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Counties: Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands
The term "West Midlands", is also used for the much smaller West Midlands county
A mixture of valleys, rugged hills, peat bogs and moors.
Important towns and cities
In the heart of the West Midlands lies the city of Birmingham, a major centre of industry and the arts. Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire is famous for the birthplace of the writer William Shakespeare. Hereford, Warick and Worcester are historic cities with many fine buildings.
Birmingham is home to so many different industries that it was nicknamed the "city of 1001 trades". Trade (buying and selling) has been an important part of life in Birmingham for 800 years.
Coventry was the birth place of the bicycle and has a large car industry. It is also famous for its aircraft, which is why it suffered such heavy bombing during World War ll.
Stoke-on-Trent is the centre of the ceramics industry. Wedgwood, Spode and Royal Doulton all have factories here. Together with nearby towns, it makes up an industrial area known as 'the Potteries'. Worcester and Derby are also known for their fine porcelain.
Market farming and fruit farming are widespread across the fertile Vale of Evesham. The Derbyshire Dales are known for their sheep farming.