City
At Worcestershire’s heart is a youthful yet historic
city, home to the new £60 million Library and History Centre
(opening in 2012). At the side of the River Severn stands the
majestic Cathedral, parts of which date back to 1084, while
opposite is New Road, the home of Worcestershire County Cricket
The city’s retail offer includes the
pedestrianised High Street, the CrownGate and Cathedral Plaza
Shopping Centres, a range of independent shops and the new
Lowesmoor Centre, while Blackpole and Elgar Retail Parks offer
The city is home to the rapidly expanding
University of Worcester, which has a growing reputation for its
National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit and for developing
linkages with local businesses through its highly successful
salaried graduate internship scheme and the business school.
There are two railways stations, with regular
services to London and Birmingham. To the east of the city,
junctions 6 and 7 provide access to the M5 motorway. Close to
junction 6 is the Sixways Stadium (home of Worcester Warriors Rugby
Club), and site for a new headquarters and training facility for
Wychavon is the largest authority by area and population in
Worcestershire. Largely rural, with agriculture and tourism as key
industries, and commercial and industrial areas offering a range of
sites and premises for businesses, it has three main towns;
Droitwich Spa, Pershore and Evesham. The pretty Cotswold village of
Broadway marks the south eastern corner of the county.
Droitwich Spa is famous as a spa town. Built
on the once-prosperous salt industry it now draws visitors to its
historic High Street, St Andrews shopping centre and the lido
The £12 million restoration of Droitwich
Canals was completed in July 2011, and offers a unique 21 mile
cruising ring through the scenic Worcestershire countryside.
The town hosts a number of events including the annual Salt Day.
Droitwich Spa is just two miles from junction 5 of the M5 and has
direct rail links to Worcester and Birmingham making it an
excellent location for businesses at one of several business parks,
including Stonebridge Cross, one of the county’s premier employment
Pershore’s impressive Abbey sits adjacent to a
picturesque Georgian High Street. The market town sits along the
River Avon between Evesham and Worcester and has direct rail links
to London on the Cotswold line. The town is home to Wychavon
District Council and has a number of independent and specialist
retailers. Several events take place in the town, including the
Plum Festival, which in August 2011 attracted approximately 19,000
visitors. The town is also a popular business location, with the
Key Tech 7 business park particularly sought after.
Further east along the Avon is Evesham, the
centre of the Vale of Evesham, renowned for its orchards and
horticultural produce, made possible by the fertile soils. The town
hosts festivals throughout the year attracting many visitors to the
area. These include the Asparagus Festival celebrating this locally
grown national icon from St George’s Day to Mid Summer’s Day, and
The Blossom Trail, a 40 mile AA marked route around the countryside
associated with numerous events in the surrounding villages.
The town itself has direct rail links to
Worcester and London. Since the completion of the duelling of the
Cotswold Line, journey times to Paddington are now under two hours,
improving cultural and economic links with the capital. The
recently refurbished High Street is now the focal point for
national brands and local markets, and the recent further
development of Vale Business Park offers new and exciting
employment opportunities for the district. "
IW.3 Malvern Hills
Malvern Hills is a rural district, Edward Elgar’s birthplace and
home to the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a
protected area of countryside since 1959 with stunning views along
the ridge, but especially from the highest point, the
Malvern Hills has long been associated with inspiration, from
innovators like the Victorians who developed the water cures and
more recently the Morgan family with their beautiful hand crafted
cars, to the ongoing work of the scientists at QinetiQ who have
been responsible for some of the most useful new technology of
recent times such as early RADAR, Liquid Crystal Flat Panel
Displays and the technology in thermal imaging cameras.
The district has substantial natural and built, historical and
cultural assets centred on the three thriving district centres of
Great Malvern, Tenbury Wells and Upton upon Severn.
There are very few town centres in the UK
which can rival the views from Great Malvern’s elevated position.
With its direct rail links to Worcester, Birmingham and London and
key attractions such as Great Malvern Priory, Malvern Theatres and
Priory Park, the town is a very popular tourist destination.
Malvern Hills Science Park, adjacent to QinetiQ, is the hub of the
district’s thriving high-tech business sector, while the nearby
Three Counties Showground is the site of the Three Counties Show
amongst numerous other events.
In the north of the district, Tenbury Wells is
a small market town with a good selection of local shops and
facilities serving the Teme Valley. Found on the River Teme, it is
known for its mineral waters and surrounded by open countryside,
agricultural land and orchards. While in the south is the town of
Upton upon Severn, with a thriving marina and home of several music
festivals throughout the year.
IW.4 Wyre Forest
To the north of the county, Wyre Forest
District comprises Kidderminster, Stourport-on-Severn
and Bewdley and a number of rural settlements including the
villages Arley and Chaddesley Corbett.
Kidderminster is a town in transition.
Historically a major centre for carpet
manufacture, the industry still employs around 2,000 people. The
town and wider area continue to be a base for several major
companies manufacturing such diverse products as ocean-going
cruisers, high technology industrial ceramics, wheels for
earthmoving vehicles, spectacle and contact lenses. Other major
businesses include construction, recycling and IT services.
Kidderminster’s retail offer includes three modern shopping centres
and Crosley Retail Park.
Further regeneration of the town centre is a
primary aim of the ReWyre Initiative, which seeks to lever
around £300 million of private investment. A Prospectus highlights
the desire to improve the accessibility of the town, safeguard and
create more jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, regenerate
brownfield sites and improve the quality of the environment.
The Prospectus also highlights major proposals
to regenerate the town centre; the creation of a new urban village
at Churchfields (to the north of the town centre); and the creation
of a new Business and Nature Park focussed on the 24 hectare former
British Sugar site in the south of the town.
Stourport-on-Severn, once the busiest inland
port after Birmingham, lies at the junction of the Staffordshire
and Worcestershire Canal and the River Severn. The town is a
popular day visitor destination with many fine Georgian buildings,
historic Canal Basins, riverside attractions and a good range of
shops, pubs and cafes.
The area is already home to a number of
tourist attractions, including the Wyre Forest itself, West Midland
Safari Park, two Arboretums and the Severn Valley Railway, which
works its way through Bewdley, a popular Georgian town on the River
Severn boasting many listed buildings, a museum, independent
retailers, pubs, restaurants and craft shops.
Bromsgrove is the closest Worcestershire town
to Birmingham and has strong links with the city. Its location
close to the merging of the M5 and M42 provides for easy access to
the motorway network. The town is within four miles of both
junction 5 of the M5 to the south, and junction 4 to the north, and
is also close to junction 1 of the M42 (eastbound entry and
westbound exit only). Bromsgrove has direct rail links to Worcester
The borough has a very diverse economy
with several established business parks, including Aston Fields,
Buntsford Hill, Saxon and Harris and more recently Bromsgrove
Technology Park. The town is home to the Artrix, a theatre, cinema,
music and dance venue, and Bromsgrove School, an internationally
renowned independent school. The town
centre hosts regular markets, including a monthly
farmers’ market and retains a traditional atmosphere, with
several multinational retailers sitting alongside established
Avoncroft Museum of historic buildings is
located in the borough as is the Worcester and Birmingham
Canal - featuring Tardebigge lock flight,which with 30
locks, is one of the longest in Europe. Close by is
Hanbury Hall, an historic country house and the countryside
attractions of the Lickey, Clent and Waseley Hills.
Through the Bromsgrove Town Centre Regeneration Programme, the
extensive redevelopment of the town is underway, following the
completion of a new Health Centre and an application from
Sainsbury’s to open a new store on the Birmingham Road.
Improvements to transport in and around the town, and to the public
realm more generally are also included to improve the appeal of the
town for residents, businesses and visitors.
Formerly, a market town, Redditch was designated as a New Town in
1964 and since then has taken on its modern shape. Redditch’s
predominant industry today is manufacturing with the Borough’s
firms supplying many of the world’s major markets, including
automotive, defence and medical industries.
The town centre includes the Church Green
Conservation Area and the Redditch Open Air Market, as
well as the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, providing an
extensive retail offer.
The central location, with its close proximity
to junction 2 of the M42 and direct rail link to Birmingham, and
the ease of moving around the town continues to present attractive
options for many employers.
Redditch has both a unique natural and built
environment that contributes significantly to its distinctiveness.
The town benefits from extensive green space, including Arrow
Valley Country Park and numerous cultural and historic
This page was last reviewed 17 May 2013 at 17:18.
The page is next due for review 13 November 2014.