West Midlands

Map of the West Midlands Area

Map of West Midlands

County Council

West Midlands

The West Midlands is a landlocked region located in the centre of England, sharing borders with Wales, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, and the Thames Valley. The region has a total surface area of approximately 5,000 square miles, which means that the region is the seventh largest in the United Kingdom.

In administrative terms, the West Midlands is divided into six counties: West Midlands, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Staffordshire. The total population in this region exceeds 5.6 million people, with the largest cities being Birmingham (with over 1 million), Coventry (320,00), Stoke-on-Trent (250,000), Wolverhampton (also 250,000), Dudley (313,000), and Walsall (270,000).

Outside the large urban conurbations of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, the West Midlands has a large percentage of rural territory. The western areas are predominantly mountainous, and are home to the region's highest point, the 2,300-feet tall Black Mountain. Mountains also dominate the landscape in the north. Elsewhere in the West Midlands, rolling hills and valleys are the most characteristic natural features. The region is home to 5 designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, which include the Wye Valley, Malvern Hills, the Cotswolds, Cannock Chase, and the Shropshire Hills.

Historically, the West Midlands played a significant role in the development of the Industrial Revolution, as cities like Birmingham were some of Europe's most important textile manufacturing centres during the 18th century. Areas of Shropshire and Wolverhampton (most notably the so-called Black Country) were important mining and industrial centres, and remained so until the first half of the 20th century. During Victorian times, the West Midlands became a key transportation hub thanks to the development of the local railway network and to the canal systems in and around Birmingham.

In our days, the West Midlands enjoy a prosperous economy that relies in retail, tourism, manufacturing, and the service sector. The region is marketed as the heart of England, and therefore attracts national and international visitors with its wealth of castles, museums, National Trust sites, gardens, a vibrant urban centres. The most popular highlights in the region include Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, the impressive Georgian state at Weston Park, the castles at Shrewsbury and Stokesay, the Ironbridge World Heritage Site, the zoological gardens in Dudley, and the Cadbury's chocolate factory.

Some noteworthy people who were born in the West Midlands include actresses Julie Walters and Felicity Jones, TV host Richard Hammond, singer Jamelia, composer Clint Mansell, writer Lee Child, and Nobel Prize winner Francis William Aston.


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