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The Black Country
People who know me from the forum will already realise how proud I am of my Black Country heritage. I have lived in the area all my life and so did my ancestors before me. We have our own dialect which slightly differs between areas. It is an area steeped with Industrial heritage and is sadly overlooked by many overseas visitors who plan a trip to the UK. This article was inspired by a comment left on one of my photos. Isaac said that after seeing Wightwick Manor gardens in Wolverhampton (pictured) he would definitely love to visit the West Midlands now.
The Black Country is an area in the West Midlands next to Birmingham (and not to be confused with the city). It encompasses the towns of Dudley, Rowley Regis, Halesowen, Brierley Hill, parts of Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, Cradley Heath, Netherton, Walsall, West Bromwich, Wordsley and many more. It was said that the heart of the Black Country was a public house in Old Hill called the Cross (now sadly knocked down) and my husband's family were the last publicans to keep the Cross before it was changed to a wine bar. Many of the towns have their own craft - Stourbridge/Wordsley for glass making(pictured), Cradley Heath and Netherton for chain making (the Titanic anchor and chain were made in Netherton), Walsall for leather and there are various local museums in some towns celebrating these manufacturing processes.
We are also famed for a beautiful network of canals and the area is sometimes dubbed "The Venice of England!". Pictured is a place in Netherton called Bumble Hole. Many wonderful hours can be spent walking the network of canals (locally called "the cut").
The sometimes disputed capital is Dudley. Great attractions include Dudley Zoo and Castle (pictured), Black Country Museum and Wrens Nest Nature Reserve at which you can see many ancient sea bed fossils in the rocks. Nearby is Saltwells Nature Reserve and Cosford RAF Museum. For walks in the area there is the beautiful Clent Hills and my favourite public park Haden Hill with its Tudor and Victorian houses.
Also remember that staying in the Heart of England means that you can travel to different parts of the country easier from a central position. There are some wonderful surrounding areas to explore. Ironbridge Museums are also worth a visit if you are interested in Industrial heritage. Worcestershire has lovely villages and towns such as Bewdley which is only a short drive from here.
So when you plan your next visit to the UK do not forget our area. It may not be the prettiest but there are some pockets of beauty and a lot of interesting places to see.
A Pictures of England article written by Stephanie Jackson
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Random England fact:
St Martin's Church in Canterbury is the oldest church building in England, and the oldest church in continuous use in the English speaking world.
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