West Country: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One interpretation of the West Country, shown on this map as identical to the South West region of England

The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are also often included. Some usages of the term include even wider areas, while others are more specific though with little consistency of definition.



The area is mostly rural, with only a few sizeable towns and cities, such as Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Swindon and Gloucester. Tourism and agriculture, especially dairy farming, play a significant role in the economy. The landscape is principally granite moorland in the west, and chalk and limestone downland and clay vales in the east. Historically, tin mining and the fishery were sources of income and employment in the west of the area, but less so today, although the latter still contributes to the economy. The region is traditionally famous for its production of cider, clotted cream and pasties, but now at least equally well known for the Glastonbury Festival and other attractions.

Area boundaries

Apart from the Bristol Channel and English Channel, as with any informal area, the West Country's boundaries are difficult to define and as a consequence there are a number of different definitions used.

Some groups use the term as roughly synonymous with the South West Region,[1][2][3] while others use it more specifically to refer to either the northern part of the region,[4] or the southwestern part. The term is also used, for example, to refer to sports matches between such cities as Gloucester and Bath.[5] West Country Carnival events take place in Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset.

The "West Country" edition of the 2005 BBC TV series Seven Natural Wonders featured "wonders" in Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire (Symonds Yat), but not those in Devon or Cornwall which were the subject of a separate programme on the "South West", nor Dorset which was covered in a programme on "The South".

The West Country Clothing District was an area that made woollen cloth, but only part of the region described above. It covered east Somerset and parts of the counties of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and at some periods extended into Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The clothing district around Tiverton and Exeter in Devon and west Somerset tended to make different kinds of cloth and is best regarded as distinct.

"West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) that can only be applied to Cheddar cheese made in the traditional way in the four counties of Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall.[6]

Westcountry Television is an ITV franchisee covering Devon, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and areas of Somerset and Dorset.


West Country and Wessex

The term "West Country" is sometimes associated with the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Wessex Regionalists seek to promote this as an alternative to the South-West region, including some counties in central southern England - Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight - and excluding Devon and Cornwall which equate to historic Brythonic kingdom of Dumnonia.

Counties and unitary authorities

The following counties and unitary authorities are included within the most usual definitions of West Country:

Notable towns and cities

Cities in bold.

Places of interest

See also


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see South West (disambiguation).

The West Country is an unofficial name for southwest region of England.

Map of the West Country
Map of the West Country

The following counties are generally considered to form the West Country:

The Isles of Scilly
  • Stonehenge - the most famous prehistoric standing stones in the world, and a World Heritage site
  • The Forest of Dean - the "Queen of Forests", one of England's few remaining ancient forests
  • Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks
  • Dartmouth - a popular destination for holiday makers and home to the Royal Naval College
  • Land's End - where Cornwall tumbles into the Atlantic
  • The White Horses of Wiltshire - white horses created by removing the grass on hills to reveal the white chalk underneath. Most are a few hundred years old, although the Uffington White Horse is at least 3,000 years old
  • The Dorset and East Devon Coast is designated a World Heritage site
  • The New Forest - Created as a royal forest in 1079 by William the Conqueror for the hunting of (mainly) deer.


The South West with its long Jurassic coastline is a haven for tourists and so many tourist attractions can be found here. One of the most popular attractions is Crealy Great Adventure Parks[1], two Theme Parks in Devon and Cornwall.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

West Country


West Country

  1. The South West of England, especialy Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset


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