The Vale of Evesham
The Vale of Evesham, an area famed for its orchards and horticultural produce, has for many centuries supported a number of communities that have thrived on its fertile soil. Drained by the River Avon and with the town of Evesham as its centre, the Vale includes land in south Worcestershire, south Warwickshire and north Gloucestershire.
The Vale of Evesham is a traditional agricultural and horticultural area, including fruit farms, livestock farming and market gardening. The sheltered climate beneath the escarpment of the Cotswolds, the light alluvial soils and the ready availability of river water for irrigation in dry weather has led to a great deal of vegetable production. There are numerous orchards in the area, survivors of a time when the entire Vale was covered with blossom in the spring. Although orchards have declined somewhat in recent decades, they still make a sufficient show of blossom in spring that they are a tourist attraction.
In the villages to the east of Evesham, such as Offenham and Badsey, there are growers specialising in asparagus production, which is even grown in the town centre on land previously farmed by the monks of Evesham Abbey. Every year there are asparagus auctions, notably at the historic Fleece Inn in Bretforton, which is now owned by the National Trust.
The Vale is served by the 150-year-old Cotswold railway line, originally known as the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, although this was known at the time of construction as the "Old Worse and Worse", due to regular derailments and construction problems, including a riot at Mickleton on the edge of the Vale. The stations within the Vale are at Honeybourne and Evesham and these are served by trains from Hereford, Worcester and London.