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2 Economics and Demographics
6 Various Statistics
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 34For 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.