Worcestershire, county, 674 sq mi (1,746 sq km), W central England. Worcester is the county administrative center. Worcestershire is largely hilly country. The Malvern, Cotswold, Clent, and Lickey hills, partially or entirely within the county, are the most important ranges. The area is watered by the Severn and the Avon; the Avon valley is known as the Vale of Evesham. Administratively, the county is divided into the districts of Worcester, Malvern Hills, Wychavon, Redditch, Bromsgrove, and Wyre Forest.
The county became an administrative unit in 1041 after the recovery of Mercia from the Danes and was important in the Middle Ages as a monastic center. The northern part of the historical county, with iron and coal deposits, verges into the industrial Midlands area known as the Black Country, but the area is now administratively separate. In 1974, Worcestershire was combined with Herefordshire in the nonmetropolitan county of Hereford and Worcester, but in 1998 the counties were again separated.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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