West Country

West Country

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 definitions include even wider areas.


The area is mostly rural, with only a few sizeable cities, such as Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth 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, 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.

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.

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 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.

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. [cite web | url= http://www.farmhousecheesemakers.co.uk/pdo-our-provenance/ | publisher= West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers | title= PDO - our provenance | accessdate= 2008-09-20]

Counties and unitary authorities

**Isles of Scilly
**South Gloucestershire
**Bath and North East Somerset
**North Somerset

Notable towns and cities

*Lyme Regis
*St Austell
Cities in bold.

Places of interest

* Avebury
* Bodmin Moor
* Cherhill White Horse
* Dartmoor
* Exmoor
* Glastonbury Tor
* Jurassic Coast
* Mendip Hills, including Cheddar Gorge
* South West Coast
* Stonehenge
* West Country Carnival

ee also

*West of England
*Scrumpy and Western music


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • West Country — West Country. West Country es un término informal para la zona suroeste de Inglaterra, que corresponde aproximadamente con la región del Sudoeste de Inglaterra. Abarca los condados de Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset y Somerset, incluso los condados …   Wikipedia Español

  • West Country — West .Country n the West Country the parts of England that are furthest south and west, especially Devon and Cornwall …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • West Country — Carte anglaise montrant une interprétation de la converture géographique du West Country Le West Country est le nom informel d une région au sud ouest de l Angleterre. Elle inclut les comtés les plus à l ouest de la région administrative de l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • West Country — South West England Geographie Fläche: 23.829 km² Verwaltungssitz: Plymouth Demografie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • West Country — noun the West Country the south west part of England …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • West Country — /ˈwɛst kʌntri/ (say west kuntree) noun the counties in the south west of England …   Australian English dictionary

  • West Country — the name often used to refer to the south west of Britain, particularly the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. * * * …   Universalium

  • West Country — noun The South West of England, especialy Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset …   Wiktionary

  • West Country — Southwestern England Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorset, Somerset …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • west country — southwestern region of England …   English contemporary dictionary

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