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South Shropshire

South Shropshire District Council is the local authority for the south west division of Shropshire in England.

Table of contents
1 Introduction
2 Economics and Demographics
3 Geography
4 History
5 Politics
6 Various Statistics
7 Sources


South Shropshire is the most Rural district of one of the U.K's most rural counties, the population is a mere 40,000 spread out over 400 square miles of forest, mountains, moors, hills and poor quality farmland. It borders Powys in Mid Wales, and is very similer to it, economically, socially, culturally and historically. 65% of the district, is part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Only the towns of Ludlow, Church Stretton and Cleobury Mortimer have populations in excess of 3000.

Economics and Demographics

Economically the district is dependent on tourism, now that farming is economically worthless (and lead and coal mining having died in the area years ago), although there is some light industry around Church Stretton. Wages are low, but unemployment is below average, this is because it is very easy to get a job in the tourist industry, especially in a place like South Shropshire.

One of the most interesting thing about the demographics of the area, is the lack of a middle class, there are people at the top of the tree, and people at it's roots, but none on the branches. This is particulary noticeable in Ludlow, where affluence is walking distance from despair. Also notable is the large amount of immigration to the area, as people leave the cities for a "simpler" life in the country.


South Shropshire is a land of mountains, valleys, hills, moors, forests and low grade farmland, and seems to have been that way for a very long time. The landscape is often rugged, with crags and rock outcrops very common, especially in the west and around Clee Hill, and was for the most part gouged by glaciers during the Ice Age. It contains a myriad of rock types, and is widely regarded as the geological capital of the U.K, with Wenlock Edge being especially highly regarded by geologists.


South Shropshire is littered with ancient monuments, with Mitchells Fold on the Welsh border being the most notable, and there is evidence of neolithic quarrying in the Apedale. The area was settled by the Ordovicii "tribe" in the last millennium BC, and was a stronghold of the Celtic chieftain Caractacus (Caer Caradoc is named after him), and seems to have been part of the "Military" division of the Roman occupation and lead was mined in the North West of the district. In the Dark Ages, it was a battleground between the Welsh and the Saxon kingdom of Mercia and Offa's dyke is partially in the district. In the Middle Ages it was part of the Welsh Marches, a lawless area ruled by tyrannical feudal lords, who had de facto independence from the King. This lives on in the areas mistrust of outside control. During the English Civil War the area saw a massacre at Hopton Castle, but was generally spared much fighting due to it's tiny population. In the Industrial Revolution coal was mined around Clee Hill, lead on the border with Wales and Church Stretton was a centre of textile manufacture and Ludlow thrieved on the wool trade. The economy was fragile, and had sadly collapsed by 1900.


The dominant ideology in South Shropshire is bloody-mindedness. People vote "for the man, not for the party", and although the Liberal Democrats have tended to outperform the other parties, independents do well at election time. The council is renowned for its instability, and an independent was recently arrested for fraudulent benefit claims.

Results of the elections to South Shropshire District Council, 1 May 2003

Party                               Seats
Liberal Democrat and Progressive    14
Conservative                        10 
Independent                          9
Green                                1
Total                               34

For reasons unknown The Labour Party do not stand candidates for the council. Various groupings have developed since the election and the Green is now an independent.

Various Statistics

  • Area(hectares) 102,664
  • Population 40,410
  • Population density(hectares) 0.394
  • Population structure %
  • 0-4 05.2
  • 5-15 11.8
  • 16-19 05.1
  • 20-29 07.7
  • 30-44 19.5
  • 45-retirement age 25.3
  • retirement age+ 25.2
  • In-migrants 1991-2001 10.2
  • Visible minorities 00.7
  • Managers etc. 14.7
  • Professionals 10.1
  • Assoc. professional/technical 10.2
  • Admin and secretarial 09.5
  • Skilled manual 20.3
  • Personal service 08.1
  • Sales and customer service 05.7
  • Plant and machinery operatives 08.4
  • Elementary occupations 13.1
  • unemployed males 02.5
  • unemployed females 01.1
  • Employment by industry 2001: %
  • agriculture and forestry 10.2
  • energy and water 00.9
  • manufacturing 14.1
  • construction 08.2
  • services 22.4
  • transport and communications 04.5
  • finance 11.8
  • public sector 22.7
  • others 05.1