Shropshire (abbreviated Salops) is an county in the West Midlands of England, bordering Cheshire, Staffordshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Powys, and Wrexham.
It is one of England's most rural counties. The current county town is Shrewsbury, but was traditionally Ludlow, whose castle was once a royal residence and the seat of the Council of Wales and the Marches, and the largest town is by far the major industrial centre and New Town of Telford. It also contains Coalbrookdale, where the Industrial Revolution started and Ironbridge, where the world's first iron bridge was constructed.
The county is sub-divided into districts - Bridgnorth, North Shropshire, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Atcham, South Shropshire. It used to contain Telford and Wrekin, which is now a separate unitary authority.
Cradle of Industry
Quite why a remote, rural county on the Welsh border, was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, mystifies many people.
However the reasons for this, suprising fact, is geology.
Shropshire is the geological "capital" of the U.K, as just about every rock type in Northern Europe is found within its borders, as are coal, lead and iron ore deposits. Add to this the fact that the River Severn flows through the county providing easy transportation, and it is suddenly much easier to explain.
Geographically, Shropshire is divisible into several distinct areas:
- North Shropshire, is an extension of the flat and fertile Cheshire Gap, it's economy is mostly based on Farming.
- The area around Oswestry, although geographically in the Northern part of Shropshire, forms a distinct area of the county, and Oswestry Football Club played in the Welsh League.
- Central Shropshire, is a farming area, but has more varied terrain than northern Shropshire and the River Severn flows through the area.
- Shrewsbury, is a large market town in the centre of the county, and is regarded with suspicion, often hosility, by the rest of the county, particulary the by inhabitants of the very rural South West.
- Telford and the Wrekin Unitary Authority, is in the east of the county, and is its industrial core. It is the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.
- South East Shropshire, is another agricultural area, and parts of it are an extension of the Herefordshire Plain. The major town here is Bridgnorth,founded by the Vikings and is regarded as a distinct from the rest of the South East.
- South West Shropshire, is in many ways more like Powys than the rest of the county: It's poor, very rural, has a history of lead mining, has no middle class, is mountainous and exports water. It's also the part of the county that tourists come to visit: the views are stunning and the area around Church Stretton is known as Little Switzerland.
Towns and villages
- All Stretton, Aston Munslow, Atcham
- Baschurch, Bayston Hill, Bishop's Castle, Bridgnorth
- Coalbrookdale, Church Stretton, Clun, Chirbury, Craven Arms, Church Preen
- Dawley, Diddlebury, Dorrington
- Eaton, Bishop's Castle, Eaton, Wenlock Edge, Ellesmere, Eyton
- Grafton, Great Sutton, Gretton,
- Hatton, Hilton, Hope, Hope Bowdler, Homer
- Leigh, Ludlow, Little Stretton, Longville in the Dale, Longner
- Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Munslow, Monkhopton
- Newcastle, Shropshire, Newport
- Pontsbury, Pickescott
- Ratlinghope, Richards Castle, Rushbury
- Shawbury, Shifnal, Shipley, Shrewsbury, Snailbeach, Stiperstones
- Telford, Ticklerton
- Wall under Heywood, Wem, Whitchurch
Places of interest
- The Long Mynd, (means "long mountain", overlooks Church Stretton)
- The Stiperstones
- Clee Hill, (hill near(ish) Ludlow, ex-coalmining and famed for the unusual accent of the locals)
- The Brown Clee
- Cardingmill Valley
- Caer Caradoc
- Mitchells Fold, (a bronze age stone circle)
- Wroxeter, (a ruined Roman city and Legionary fortress)
- Attingham Park
- Boscobel House
- Burford House
- Snailbeach, (a historic lead mining village)
- Hopton Castle, (scene of a Civil War massacre)
- Moreton Corbet Castle
- Stokesay Castle
- Ludlow Castle
- Whittington Castle
- Langley Chapel
- Blists Hill, (preserved 19th century Industrial community)
- The Ironbridge, (the worlds first iron bridge)
- Wenlock Edge, (a long wooded ridge and the Geological capital of the UK)
- Shropshire Union Canal
- Offa's Dyke Path, a long distance footpath
List of Councils
- Shropshire County Council
- Telford and Wrekin Unitary Authority
- Oswestry District Council
- North Shropshire District Council
- Shrewsbury and Atcham District Council
- Bridgnorth District Council
- South Shropshire District Council
List of M.P's
+Marsden was elected as a Labour member, but defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2001, over a "disagreement" over the military action in Afghanistan.
He has since been sucessfully sued by the Shrewsbury and Atcham CLP over the "misappropriation" of Labour Party equipment.
- Peter Bradley, Labour, The Wrekin
- David Wright, Labour, Telford
- Owen Paterson, Conservative, Shropshire North
- Matthew Green, Liberal Democrat, Ludlow
- Paul Marsden, Liberal Democrat+, Shrewsbury and Atcham
Did you know?
That the Shropshire Regiment burned down the White House in the War of 1812?