Towns in
Gloucestershire, a west Midland county, situated upon  the estuary of the Severn, and bounded north and north-east by Herefordshire,  Worcestershire, and Warwickshire; by Oxfordshire; south by Berks, Wilts, and  Somerset; and west by Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, and the estuary of the  Severn; greatest length, south-west to north-east 54 miles; greatest breadth,  north-west to south-east, 33 miles; area, 783,699 acres; population 572,433. The  face of the county shows varied aspects, of which the most distinctive are the  Cotswold Hills, in the east; the valley of the Severn, in the middle; and the  Forest of Dean, in the west. Besides the Severn there are numerous important  rivers, such as the Avon, Lower Avon, Wye, Thames, and Windrush. The canal  system has been largely developed, and several important water-ways of that  description pass through the county. Agriculture forms the leading occupation of  the rural population; in the hills sheep-farming receives attention; while the  rich valley of the Severn has long been famed for the superiority of its  products. ToddingtonIts luxuriant pastures especially have originated and supported a  great industry in the shape of dairy farms which produce the celebrated Glo'ster  cheese. In the west of the county are 2 great coal fields - the Forest of Dean  on the north, and the Bristol coal-field on the west. Other minerals are gypsum,  barytes, quartz, limestone, and freestone. The manufactures are mostly woollen  and cotton stuffs, but at Bristol there are also large hardware manufactures."  (Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887.)Introduction To The Countryside