Shropshire is England's largest inland county, covering an area of 1,347 square miles. It is a beautiful pastoral county with a landscape that has inspired visitors for centuries, a number of historic and prosperous market towns, and hundreds of sleepy, traditional villages.
Shropshire's countryside culminates in the Shropshire Hills, an area of upland moor and heath with a varied geology and such landmarks as the Long Mynd, the Stiperstones and Wenlock Edge. Local history has been shaped by Shropshire's strategic location between England and Wales, and indeed the area changed hands many times over the years. Many towns have castles and other Medieval fortifications. From the 18th century onwards, the county led the way in Britain's industrialisation, and Ironbridge is considered the birthplace of industry. JRR Tolkien based his conception of The Shire region of Middle Earth on 20th century Shropshire and neighbouring counties, while the Wrekin is a peak near Telford that is said to have inspired the Lonely Mountain.
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