County Overviews


The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. The county is richly endowed with stately homes. The spa town of Matlock is the county's administrative centre. Other major towns are industrialised Derby, home of Royal Crown Derby china, and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, symbolised by the crooked spire of St Mary and All Saints Church.


The inland county of Nottinghamshire in eastern England is strongly associated with the legend of Robin Hood, though Robin's territory, the Sherwood Forest, has been somewhat tamed since his outlaw days. The county is divided between the old coalfields north of Nottingham, the commuter belt of the Wolds to the south, and the area of Sherwood Forest and the great country estates known as the 'Dukeries'. The traditional industry of Nottinghamshire, alongside agriculture, was coal mining, though this has declined in recent years. Other towns of note are the river port and market town of Newark and Southwell, known for its medieval minster.


Leicestershire is divided between the large country estates of its eastern side and the industrial towns of the East Midlands to its west. Coal mining was an important part of the county's industrial development in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and this is reflected in its heritage. Agricultural areas focus around the pleasant market towns of Market Harborough and Market Bosworth. The administrative centre is the city of Leicester, and other major towns are Loughborough and Melton Mowbray. Northeast of Melton Mowbray is the lovely Vale of Belvoir, beneath which are large deposits of coal. Charnwood Forest provides a wild and rugged landscape conveniently situated for escape from the city.