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Things to do in Redditch, Worcestershire

The town of Redditch is in north east Worcestershire about 15 miles south of Birmingham. The town once produced 90% of the sewing needles used in the world.

The town of Redditch dates back beyond Roman times and the Roman Road which was called Icknield Street ran north-south down the eastern edge of modern-day Redditch.

The name Red-Dych probably referred to the local red clay which is found in the River Arrow close by.

In 1348 the population suffered with the arrival of the Black Death plague.

From the Middle Ages to the 19th century Redditch had two niche industries - sewing needles and fishing tackle. It specializes in making fishing hooks and then went into building motorcycle parts and springs for Herbert Terry and Sons. Royal Enfield motorbikes were built in Redditch until 1967.

Present Day Redditch

Redditch has a current population of around 80,000 residents. It was a model new town during the 1960s. With the devlopement of a modern infrastructure that attracted light industry and business to the area, Redditch grew from 32,000 to around 77,000 inhabitants.

Modern housing estates at Church Hill, Woodrow, Lodge Park and Matchborough were built to house newcomers and acted as an overspill community for Birmingham. Redditch station is conveniently located on the Lichfield to Birmingham New Street railway line.

The town has large swathes of green space and excellent leisure facilities along with cultural attractions such as the Edwardian Palace Theatre.

The town centre has a modern Kingfisher Shopping Centre which is well known for its tropical palm trees which grow in pots. Covering over a million square feet, it is one of the largest retail spaces in the UK.

Famous residents in Redditch include comedian Rik Mayall, actor Charles Dance and musicians John Bonham from Led Zeppelin and Tony Martin of Black Sabbath fame.

Things to Do Around Redditch

Redditch has a couple of historic sites. The National Needle Museum is a very interesting way to learn about the town's industrial heritage.

Bordesley Abbey is an excavated site of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey and Royal Swannery. This former royal abbey was of local importance until the Dissolution of the Monasteries led to its destruction. Excavated items are on display in the onsite Visitor Centre.

Arrow Valley Country Park is a public park covering 900 acres beside the River Arrow. The lake is used for sailing and watersports and the many trails are used for walking, cycling and roller blading. Morton Stanley Park is another pleasant public park with views of the Malvern Hills.

Birmingham offers an ongoing program of exhibitions and events at the NEC and the National Indoor Arena. Symphony Hall hosts concerts by international orchestras and many other conferences and community events.

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