Birmingham is a city of contrasts. Although it still bears some of the scars of its industrial past, in recent years it has been transformed through a series of impressive modern developments, while at the same time conserving and enhancing its remaining Victorian buildings. With its attractively restored canals and rejuvenated center it is now a very pleasant and interesting place to explore. But the city also has the advantage of lying at the heart of some of the most beautiful and varied countryside in England. From the Black Country to Shakespeare country, walkers can revel in the unspoiled rolling landscape, wander through delightful old towns and villages, and enjoy the lush beauty of the Avon, Evesham and the Severn valleys.