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South West England
England
is one of nine official regions of England. It is the largest in area, covering 9,200 square miles (23,800 km2),[1] and consists of the counties of Gloucestershire, Bristol, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon
Devon
and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly. Five million people live in South West England. The region includes the West Country
West Country
and much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth, Swindon, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath, Torbay, and the South East Dorset
Dorset
conurbation which includes Bournemouth, Poole
Poole
and Christchurch. There are eight cities: Salisbury, Bath, Wells, Bristol, Gloucester, Exeter, Plymouth
Plymouth
and Truro. It includes two entire national parks, Dartmoor
Dartmoor
and Exmoor
Exmoor
(a small part of the New Forest
New Forest
is also within the region); and four World Heritage Sites, including Stonehenge
Stonehenge
and the Jurassic Coast. The northern part of Gloucestershire, near Chipping Campden, is as close to the Scottish border as it is to the tip of Cornwall.[2] The region has by far the longest coastline in England
England
and many seaside fishing towns. The region is at the first-level of NUTS for Eurostat
Eurostat
purposes. Key data and facts about the region are produced by the South West Observatory. Following the abolition of the South West Regional Assembly and Government Office, local government co-ordination across the region is now undertaken by South West Councils. The region is known for its rich folklore, including the legend of King Arthur
King Arthur
and Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Tor, as well as its traditions and customs. Cornwall
Cornwall
has its own language, Cornish, and some regard it as a Celtic nation. The South West is known for Cheddar cheese, which originated in the Somerset
Somerset
village of Cheddar; Devon
Devon
cream teas, crabs, Cornish pasties, and cider. It is home to the Eden Project, Aardman Animations, the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, trip hop music and Cornwall's surfing beaches. The region has also been home to some of Britain's most renowned writers, including Daphne du Maurier
Daphne du Maurier
and Agatha Christie, both of whom set many of their works here, and the South West is also the location of Thomas Hardy's Wessex, the setting for many of his best-known novels.

Contents

1 Geography

1.1 Geology and landscape 1.2 Climate 1.3 Regional identity 1.4 Settlements 1.5 Transport

2 History

2.1 Pre-Roman 2.2 Roman period 2.3 British kingdoms and the arrival of the Saxons 2.4 9th century and the arrival of the Danes 2.5 11th century 2.6 Middle Ages 2.7 16th century 2.8 17th century 2.9 Modern history 2.10 World War II 2.11 Scientific heritage 2.12 Industrial heritage

3 Demographics

3.1 Housing 3.2 Teenage pregnancy 3.3 Health 3.4 Crime 3.5 Deprivation

4 Language 5 Economy and industry

5.1 Cornwall 5.2 Devon 5.3 Dorset 5.4 Gloucestershire 5.5 Somerset 5.6 Wiltshire

6 Subdivisions

6.1 Local government 6.2 Eurostat
Eurostat
NUTS

7 South West Regional Assembly 8 Politics

8.1 Elections

9 Education

9.1 Schools 9.2 Secondary education 9.3 Further education 9.4 Higher education

10 Local media 11 Sport

11.1 Football

12 References 13 External links

Geography[edit]

England

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England
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European Parliament
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v t e

High Willhays
High Willhays
on Dartmoor, Devon, the region's highest point.

Geology and landscape[edit] Most of the region is located on the South West Peninsula, between the English Channel
English Channel
and Bristol
Bristol
Channel. It has the longest coastline of all the English regions, totalling over 700 miles (1,130 km).[3] Much of the coast is now protected from further substantial development because of its environmental importance, which contributes to the region's attractiveness to tourists and residents. Geologically the region is divided into the largely igneous and metamorphic west and sedimentary east, the dividing line slightly to the west of the River Exe.[4] Cornwall
Cornwall
and West Devon's landscape is of rocky coastline and high moorland, notably at Bodmin Moor
Bodmin Moor
and Dartmoor. These are due to the granite and slate that underlie the area. The highest point of the region is High Willhays, at 2,038 feet (621 m), on Dartmoor.[5] In North Devon
Devon
the slates of the west and limestones of the east meet at Exmoor
Exmoor
National Park. The variety of rocks of similar ages seen here have led to the county's name being lent to that of the Devonian
Devonian
period. The east of the region is characterised by wide, flat clay vales and chalk and limestone downland. The vales, with good irrigation, are home to the region's dairy agriculture. The Blackmore Vale
Blackmore Vale
was Thomas Hardy's "Vale of the Little Dairies";[6] another, the Somerset
Somerset
Levels was created by reclaiming wetlands.[7] The Southern England
England
Chalk Formation extends into the region, creating a series of high, sparsely populated and archaeologically rich downs, most famously Salisbury Plain, but also Cranborne Chase, the Dorset
Dorset
Downs and the Purbeck Hills. These downs are the principal area of arable agriculture in the region. Limestone
Limestone
is also found in the region, at the Cotswolds, Quantock Hills
Quantock Hills
and Mendip
Mendip
Hills, where they support sheep farming.[8] All of the principal rock types can be seen on the Jurassic Coast
Jurassic Coast
of Dorset
Dorset
and East Devon, where they document the entire Mesozoic
Mesozoic
era from west to east.[9] Climate[edit] Main article: Climate of south-west England The climate of South West England
England
is classed as oceanic (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification. The oceanic climate typically experiences cool winters with warmer summers and precipitation all year round, with more experienced in winter. Annual rainfall is about 1,000 millimetres (39 in) and up to 2,000 millimetres (79 in) on higher ground.[10] Summer maxima averages range from 18 °C (64 °F) to 22 °C (72 °F) and winter minimum averages range from 1 °C (34 °F) to 4 °C (39 °F) across the south-west.[10] It is the second windiest area of the United Kingdom, the majority of winds coming from the south-west and north-east.[10] Government organisations predict the region to rise in temperature and become the hottest region in the United Kingdom.[11] Inland areas of low altitude experience the least amount of precipitation. They experience the highest summer maxima temperatures, but winter minima are colder than the coast. Snowfalls are more frequent in comparison to the coast, but less so in comparison to higher ground.[10] It experiences the lowest wind speeds and sunshine total in between that of the coast and the moors. The climate of inland areas is more noticeable the further north-east into the region. In comparison to inland areas, the coast experiences high minimum temperatures, especially in winter, and it experiences slightly lower maximum temperatures during the summer. Rainfall is the lowest at the coast and snowfall is rarer than the rest of the region. Coastal areas are the windiest parts of the peninsula and they receive the most sunshine. The general coastal climate is more typical the further south-west into the region. Areas of moorland inland such as: Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor
Dartmoor
and Exmoor experience lower temperatures and more precipitation than the rest of the south west (approximately twice as much rainfall as lowland areas), because of their high altitude. Both of these factors also cause it to experience the highest levels of snowfall and the lowest levels of sunshine. Exposed areas of the moors are windier than lowlands and can be almost as windy as the coast. Regional identity[edit] The boundaries of the South West region are based upon those devised by central government in the 1930s for civil defence administration, and subsequently used for various statistical analyses. The region is also similar to that used in the 17th-century Rule of the Major-Generals under Cromwell. (For further information, see Historical and alternative regions of England). By the 1960s, the South West region (including Dorset, which for some previous purposes had been included in a Southern region), was widely recognised for government administration and statistics. The boundaries were carried forward into the 1990s, when regional administrations were formally established as Government Office
Government Office
Regions. A regional assembly and regional development agency were created in 1999, then abolished in 2008 and 2012 respectively. It has been argued that the official South West region does not possess a cultural and historic unity or identity of itself, which has led to criticism of it as an "artificial" construct. The large area of the region, stretching as it does from the Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
to Gloucestershire, encompasses diverse areas which have little more in common with each other than they do with other areas of England. The region has several TV stations and newspapers based in different areas, and no single acknowledged regional "capital". Many people of the region have some level of a 'South West', or 'West Country' regional identity, although this may not necessarily correspond to an identification with the official government-defined region. It is common for people in the region to identify at a national level (whether English, British, Cornish, and/or a county or city/town level). Identifying as being from 'the Westcountry', amorphous though it is, tends to be more predominant further into the peninsula where the status of being from the region is less equivocal.[12][13] In particular, Cornwall's inclusion in the region is disputed by Cornish nationalists.[14] The cross-party Cornish Constitutional Convention and Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow
Mebyon Kernow
have campaigned for a Cornish Assembly
Cornish Assembly
ever since the idea of regional devolution was put forward. Settlements[edit]

Pulteney Bridge
Pulteney Bridge
in Bath, Somerset: the entire city is a World Heritage Site.

The South West region is largely rural, with small towns and villages; a higher proportion of people live in such areas than in any other English region. The largest cities and towns are Bristol, Plymouth, Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and Poole
Poole
(which together with Christchurch make up the South East Dorset
Dorset
conurbation), Swindon, Torbay, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Exeter, Bath, Weston-super-Mare, Taunton, Salisbury, and Weymouth. The population of the South West is about five million.[15] Transport[edit] The region lies on several main line railways. The Great Western Main Line runs from London
London
to Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth
Plymouth
and Penzance
Penzance
in the far west of Cornwall. The South Western Main Line
South Western Main Line
runs from London
London
and Southampton
Southampton
to Bournemouth, Poole
Poole
and Weymouth in Dorset. The West of England
England
Main Line runs from London
London
to Exeter
Exeter
via south Wiltshire, north Dorset
Dorset
and south Somerset. The Wessex
Wessex
Main Line runs from Bristol
Bristol
to Salisbury
Salisbury
and on to Southampton. The Heart of Wessex
Wessex
Line runs from Bristol
Bristol
in the north of the region to Weymouth on the south Dorset
Dorset
coast via Westbury, Castle Cary
Castle Cary
and Yeovil, with most services starting at Gloucester. The vast majority of trains in the region are operated by South Western Railway, Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
and CrossCountry. GWR is the key operator for all counties in the region except Dorset
Dorset
(the key operator for Dorset
Dorset
is South Western Railway). South West Trains operate services to and from London Waterloo
London Waterloo
and serves every county in the region except Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and Cornwall
Cornwall
(they no longer operate west of Exeter
Exeter
as of 2009). Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
serves all counties in the region and operate diesel high-speed trains to various destinations, some of which run to South Wales
Wales
and the West Midlands, though almost all intercity trains operated by GWR run through the region. CrossCountry
CrossCountry
operates services to Manchester Piccadilly and the Scottish Lowlands. Dorset
Dorset
is currently the only county in the region where there are electric trains, though there are official plans to electrify the Great Western Main Line
Great Western Main Line
and the South Wales Main Line in Wiltshire, Somerset, Greater Bristol
Bristol
and Gloucestershire. Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva Trains Wales
also operates services between Maesteg and Cheltenham
Cheltenham
Spa and London Midland
London Midland
operates a parliamentary train between Worcester Shrub Hill and Gloucester
Gloucester
(there was once a regular service on the route, but this was withdrawn in 2009). The Exeter
Exeter
to Plymouth
Plymouth
railway of the LSWR needs to be reopened to connect Cornwall
Cornwall
and Plymouth
Plymouth
to the rest of the UK railway system on an all weather basis. There are proposals to reopen the line from Tavistock to Bere Alston for a through service to Plymouth.[16] On the night of 4 February 2014, amid high winds and extremely rough seas, part of the sea wall at Dawlish
Dawlish
was breached washing away around 40 metres (130 ft) of the wall and the ballast under the railway immediately behind. The line was closed. Network Rail
Network Rail
began repair work [17] and the line reopened on 4 April 2014.[18] In the wake of widespread disruption caused by damage to the mainline track at Dawlish
Dawlish
by coastal storms in February 2014, Network Rail
Network Rail
are considering reopening the Tavistock to Okehampton
Okehampton
and Exeter
Exeter
section of the line as an alternative to the coastal route.[19]

M5 looking north towards Avonmouth

Three major roads enter the region from the east. The M4 motorway
M4 motorway
from London
London
to South Wales
Wales
via Bristol
Bristol
is the busiest. The A303 cuts through the centre of the region from Salisbury
Salisbury
to Honiton, where it merges with the A30 to continue past Exeter
Exeter
to the west of Cornwall. The A31, an extension of the M27, serves Poole
Poole
and Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and the Dorset
Dorset
coast. The M5 runs from the West Midlands through Gloucestershire, Bristol
Bristol
and Somerset
Somerset
to Exeter. The A38 serves as a western extension to Plymouth. There are three other smaller motorways in the region, all in the Bristol
Bristol
area. Passenger airports in the region include Bristol, Exeter, Newquay and Bournemouth. Within the region the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a Local Transport Plan (LTP) which outlines their strategies, policies and implementation programme.[20] The most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the South West region the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Bournemouth
Bournemouth
U.A.,[21] Cornwall
Cornwall
U.A.,[22] Devon,[23] Dorset,[24] Gloucestershire,[25] Plymouth
Plymouth
U.A.,[26] Somerset,[27] Swindon
Swindon
U. A.,[28] Torbay
Torbay
U. A.[29] and Wiltshire
Wiltshire
unitary authority.[30] The transport authorities of Bath and North East Somerset
Somerset
U. A., Bristol
Bristol
U. A., North Somerset
Somerset
U. A. and South Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
U. A. publish a single Joint Local Transport Plan as part of the West of England
England
Partnership.[31] History[edit] Pre-Roman[edit]

Stonehenge

There is evidence from flint artefacts in a quarry at Westbury-sub-Mendip
Westbury-sub-Mendip
that an ancestor of modern man, possibly Homo heidelbergensis, was present in the future Somerset
Somerset
from around 500,000 years ago.[32] There is some evidence of human occupation of southern England
England
before the last ice age, such as at Kents Cavern
Kents Cavern
in Devon, but largely in the south east. The British mainland was connected to the continent during the ice age and humans may have repeatedly migrated into and out of the region as the climate fluctuated. There is evidence of human habitation in the caves at Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
11,000–10,000 years BC, during a partial thaw in the ice age. The earliest scientifically dated cemetery in Great Britain was found at Aveline's Hole
Aveline's Hole
in the Mendip
Mendip
Hills. The human bone fragments it contained, from about 21 different individuals, are thought to be roughly between 10,200 and 10,400 years old.[33] During this time the tundra gave way to birch forests and grassland and evidence for human settlement appears at Salisbury
Salisbury
Plain, Wiltshire and Hengistbury Head, Dorset. At the end of the last Ice Age the Bristol
Bristol
Channel was dry land, but subsequently the sea level rose, resulting in major coastal changes. The Somerset
Somerset
Levels were flooded, but the dry points such as Glastonbury
Glastonbury
and Brent Knoll
Brent Knoll
are known to have been occupied by Mesolithic
Mesolithic
hunters.[34] The landscape at this time was tundra. Britain's oldest complete skeleton, Cheddar Man, lived at Cheddar Gorge around 7150 BC (in the Upper Palaeolithic
Upper Palaeolithic
or Old Stone Age), shortly after the end of the ice age;[35] however, it is unclear whether the region was continuously inhabited during the previous 4000 years, or if humans returned to the gorge after a final cold spell. A Palaeolithic
Palaeolithic
flint tool found in West Sedgemoor
Sedgemoor
is the earliest indication of human presence on the Somerset
Somerset
Levels.[36] During the 7th millennium BC the sea level rose and flooded the valleys, so the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
people occupied seasonal camps on the higher ground, indicated by scatters of flints.[36] The Neolithic
Neolithic
people continued to exploit the reed swamps for their natural resources and started to construct wooden trackways. These included the Post Track and the Sweet Track. The Sweet Track, dating from the 39th century BC, is thought to be the world's oldest timber trackway and was once thought to be the world's oldest engineered roadway.[7] The Levels were also the location of the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Lake Village as well as two lake villages at Meare.[37] Stonehenge
Stonehenge
and Avebury
Avebury
are perhaps the most famous Neolithic
Neolithic
sites in the UK. The region was heavily populated during the Neolithic, Bronze Age
Bronze Age
and Iron Age
Iron Age
periods. Many monuments, barrows and trackways exist. Coin evidence shows that the region was split between the Durotriges, Dobunni
Dobunni
and Dumnonii. The Iron Age
Iron Age
tribe in Dorset
Dorset
were the Durotriges, "water dwellers", whose main settlement is represented by Maiden Castle. Ptolemy
Ptolemy
stated that Bath was in the territory of the Belgae,[38] but this may be a mistake.[39] The Celtic gods were worshipped at the temple of Sulis
Sulis
at Bath and possibly the temple on Brean Down. Iron Age
Iron Age
sites on the Quantock Hills
Quantock Hills
include major hill forts at Dowsborough
Dowsborough
and Ruborough, as well as smaller earthwork enclosures, such as Trendle Ring, Elworthy Barrows
Elworthy Barrows
and Plainsfield Camp. At the time of the Roman invasion, the inhabitants of the entire area spoke a Brythonic Celtic language. Its descendant languages are still spoken to a greater or lesser extent in Cornwall, Wales, and Brittany.[40] Roman period[edit]

Silbury Hill
Silbury Hill
– Europe's largest man-made earthwork

During the Roman era, the east of the region, particularly the Cotswolds
Cotswolds
and eastern Somerset, was heavily Romanised but Devon
Devon
and Cornwall
Cornwall
were much less so, though Exeter
Exeter
was a regional capital. There are villas, farms and temples dating from the period, including the remains at Bath. The area of Somerset
Somerset
was part of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
from AD 47 to about AD 409.[41] The empire disintegrated gradually, and elements of Romanitas lingered on for perhaps a century. In AD 47, Somerset
Somerset
was invaded from the south-east by the Second Legion Augusta, under the future emperor Vespasian. The hillforts of the Durotriges
Durotriges
at Ham Hill and Cadbury Castle were captured. Ham Hill probably had a temporary Roman occupation. The massacre at Cadbury Castle seems to have been associated with the later Boudiccan Revolt of AD 60–61.[34]

A 19th-century Photochrom
Photochrom
of the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset

The Roman invasion, and possibly the preceding period of involvement in the internal affairs of the south of England, was inspired in part by the lead mines of the Mendip
Mendip
Hills, which also offered the potential for the extraction of silver.[42][43] Forts were set up at Bath and Ilchester. The lead and silver mines at Charterhouse in the Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
were run by the military. The Romans established a defensive boundary along the new military road known the Fosse Way (from the Latin fossa meaning "ditch"). The Fosse Way
Fosse Way
ran through Bath, Shepton Mallet, Ilchester
Ilchester
and south-west towards Axminster. The road from Dorchester ran through Yeovil
Yeovil
to meet the Fosse Way
Fosse Way
at Ilchester. Salt was produced on the Somerset
Somerset
Levels near Highbridge and quarrying took place near Bath, named after the Roman baths.[44] Excavations carried out before the flooding of Chew Valley
Valley
Lake also uncovered Roman remains, indicating agricultural and industrial activity from the second half of the 1st century until the 3rd century AD. The finds included a moderately large villa at Chew Park,[45] where wooden writing tablets (the first in the UK) with ink writing were found. There is also evidence from the Pagans Hill Roman Temple at Chew Stoke.[45][46] In October 2001 the West Bagborough Hoard
West Bagborough Hoard
of 4th-century Roman silver was discovered in West Bagborough. The 681 coins included two denarii from the early 2nd century and 8 miliarensia and 671 siliquae all dating from AD 337 to 367. The majority were struck in the reigns of emperors Constantius II
Constantius II
and Julian and derive from a range of mints including Arles
Arles
and Lyons in France, Trier
Trier
in Germany, and Rome.[47] In April 2010, the Frome Hoard, one of the largest ever hoards of Roman coins discovered in Britain, was found by a metal detectorist. The hoard of 52,500 coins dated from the 3rd century AD and was found buried in a field near Frome, in a jar 14 inches (36 cm) below the surface.[48] The coins were excavated by archaeologists from the Portable Antiquities Scheme.[49] British kingdoms and the arrival of the Saxons[edit]

Maes Knoll
Maes Knoll
the western end of Wansdyke

Main articles: Wessex
Wessex
and Constitutional status of Cornwall After the Romans left at the start of the 5th century AD, the region split into several British kingdoms, including Dumnonia, centred around the old tribal territory of the Dumnonii.[50] The upper Thames area soon came under Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
control but the remainder of the region was in British control until the 6th century.[51][52] Bokerley Dyke, a large defensive ditch on Cranborne Chase
Cranborne Chase
dated to 367, delayed the Saxon conquest of Dorset, with the Romano-British
Romano-British
remaining in Dorset
Dorset
for 200 years after the withdrawal of the Roman legions. The Western Wandsdyke earthwork was probably built during the 5th or 6th century. This area became the border between the Romano-British
Romano-British
Celts and the West Saxons following the Battle of Deorham
Battle of Deorham
in 577.[53] The Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
then gained control of the Cotswold area; but most of Somerset, Dorset
Dorset
and Devon
Devon
(as well as Cornwall) remained in British hands until the late 7th century. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Saxon Cenwalh achieved a breakthrough against the British Celtic tribes, with victories at Bradford-on-Avon
Bradford-on-Avon
(in the Avon Gap in the Wansdyke) in 652,[54] and further south at the Battle of Peonnum (at Penselwood) in 658,[55] followed by an advance west through the Polden Hills
Polden Hills
to the River Parrett.[56] The Saxon advance from the east seems to have been halted by battles between the British and Saxons, for example at the siege of Badon Mons Badonicus (which may mave been in the Bath district, perhaps at Solsbury Hill),[57] or Bathampton Down.[58] The Battle of Bedwyn
Bedwyn
was fought in 675 between Escuin, a West Saxon nobleman who had seized the throne of Queen Saxburga, and King Wulfhere
King Wulfhere
of Mercia.[59] The earliest fortification of Taunton
Taunton
started for King Ine of Wessex
Wessex
and Æthelburg, in or about the year 710. However, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
this was destroyed 12 years later.[60] Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
refortified Exeter
Exeter
as a defensive burh, followed by new erections at Lydford, Halwell
Halwell
and Pilton, although these fortifications were small compared to burhs further east, suggesting that they were protection for the elite only. 9th century and the arrival of the Danes[edit] The English defeated a combined Cornish and Danish force at Hingston Down (near Gunnislake) in 838.[61] Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
built similarly at Barnstaple
Barnstaple
and Totnes. But sporadic Viking
Viking
incursions continued until the Norman Conquest, including the disastrous defeat of the Devonians at the Battle of Pinhoe. In 876 King Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
trapped a Danish fleet at Arne and then drove it out; 120 ships were wrecked at Studland.[62] Although King Alfred had lands in Cornwall, it continued to have a British king. It is generally considered that Cornwall
Cornwall
came fully under the dominion of the English Crown in the time of Athelstan's rule, i.e. 924–939.[63] In the absence of any specific documentation to record this event, supporters of Cornwall's English status presume that it then became part of England. However, in 944, within a mere five years of Athelstan's death, King Edmund issued a charter styling himself "King of the English and ruler of this province of the Britons". Thus we can see that then the "province" was a territorial possession, which has long claimed a special relationship to the English Crown.[64]

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle
in 978 saw the murder of King Edward the Martyr, whose body was taken first to Wareham and then to Shaftesbury. Somerset played an important part in stopping the spread of the Danes in the 9th century. Viking
Viking
raids took place for instance in 987 and 997 at Watchet[65] and the Battle of Cynwit. King Alfred was driven to seek refuge from the Danes at Athelney before defeating them in 878 at the Battle of Ethandun, usually considered to be near Edington, Wiltshire, but possibly the village of Edington in Somerset. Alfred established a series of forts and lookout posts linked by a military road, or Herepath, to allow his army to cover Viking
Viking
movements at sea. The Herepath
Herepath
has a characteristic form which is familiar on the Quantocks: a regulation 20 m wide track between avenues of trees growing from hedge laying embankments. A peace treaty with the Danes was signed at Wedmore and the Danish king Guthrum the Old
Guthrum the Old
was baptised at Aller. Burhs (fortified places) had been set up by 919, such as Lyng. The Alfred Jewel, an object about 2.5-inch (64 mm) long, made of filigree gold, cloisonné-enamelled and with a rock crystal covering, was found in 1693 at Petherton Park, North Petherton.[66] This is believed to have been owned by King Alfred.[67] Monasteries
Monasteries
and minster churches were set up all over Somerset, with daughter churches of the minsters in manors. There was a royal palace at Cheddar, which was used at times in the 10th century to host the Witenagemot.[68]

Sweyn Forkbeard

11th century[edit] In the late pre-Norman period, the east coast of modern-day England came under the growing sway of the Norsemen. Eventually England
England
came to be ruled by Norse monarchs, and the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
kingdoms fell one by one, Wessex
Wessex
being conquered in 1013 by King Sweyn Forkbeard.[69][70][71] Sweyn's realms included Denmark
Denmark
and Norway, and parts of England
England
such as Mercia
Mercia
(an Anglian kingdom roughly coinciding with the English Midlands), much of which, along with northern England, fell under the Danelaw. Sweyn ruled Wessex, along with his other realms, from 1013 onwards, followed by his son Canute the Great. But Cornwall
Cornwall
was not part of his realm of Wessex. A map by the American historian called "The Dominions of Canute" (pictured just above) shows that Cornwall, like Wales
Wales
and Scotland, was part neither of Sweyn Forkbeard's nor of Canute's Danish empire. Neither Sweyn Forkbeard nor Canute conquered or controlled Scotland, Wales
Wales
or Cornwall; but these areas were "client nations": subject to payment of a yearly tribute or danegeld to Sweyn and later Canute, all three areas retained their autonomy from the Danes. Ultimately, the Danes lost control of Wessex
Wessex
in 1042 on the death of both of Canute's sons. Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor
retook Wessex
Wessex
for the Saxons.[72] In 1016 Edmund Ironside was crowned king at Glastonbury.[73] Middle Ages[edit]

The statue of Sir Francis Drake
Francis Drake
(1540–1596) on Plymouth
Plymouth
Hoe

After the Norman Conquest the region was controlled by various Norman as well as Breton lords and later by local gentry, a few of whom appear to have been descended from pre-Conquest families. In 1140, during the civil war of King Stephen's reign, the castles of Plympton and Exeter
Exeter
were held against the king by Baldwin de Redvers and this gave rise to the defensive castles at Corfe Castle, Powerstock, Wareham and Shaftesbury. The period saw the growth of towns such as Truro, Totnes, Okehampton
Okehampton
and Plympton
Plympton
in the west of the region, but these were small compared with the established wealth of ancient cathedral cities in the east of the region such as Exeter, Bath and Wells. Wealth grew from sheep farming in the east of the region: church controlled estates such as Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Abbey and Wells became among the richest in England, while tin and silver mining was important in Devon
Devon
and Cornwall; Stannary Parliaments with semi-autonomous powers were established. Farming prospered until it was severely hit by the Black Death
Black Death
which arrived in Dorset
Dorset
in 1348 and quickly spread through Somerset, causing widespread death, with mortality rates perhaps as high as 50% in places. The resulting labour shortage led to changes in feudal practices. Crafts and industries also flourished; the Somerset
Somerset
woollen industry was then one of the largest in England.[74] Coal mining in the Mendips was an important source of wealth while quarrying also took place. Many parish churches were rebuilt in this period. Between 1107 and 1129 William Giffard, the Chancellor of King Henry I, converted the bishop's hall in Taunton
Taunton
into Taunton
Taunton
Castle. His successor, Henry of Blois, transformed the manor house here into a mighty castle in 1138.[75] Bridgwater Castle
Bridgwater Castle
was built in 1202 by William Brewer.[76] It passed to the king in 1233[77] and in 1245 repairs were ordered to its motte and towers. During the 11th-century Second Barons' War against Henry III, Bridgwater was held by the barons against the King. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
sheep farming for the wool trade came to dominate the economy of Exmoor. The wool was spun into thread on isolated farms and collected by merchants to be woven, fulled, dyed and finished in thriving towns such as Dunster. The land started to be enclosed and from the 17th century onwards larger estates developed, leading to establishment of areas of large regular shaped fields. During this period a Royal Forest
Royal Forest
and hunting ground was established, administered by the Warden. The Royal Forest
Royal Forest
was sold off in 1818.[78]

Fowey
Fowey
harbour

Where conditions were suitable, coastal villages and ports had an economy based on fishing. The larger ports such as Fowey
Fowey
contributed vessels to the naval enterprises of the King and were subject to attack from the French in return. Bridgwater was part of the Port of Bristol
Bristol
until the Port of Bridgwater was created in 1348,[65] covering 80 miles (130 km) of the Somerset
Somerset
coast line, from the Devon border to the mouth of the River Axe.[79][80] Historically, the main port on the river was at Bridgwater; the river being bridged at this point, with the first bridge being constructed in 1200.[81] Quays were built in 1424; with another quay, the Langport
Langport
slip, being built in 1488 upstream of the Town Bridge.[82] In Bristol
Bristol
the port began to develop in the 11th century.[83] By the 12th century Bristol
Bristol
was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland. During this period Bristol
Bristol
also became a centre of shipbuilding and manufacturing. Bristol
Bristol
was the starting point for many important voyages, notably John Cabot's 1497 voyage of exploration to North America.[84] By the 14th century Bristol
Bristol
was one of England's three largest medieval towns after London, along with York
York
and Norwich, with perhaps 15,000–20,000 inhabitants on the eve of the Black Death
Black Death
of 1348–49.[85] The plague resulted in a prolonged pause in the growth of Bristol's population, with numbers remaining at 10,000–12,000 through most of the 15th and 16th centuries.[86]

Perkin Warbeck

During the Wars of the Roses, there were frequent skirmishes between the Lancastrian Earl of Devon
Devon
and Yorkist Lord Bonville. In 1470, Edward IV pursued Warwick and Clarence as far as Exeter
Exeter
after the Battle of Lose-coat Field. The organisation of the region remained based on the shires and Church estates, which were largely unchanged throughout the period. In 1497, early in Henry VII's reign, the Royal pretender Perkin Warbeck, besieged Exeter. The Cornish Rebellion of 1497 led by An Gof
An Gof
and Thomas Flamank
Thomas Flamank
ended in a march to Blackheath in London
London
where the Cornish forces were massacred. 16th century[edit] Great disturbances throughout both Cornwall
Cornwall
and Devon
Devon
followed the introduction of Edward VI's Book
Book
of Common Prayer. The day after Whit Sunday 1549, a priest at Sampford Courtenay
Sampford Courtenay
was persuaded to read the old mass.[87] This insubordination spread swiftly into serious revolt. The Cornish quickly joined the men of Devon
Devon
in the Prayer Book Rebellion and Exeter
Exeter
was besieged until relieved by Lord Russell.[88] The Cornish had a particular motivation for opposing the new English language prayer book, as there were still many monoglot Cornish speakers in West Cornwall. The Cornish language
Cornish language
declined rapidly afterwards and the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Monasteries
resulted in the eventual loss of the Cornish language
Cornish language
as a primary language. By the end of the 18th century it was no longer a first language. The Council of the West was a short-lived administrative body established by Henry VIII for the government of the western counties of England. It was analogous in form to the Council of the North. The Council was established in March 1539, with Lord Russell as its Lord President. Members included Thomas Derby, Sir Piers Edgcumbe, Sir Richard Pollard and John Rowe. However, the fall of Thomas Cromwell, the chief political supporter of government by Councils, and the tranquillity of the western counties made it largely superfluous. It last sat in summer 1540, although it was never formally abolished.[89] 17th century[edit] The Bristol
Bristol
Channel floods of 1607 are believed to have affected large parts of the Somerset
Somerset
Levels, with flooding up to 8 feet (2 m) above sea level.[90][91] In 1625, a House of Correction was established in Shepton Mallet, and when it closed HMP Shepton Mallet was England's oldest prison still in use.[92][93] During the English Civil War, Somerset
Somerset
was largely Parliamentarian, although Dunster
Dunster
was a Royalist stronghold. The county saw important battles between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, notably at Lansdowne in 1643 and Langport
Langport
in 1645.[94] Bristol
Bristol
was occupied by Royalist military, after they overran Royal Fort, the last Parliamentarian stronghold in the city.[86] Taunton
Taunton
Castle had fallen into ruin by 1600 but it was repaired during the Civil War.[75] The castle changed hands several times during 1642–45 along with the town.[95] During the Siege of Taunton
Taunton
it was defended by Robert Blake, from July 1644 to July 1645. After the war, in 1662, the keep was demolished and only the base remains.[75] This war resulted in castles being slighted (destroyed to prevent their re-use).[96]

James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth

In 1685, the Duke of Monmouth led the Monmouth Rebellion
Monmouth Rebellion
in which a force partly raised in Somerset
Somerset
fought against James II. The rebels landed at Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis
and travelled north hoping to capture Bristol
Bristol
and Bath, Puritan soldiers damaged the west front of Wells Cathedral, tore lead from the roof to make bullets, broke the windows, smashed the organ and the furnishings, and for a time stabled their horses in the nave.[97] They were defeated in the Battle of Sedgemoor
Battle of Sedgemoor
at Westonzoyland, the last battle fought on English soil.[98] The Bloody Assizes which followed saw the losers being sentenced to death or transportation.[99] At the time of the Glorious Revolution, King James II gathered his main forces, altogether about 19,000 men, at Salisbury, James himself arriving there on 19 November 1688. The first blood was shed at the Wincanton Skirmish in Somerset. In Salisbury, James heard that some of his officers, such as Edward Hyde, had deserted, and he broke out in a nose-bleed which he took as a bad omen. His commander in chief, the Earl of Feversham, advised retreat on 23 November, and the next day John Churchill deserted to William. On 26 November, James's daughter Princess Anne did the same, and James returned to London
London
the same day, never again to be at the head of a serious military force in England.[100] Modern history[edit] Since 1650, the City of Plymouth
Plymouth
has grown to become the largest city in Devon, mainly due to the naval base at Devonport. Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
for the Royal Navy. HMNB Devonport
HMNB Devonport
is now the largest naval base in Western Europe.[101] The large Portland Harbour, built at the end of the 19th century and protected by Nothe Fort
Nothe Fort
and the Verne Citadel, was for many years, including during the wars, another of the largest Royal Navy
Royal Navy
bases. The 19th century saw improvements to roads in the region with the introduction of turnpikes and the building of canals and railways. The usefulness of the canals was short-lived, though they have now been restored for recreation. Chard claims to be the birthplace of powered flight, in 1848 when the Victorian aeronautical pioneer John Stringfellow first demonstrated that engine-powered flight was possible through his work on the Aerial Steam Carriage.[102][103] North Petherton
North Petherton
was the first town in England
England
(and one of the few ever) to be lit by acetylene gas lighting.[104]

Portishead power station

Around the 1860s, at the height of the iron and steel era, a pier and a deep-water dock were built, at Portishead to accommodate the large ships that had difficulty in reaching Bristol
Bristol
Harbour.[105][106] The Portishead power stations were coal-fed power stations built next to the dock. Industrial activities ceased in the dock with the closure of the power stations. The Port of Bristol
Bristol
Authority finally closed the dock in 1992,[107] and it has now been developed into a marina and residential area. During the First World War
First World War
many soldiers from the South West were killed, and war memorials were put up in most of the towns and villages; only a few villages escaped casualties. There were also casualties – though much fewer – during the Second World War, who were added to the memorials. Several areas were bases for troops preparing for the 1944 D-Day
D-Day
landings. Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was the code names for a full-scale rehearsal in 1944 for the D-Day
D-Day
invasion of Normandy. The British Government evacuated approximately 3,000 local residents in the area of Slapton, now South Hams District of Devon.[108] Some of them had never left their villages before.[109] Bristol's city centre suffered severe damage from Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
bombing during the Bristol
Bristol
Blitz of World War II.[110] The Royal Ordnance Factory ROF Bridgwater
ROF Bridgwater
was constructed early in World War II
World War II
for the Ministry of Supply.[111] The Taunton
Taunton
Stop Line was set up to resist a potential German invasion, and the remains of its pill boxes can still be seen, as well as others along the coast.[112]

Porlock, Exmoor

Exmoor
Exmoor
was one of the first British National Parks, designated in 1954, under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.[113] and is named after its main river. It was expanded in 1991 and in 1993 Exmoor
Exmoor
was designated as an Environmentally Sensitive Area. The Quantock Hills
Quantock Hills
were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956, the first such designation in England under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act
1949. The Mendip Hills
Mendip Hills
followed with AONB designation in 1972.[114] World War II[edit]

Bernard Lovell

Much of the Battle of the Beams
Battle of the Beams
was carried out at the Telecommunications Research Establishment
Telecommunications Research Establishment
at Worth Matravers
Worth Matravers
in Dorset; the H2S radar was developed by Sir Bernard Lovell
Bernard Lovell
of Bristol. The Gloster Meteor
Gloster Meteor
at Newquay Air Museum is the oldest flying jet aircraft in the world. Long Ashton Research Station
Long Ashton Research Station
in Somerset invented Ribena
Ribena
(for population health in World War II) and improved cider. Scientific heritage[edit] William Herschel, previously a clarinet player, of Bath discovered infrared radiation on 11 February 1800, and the planet Uranus
Uranus
in March 1781; he had made important improvements to the reflecting telescope by increasing the mirror diameter. Herschel then built a 20-ft reflecting telescope and invented the star count, working out that the Milky Way
Milky Way
was a disc, which he called a grindstone, and the Milky Way was a galaxy but that that was all the universe contained; he had noticed other nebulas but did not recognise what these were; only when the Hooker telescope was built sufficiently large-enough in California in 1924, did Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble
realise that these nebulas (Andromeda Galaxy) were other galaxies. The Herschel Space Observatory
Herschel Space Observatory
was launched by ESA in March 2009 to map the Milky Way. Sir Arthur C. Clarke of Minehead
Minehead
invented the idea of artificial satellites; he sent a letter to Harry Wexler who then developed the first weather satellite TIROS-1. Sir Arthur Eddington
Arthur Eddington
of Weston-super-Mare
Weston-super-Mare
was the first to realise that nuclear fusion powered the Sun; previously the age of Sun was thought to be only 20 million years old, which he knew had to be older than that; at the 1920 British Association meeting he said that the Sun converted hydrogen into helium, but he did not know how, and that mass was lost; nuclear fission was only considered in 1933. James Bradley
James Bradley
was an important astronomer from Gloucestershire, who discovered the aberration of light. Jan Ingenhousz, the Dutch biologist discovered photosynthesis in 1779 at Bowood House
Bowood House
in Wiltshire; on 1 August 1774, Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen at Bowood House. A fossil of the oldest ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus
Tyrannosaurus
was found in Gloucestershire; Mary Anning
Mary Anning
was a famous fossil collector from Lyme Regis. Edward Jenner
Edward Jenner
was from Gloucestershire. Industrial heritage[edit] Sir Benjamin Baker from Cheltenham
Cheltenham
jointly-designed the 1890 Forth Bridge. William Murdoch
William Murdoch
in 1792 lit his house in Redruth with gas, the first in Britain. Plasticine
Plasticine
was invented 1897 in Bath by William Harbutt. Thomas Young of Somerset
Somerset
is known for his double-slit experiment in optics, and in solid mechanics for his famous Young's modulus. Henry Fox Talbot, inventor of a negative-positive process in 1841, from Wiltshire
Wiltshire
made the first photograph in August 1835; Nicéphore Niépce
Nicéphore Niépce
of France can claim the first photo in 1826; William Friese-Greene
William Friese-Greene
of Bristol
Bristol
is thought to be the father of cinematography after inventing his chronophotographic camera in 1889. Hinkley Point A nuclear power station
Hinkley Point A nuclear power station
was a Magnox
Magnox
power station constructed between 1957 and 1962 and operating until ceasing generation in 2000.[115] Hinkley Point B is an Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) which was designed to generate 1250 MW of electricity (MWe). Construction of Hinkley Point B started in 1967. In September 2008 it was announced, by Electricité de France
Electricité de France
(EDF), that a third, twin-unit European Pressurized Reactor
European Pressurized Reactor
(EPR) reactor known as Hinkley Point C is planned,[116] to replace Hinkley Point B which is due for closure in 2016.[117] In 1989 the Berkeley nuclear power station was the first in the UK to be decommissioned. The steam-generating heavy water reactor was developed at Winfrith
Winfrith
in Dorset. Ted Codd, inventor of databases and SQL, was from Poole. Campden BRI at Ebrington
Ebrington
in north-east Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
was an important research centre for canned food; J. S. Fry & Sons of Bristol
Bristol
made world's first chocolate bar in 1847. The first carpets were made in Britain in 1741 at Wilton, Wiltshire. In 1698, Thomas Savery
Thomas Savery
of Devon
Devon
developed an early steam engine; Thomas Newcomen
Thomas Newcomen
from Dartmouth made another early steam engine in 1710. Edward Butler, a farmer from Devon
Devon
born in Bickington
Bickington
in 1862, invented the petrol engine. Demographics[edit]

Regional profile of the South West

Key population data for South West England[118]

Total population 4,928,434

Foreign born 9.4%

White 97.7%

Asian 0.7%

Black 0.4%

Christian 74.0%

Muslim 0.5%

Hindu 0.2%

No religion 16.8%

Over 75 years old 9.3%

Unemployed 2.6%

According to the 2001 census the population of the South West region was 4,928,434.[118] It had grown in the last 20 years by 12.5% from 4,381,400 in mid-1981, making it the fastest growing region in England. Teignbridge
Teignbridge
in Devon
Devon
had the largest population gain with 26.3% and Devon
Devon
as whole grew by 17.6%. Population falls occurred in the two major cities of Bristol
Bristol
and Plymouth.[119] 97.71% of the South West's population are classified as White British.[120] It is the most ethnically-white region in England
England
(97.7%), although similar to North East England
England
(97.6%), and the region has the highest proportion who describe themselves as white (95%); it has the oldest median age in England; in the 2011 census, West Somerset
Somerset
was the UK's oldest average age – almost 48. The region has the second-highest proportion (23%) of rural population in the UK (less than 2,000 inhabitants), after Northern Ireland. Swindon
Swindon
is the most statistically-average place in the UK. Housing[edit] 35% of people in the region own their homes outright, with no debt, the highest in the UK. The Cotswold district is the best area in the region for house price increase, and the second-best in the UK outside of London
London
and the South-East, in a March 2015 survey. Weymouth and Portland has the highest council tax in England. West Somerset
Somerset
has the lowest average full-time pay - £287; West Somerset
Somerset
is also the district where poor children do much worse than more-wealthier children at school, with some of the worst differences in the UK, found by Ambition School Leadership. Teenage pregnancy[edit] For top-tier authorities, Torbay
Torbay
has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the region,[121] with Exeter
Exeter
the highest rate for council districts. For top-tier authorities, North Somerset
Somerset
(closely followed by Bath & NE Somerset) has the lowest rate, with Cotswold having the lowest rate for council districts. Health[edit] The fattest population in the region is Sedgemoor
Sedgemoor
in Somerset, with 73.4%, the fifth-fattest in the UK. North Dorset
Dorset
has the lowest proportion of cancer deaths in England
England
- 97 per 100,000 (the England average is 142 per 100,000), down from 162 ten years earlier. In the 2011 census East Dorset
Dorset
had the highest rate of marriage in the UK; East Dorset
Dorset
also has the third-highest life expectancy for men in the UK - 82.7. Crime[edit] For England
England
and Wales
Wales
in 2015, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
has the fourth-lowest crime rate, and Devon
Devon
and Cornwall
Cornwall
has the fifth-lowest. Deprivation[edit] As measured by the English Indices of Deprivation 2007, the region shows similarities with Southern England
England
in having more Lower Layer Super Output Areas in the 20% least multiple deprived districts than the 20% most deprived.[122] The relative amount of deprivation is similar to the East Midlands, except the South West has much fewer deprived areas. According to the LSOA data in 2007, the most deprived districts[123] (before Cornwall
Cornwall
became a unitary authority) were, in descending order – Bristol
Bristol
(64th in England), Torbay
Torbay
(71st), Plymouth
Plymouth
(77th), Kerrier (86th), Restormel
Restormel
(89th), North Cornwall (96th), and West Somerset
Somerset
(106th). At county level, the deprived areas are City of Bristol
Bristol
(49th in England), Torbay
Torbay
(55th), Plymouth
Plymouth
(58th), and Cornwall
Cornwall
and the Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
(69th). The least deprived council districts are, in descending order – East Dorset, North Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire, Cotswold, Kennet, Stroud, Tewkesbury, West Wiltshire, Salisbury, and Bath and North East Somerset. East Dorset
Dorset
has the highest life expectancy for males in the UK. At county level, the least deprived areas, in descending order, are South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Poole, North Somerset, and Somerset. For smaller areas, the least-deprived in the region are E01015563 (139th in England) Shaw and Nine Elms ward, in north Swindon, E01014791 (163rd in England) Portishead East ward, in North Somerset
Somerset
off the A369 in Portishead and North Weston, E01020377 (184th in England) Colehill
Colehill
East ward (home of Tim Berners-Lee), in East Dorset, east of Wimborne Minster
Wimborne Minster
near the A31 roundabout with the B3073. In March 2011 the region had the second lowest unemployment claimant count in England, second to South East England, with 2.7%. Inside the region, Torbay
Torbay
has the highest rate with 4.5%, followed by Bristol
Bristol
and Plymouth
Plymouth
with 3.8%. East Dorset
Dorset
has the lowest rate with 1.4%.[124] Language[edit] Main articles: West Country
West Country
dialects and Cornish language The Cornish language
Cornish language
evolved from the Southwestern dialect of the British language spoken during the Iron Age
Iron Age
and Roman period.[125] The area controlled by the Britons was progressively reduced by the expansion of Wessex
Wessex
after the 6th century, and in 936 Athelstan set the east bank of the Tamar as the boundary between Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
Wessex and Celtic Cornwall.[126] The Cornish language
Cornish language
continued to flourish during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
but declined thereafter, and the last speaker of traditional Cornish died in the 19th century.[127] Geographical names derived from the British language are widespread in South West England, and include several examples of the River Avon, from abonā = "river" (cf. Welsh afon), and the words "tor" and "combe".[128] Until the 19th century, the West Country
West Country
and its dialects of the English language
English language
were largely protected from outside influences, due to its relative geographical isolation. The West Country
West Country
dialects derive not from a corrupted form of modern English, but from the Southwestern dialects of Middle English, which themselves derived from the dialects of the Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
kingdom of Wessex. Late West Saxon, which formed the earliest English language
English language
standard, from the time of King Alfred until the late 11th century, is the form in which the majority of Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
texts are preserved. Thomas Spencer Baynes claimed in 1856 that, due to its position at the heart of the Kingdom of Wessex, the relics of Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon
accent, idiom and vocabulary were best preserved in the Somerset
Somerset
dialect. There is some influence from the Welsh and Cornish languages, depending on the specific location. West Country
West Country
dialects are commonly represented as "Mummerset", a kind of catchall southern rural accent invented for broadcasting. Economy and industry[edit]

Historic docks on Bristol
Bristol
Harbour, within the region's most productive economy

Since the decline of mining, Cornwall's economy has been reliant on agriculture and tourism

The most economically productive areas within the region are Bristol, the M4 corridor
M4 corridor
and south east Dorset, which are the areas with the best links to London. Bristol
Bristol
alone accounts for a quarter of the region's economy, with the surrounding areas of Gloucestershire, Somerset
Somerset
and Wiltshire
Wiltshire
accounting for a further quarter.[129] Bristol's economy has been built on maritime trade, including the import of tobacco and the slave trade. Since the early 20th century, however, aeronautics have taken over as the basis of Bristol's economy, with companies including Airbus
Airbus
UK, Rolls-Royce (military division) and BAE Systems
BAE Systems
(former Bristol
Bristol
Aeroplane Company then BAC) manufacturing in Filton. Defence Equipment and Support
Defence Equipment and Support
is at MoD Abbey Wood. More recently defence, telecommunications, information technology and electronics have been important industries in Bristol, Swindon
Swindon
and elsewhere. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, the Soil Association, Clerical Medical, and Bristol
Bristol
Water are in Bristol; Indesit
Indesit
makes tumble dryers in Yate; HP and Infineon Technologies
Infineon Technologies
UK are at Stoke Gifford. Knorr-Bremse
Knorr-Bremse
UK make air brakes in Emersons Green. The South West Observatory's Economy Module provides a detailed analysis of the region's economy.[130] The region's Gross value added (GVA) breaks down as 69.9% service industry, 28.1% production industry and 2.0% agriculture. This is a slightly higher proportion in production, and lower proportion in services, than the UK average. Agriculture, though in decline, is important in many parts of the region. Dairy farming
Dairy farming
is especially important in Dorset
Dorset
and Devon, and the region has 1.76 million cattle, second to only one other UK region, and 3,520 square miles (9,117 km2) of grassland, more than any other region. Only 5.6% of the region's agriculture is arable.[129] Tourism is important in the region, and in 2003 the tourist sector contributed £4,928 million to the region's economy.[131] In 2001 the GVA of the hotel industry was £2,200 million, and the region had 13,800 hotels with 250,000 bed spaces.[129] There are large differences in prosperity between the eastern parts of the region and the west. While Bristol
Bristol
is the second most affluent large city in England
England
after London,[132] parts of Cornwall
Cornwall
have among the lowest average incomes in Northern Europe.

Vegetable crop south of Ludgvan

The region's Manufacturing
Manufacturing
Advisory Service is on the A38 north of Gloucester
Gloucester
at Twigworth,[133] and the UKTI office is at the Leigh Court Business Centre in Abbots Leigh, North Somerset.[134] Cornwall[edit] Main articles: Economy of Cornwall
Cornwall
and Cornish cuisine

Dairy Crest
Dairy Crest
have their main cheese creamery in Davidstow
Davidstow
making Cathedral City Cheddar and Davidstow
Davidstow
Cheddar on the former RAF Davidstow
Davidstow
Moor, and important wartime RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command
airfield bought by Cow & Gate in the 1950s

Major companies in Cornwall
Cornwall
include Imerys
Imerys
who are major producers of kaolin. Rodda's make clotted cream near Scorrier, off the A30 east of Redruth. Fugro Seacore in Mongleath
Mongleath
near Falmouth are leading offshore drilling contractors; Pendennis makes luxury yachts at Falmouth Docks. Kensa Heat Pumps are west of Truro. Cornish Country Larder, owned by Arla, make cheese (Cornish Brie) at Trevarrian
Trevarrian
on the B3276 in Mawgan-in-Pydar, north of Newquay Cornwall
Cornwall
Airport (former RAF St Mawgan). Allen & Heath make mixing consoles in Penryn. Fourth Element (wet suits) are on the A3083 at Cury, south of RNAS Culdrose and Helston. A.P. Valves make diving equipment in Helston off the B3297 on Water-Ma-Trout Ind Estate, next to Helston Community College; Spiral Construction is the UK's leading manufacturer of spiral staircases. Gul (clothing)
Gul (clothing)
(watersports clothing) are on Callywith Gate Ind Est in Cooksland Bodmin at the western end of the A38, on the north end of the Bodmin bypass; C-Skins (wetsuits) are on the Walker Lines Ind Est, south of Bodmin on the B3268; Fitzgerald Lighting are west of the Carminow Cross
Carminow Cross
junction. GCHQ Bude
GCHQ Bude
is an important radar station in Morwenstow. On the other side of the river from Devonport is HMS Raleigh, off the A374 at Torpoint, home of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
Submarine School (moved from HMS Dolphin in Gosport
Gosport
in 1999) and its Submarine Command Course; it provides all the training for the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR).

Ginsters
Ginsters
have a food production plant in Callington, off the A390 between Liskeard and Tavistock

Cornwall
Cornwall
has become reliant on tourism, more so than the other counties of the South West. In 2010 Cornwall
Cornwall
and the Isles of Scilly had the lowest GVA per head of any county or unitary authority in England.[135] It contributes only 7.4% of the region's economy[136] and has received EU Convergence funding (formerly Objective One funding) since 2000.[137] Over four million people visit the county each year.[138] The reasons for Cornwall's poor economic performance are complex and apparently persistent, but causes include its remoteness and poor transport links,[129] the decline of its traditional industries, such as mining, agriculture and fishing, the low-wealth generating capacity of tourism, relocation of higher skilled jobs to other parts of the South West, and lack of a concerted economic strategy (although use of European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund monies have been deployed in an attempt at restructuring).[139] Devon[edit] Main article: Economy and industry of Devon See also: Mining
Mining
in Cornwall
Cornwall
and Devon

The Met Office, with cumulus humilis cloud; the Met Office
Met Office
Cray XC40 (previously a Power 775) computer takes 4.8m weather observations per year; Robert FitzRoy, who founded it in 1872, made the first weather forecast on 1 August 1861 in The Times; isobars were invented in the late 1800s; two bodies produce windspeed for pilots around the world - the Met Office
Met Office
and the NOAA

The Met Office
Met Office
is in Exeter
Exeter
as is Pennon Group, the water company, Pedigree Dolls & Toys ( Sindy
Sindy
doll), and Thrifty Car Rental UK is at Ashton Business Centre in St Thomas on the A377 opposite the Exeter Retail Park. The airline Flybe
Flybe
is based at Exeter
Exeter
Airport; Plymouth City Airport closed in 2011. Chatham Marine clothing and footwear is off the B3123 on the Marsh Barton Trading Est, near Alphington. Eclipse Internet and EDF Energy
EDF Energy
are in the same building south-east of the Met Office
Met Office
next to the M5; Stovax Group, who make wood and gas-burning stoves, are further south on Sowton Ind Est next to Alcoa Howmet UK, who make vacuum alloy airfoil castings for industrial gas turbines. DEFRA have a main site for Devon
Devon
at Winslade Park, to the east at Clyst St Mary; nearby to the south on the A376 is the HQ of Devon
Devon
and Somerset
Somerset
Fire and Rescue Service. Dormakaba UK, at Tiverton, are a world-leader in turnstiles, revolving doors and locks; Heathcoat Fabrics make the DecelAir fabric for parachutes. In Crediton is Crediton Dairy (former Milk Link) and Ernest Jackson who make Halls Soothers and Zubes lozenges. Taw Valley
Valley
cheese is made by Arla Foods UK (former Milk Link) at North Tawton
North Tawton
off the A3124, also the HQ of Gregory Distribution. XYZ Machine Tools is off the A38 close to the M5 bridge in Burlescombe near the Somerset
Somerset
boundary. The Donkey Sanctuary
The Donkey Sanctuary
is in Sidmouth. Axminster
Axminster
Carpets makes carpets for every Wetherspoons
Wetherspoons
pub. Appledore Shipbuilders
Appledore Shipbuilders
are based at Appledore, Torridge, Devon, three miles north of Bideford, who built sections of the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. Parker Hannifin
Parker Hannifin
have their instrumentation division next to the Taw Bridge (A361) at Pottington in Barnstaple; CQC makes personal equipment and Osprey body armour; off the A361 towards Barnstaple, is a chipboard (Conti and Caberboard) plant of Norbord. Next to Royal Marines
Royal Marines
Base Chivenor, Perrigo
Perrigo
makes Germolene and own-label OTC medicines at the Wrafton Laboratories in Heanton Punchardon
Heanton Punchardon
on the A361. Actavis
Actavis
UK (former Cox Pharmaceuticals, part of Hoechst AG), off the A361 east of Barnstaple, make levothyroxine and other thyroid hormones. Dartington Crystal
Dartington Crystal
in Torrington makes Royal Brierley. Pall Europe make filtration products in Ilfracombe. All Ambrosia (former Unilever) products are made at the Ambrosia Creamery in Lifton, off the A30 on the River Lyd. Parkham Farms make Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar at Woolfardisworthy, Torridge. SC Group (Supacat) at Dunkeswell Aerodrome, north of Honiton, make protective vehicles for the Army, notably the Jackal; these vehicles are also made in Plymouth
Plymouth
by Babcock International
Babcock International
formerly Devonport Management Limited (DML); Oceanic Worldwide UK makes scuba diving gear. Quested make high-end loudspeakers on Heathpark Ind Est, west of Honiton, next to the railway. Centrax make industrial gas turbines in Newton Abbot; to the north-west, on the A38 at the A382 junction at Heathfield in Bovey Tracey, British Ceramic Tile have the largest ceramic tile plant in Europe. Suttons Seeds
Suttons Seeds
is in Paignton; AVX, off the A3022, was a worldwide site for tantalum capacitors, until the company moved production to the Czech Republic in 2009. Britannia Royal Naval College is at Dartmouth.

Princess Yachts make motor yachts off the A374 in Stonehouse

HMNB Devonport
HMNB Devonport
(HMS Drake, the largest naval base in western Europe) is in Plymouth. Toshiba had a large presence in Ernesettle, in the north Plymouth
Plymouth
of, which was the second largest employer after the Royal Navy, until they moved production of televisions to Kobierzyce in Poland in 2009; it made its last television at the site on 27 August 2009; Vispring
Vispring
(beds) is next to Kawasaki Precision Machinery. Snowbee make fishing tackle. 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
is at Stonehouse Barracks. The Range (home and leisure) is on the B3432 in Estover east of Plymouth
Plymouth
Airport; opposite is Fine Tubes
Fine Tubes
and further east Barden make ball-bearings for the aerospace industry; on the furthest east of the industrial estate, Wrigley Company
Wrigley Company
UK; its Extra brand is the second best-selling confectionery in the UK after Dairy Milk.

The Trafalgar-class HMS Talent (S92)
HMS Talent (S92)
at Devonport in February 2008

X-Fab
X-Fab
UK (semiconductor fabrication plant, former Plessey Semiconductors) is next to the A386 Bickleigh Cross roundabout; nearby BD have a large plant making medical vacutainers (for blood samples) on Belliver Way Ind Est in the north of Plymouth; south of BD off the B3373 in Southway
Southway
is Silicon Sensing Systems (who make vibrating structure gyroscopes and are owned by UTC Aerospace Systems, previously BAE Systems, and BAe Dynamics, who had made nose cones for aircraft including Concorde), and Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric
UK (Drayton Controls, market-leading thermostatic radiator valves for central heating, previously owned by Invensys Controls UK). North of Plymouth in Bickleigh (former Tamerton Foliot) is a large factory of Rittal
Rittal
UK, and to the east on the A386 roundabout is Plessey
Plessey
Semiconductors (who have a design centre in Swindon). East of Plymouth
Plymouth
at the Langage Science Park in Sparkwell, off the B3416/A38 Deep Lane Interchange, Geocel make industrial adhesives; further south Tecalemit (garage equipment) is on Langage Park. Stiga UK (garden equipment) is off the B3417 in Plympton, north of Langage. Westwood (lawn mowers) (owned by Ariens), make ride-on lawn mowers, and Atco and Mountfield is at Newnham Ind Est, off the B3417 in Plympton, both owned by GGP UK (Global Garden Products, based at Castelfranco Veneto
Castelfranco Veneto
in Italy). Hemerdon Mine, east of Plymouth, has one of the largest deposits of tungsten in the world. Wills Marine make motor inflatable boats off the A379 in Kingsbridge. Dorset[edit] Main article: Dorset
Dorset
§ Economy and industry See also: List of equipment of the British Army

Tanglefoot, brewed by Hall & Woodhouse (Badger Brewery) in Blandford Forum
Blandford Forum
(home of the Royal Corps of Signals)

New Look is in Weymouth; it is Britain's second-biggest value clothing retailer, with over 800 stores in 21 countries. Wytch Farm
Wytch Farm
(BP) is the UK's largest onshore oil field. Meggitt
Meggitt
is a leading aerospace and defence contractor, based west of Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Airport, with Hobbycraft, at a former BAC works in Hurn, close to West Parley. The Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Armoured Corps
is based at Bovington Camp, and next door is the Bovington Tank Museum; the Army has three armoured regiments (Royal Dragoon Guards, Royal Tank Regiment
Royal Tank Regiment
and King's Royal Hussars) and 227 FV4034 70-tonne Challenger 2
Challenger 2
tanks; Germany has around 1,000 tanks and Russia has 3,300. Westwind Air Bearings (owned by Novanta) is off the A352 at Wareham St Martin, west of Poole, near Holton Heath railway station, with Mathmos
Mathmos
(lighting), founded by Edward Craven Walker who invented the lava lamp. Tata Consultancy Services
Tata Consultancy Services
(former Unisys
Unisys
Insurance Services before 2010) is in Bournemouth. Imagine Publishing, a magazine publisher, with The Mortgage Works (owned by Nationwide Building Society), is at the A35/A347 Richmond Hill Roundabout; Organix is in the centre; McCarthy & Stone, who make much of Britain's retirement housing, is on the B3066. LV= (insurance) is at Frizzell House at Westbourne at the County Gates Gyratory A35/A338 roundabout. JPMorgan have their large Chaseside site at the A3060/A338 junction opposite the Royal Bournemouth
Bournemouth
Hospital, RIAS (insurance) and Teachers Assurance, towards Holdenhurst.

The Lifeboat College
Lifeboat College
in Poole, where the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is headquartered

Merlin Entertainments
Merlin Entertainments
(who own Sea Life Centres, and are the world's second largest theme park operator after Disney) is in Poole
Poole
with a former division, Aquarium Technology, at the end of the A350 near the Twin Sails bridge. Ryvita is made in Parkstone
Parkstone
on the B3061. Fitness First, the largest privately owned health club group in the world, originated in Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and is now globally headquartered south of Fleet's Corner. Siemens Traffic Controls make most of the UK's traffic lights west near Fleet's Corner; the main traffic light in the UK is the Siemens Helios (the other make is the Peek Elite). North of Fleets Lane, south of the Wessex
Wessex
Gate Retail Park, is Parvalux, on the A3049 on the West Howe Ind Estate in Wallisdown, which makes geared DC electric motors and gearboxes; further south is Faerch Plast (former Sealed Air, which makes trays for food) then Fitness First, and Aeronautical & General Instruments; further north, off the A35, is Wireless Data Sevices (part of Xerox), who provide technical support for mobile phone networks; further north of Fleets Corner east of the A349 is Lush, the cosmetics company, with Hamworthy
Hamworthy
Wärtsilä (Finnish), and Hamworthy
Hamworthy
Combustion (owned by Koch Industries), at the A349/A3049 junction in Fleetsbridge, is an international engineering consultancy. Sunseeker
Sunseeker
International is a main motor yacht manufacturer; it made the boat in the opening sequence of The World Is Not Enough. The Special Boat Service
Special Boat Service
is based at RM Poole, home of the Navy's amphibious warfare section, off the B3068 at Hamworthy
Hamworthy
in the west of Poole. Tangerine Confectionery
Tangerine Confectionery
(former Parrs) made gums and jellies on the Redlands Trading Estate off the A3040 near Branksome railway station to the east. Aish Technologies makes console (display) systems for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
off B3068 in Alderney.

Cobham underwing refuelling pod on an RAF Voyager, or Airbus
Airbus
A330 MRTT (the aircraft is made at CASA, part of Airbus
Airbus
Defence and Space, in Getafe
Getafe
in central Spain)

Cobham plc, in Wimborne Minster
Wimborne Minster
towards Leigh, is a world-leader in air-to-air refuelling, developed by Sir Alan Cobham
Alan Cobham
at RAF Tarrant Rushton, and aircraft antennas. Durable UK (office products) is in Wimborne; Caterpillar's Wimborne Marine Power Centre make Perkins Sabre marine diesel generators on Ferndown
Ferndown
Ind Est off the A31; to the south is Farrow & Ball (the well-known paint manufacturer) in Hampreston
Hampreston
and Stapehill, in Ferndown. Manitou UK, owner of the American Gehl Company
Gehl Company
and from Nanterre
Nanterre
in France, is based at Verwood on the Ebblake Ind Est off the B3081 near the Hampshire
Hampshire
boundary. Sigma-Aldrich
Sigma-Aldrich
UK (pharmaceuticals) are off the B3092 on Brickfield Business Park in Gillingham, next to the River Stour and railway. Cygnus Instruments, on the B3144 in Dorchester, is the leading manufacturer of ultrasonic thickness gauges, developing the technique in the early 1980s. Edwards Sports Products of Bridport, owned by Broxap of Staffordshire, make football goals for the Premier League, and tennis nets and posts for Wimbledon. Gloucestershire[edit]

An aerial view of GCHQ's headquarters, 2004; the biggest employer in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
is the intelligence agency GCHQ, who are based at 'The Doughnut', their headquarters[140] GCHQ has around 6,000 staff, MI5 has 4,000, and MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) has 3,200; GCHQ is in the west of Cheltenham, off the A40 at the A4013 roundabout at Fiddlers Green, and also has a site to the east at Oakley

In Cheltenham
Cheltenham
are Endsleigh Insurance in Shurdington, Kohler Mira Ltd (showers), Superdry
Superdry
(clothing), Collins Geo (maps), and Chelsea Building Society are on the A435 to the south-east. North of Cheltenham
Cheltenham
at Bishop's Cleeve, south of the village on the A435, is GE Aviation Systems UK on the large Cleeve Business Park; this which was the former 300-acre site of the Cheltenham
Cheltenham
Division of Smiths Industries that made flight control systems and flight deck displays; further up the A435 is a main site of Zurich Assurance UK. Weird Fish (clothing) is near Spirax-Sarco Engineering
Spirax-Sarco Engineering
plc (pumps) off the A4019 in Kingsditch in Swindon
Swindon
Village, north of Cheltenham; on the other side of the A4019, Douglas Equipment, next to All Saints' Academy, Cheltenham, makes towing tractors for aircraft. Gulf Oil
Gulf Oil
UK was headquartered on B4075 in Prestbury (near the racecourse) until 1997, when Shell UK bought its petrol stations; the former headquarters became a student hall of the University of Gloucestershire. Computer security firm Symantec
Symantec
have a site in Gloucester, the base of Ecclesiastical Insurance. Dowty Rotol
Dowty Rotol
(who make propellors) and Bond Aviation Group (helicopter leasing) are next to Gloucestershire Airport at Staverton; Helimedia is the UK distributor of the L-3 Wescam, the Canadian thermal imaging system found with many UK police air support units and air ambulances. The Cheltenham
Cheltenham
& Gloucester bank was Barnwood
Barnwood
(north Gloucester), next to Unilever's manufacturing site for Wall's ice cream at the A417/A38 roundabout next to the railway; on other side of the railway in Elmbridge is Lanes Health who make Olbas Oil and Kalms; to the south, EDF Energy
EDF Energy
(former British Energy) have their nuclear energy engineering centre with Horizon Nuclear Power. Between the former C&G and EDF at Barnwood, Barclays' data centre services all of its ATMs in the south of England. Beta Marine make marine diesel engines at Hardwicke off the A38 near junction 12 of the M5, south of Gloucester
Gloucester
near the HQs of Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Fire and Rescue Service, Great Western Ambulance Service, and Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Constabulary.

Safran Landing Systems
Safran Landing Systems
UK (former Messier-Dowty, historically Britain's main aircraft undercarriage manufacturer, now owned by Safran) make undercarriage for Boeing aircraft; the South West region has the most aerospace industry in the UK (followed by the North West, which has Warton and Samlesbury)

Moog Controls UK, on the Ashchurch
Ashchurch
Ind Estate by Ashchurch
Ashchurch
for Tewkesbury near junction 9 (A46) of the M5, make servo valves for the aerospace industry (flight control systems or AFCS), in Northway; also on the estate is Steinhoff UK, who own Sleepmasters and Bensons for Beds. Floortex (floor coverings) is on Tewkesbury Business Park, west of the M5 south of Duraflex. Near the M5 Ashchurch
Ashchurch
Interchange off the A438, RR Donnelley
RR Donnelley
GDS print Barclaycard statements. The Colt Car Company UK (who distribute Mitsubishi Motors) are in Cirencester, and Corin Group make artificial joints on the A429 near the Royal Agricultural University. The Stroud & Swindon
Swindon
Building Society and Ecotricity
Ecotricity
are in Stroud near Stroud station. WSP Textiles (a former division of Milliken) on the A46 towards Rodborough
Rodborough
in the south of Stroud make felt for billiard tables (Strachan cloth), and for tennis balls for three Grand Slam tournaments (Playne's tennis ball cloth). Dairy Crest
Dairy Crest
makes Frijj milkshake at its large dairy at Severnside on the Stroudwater Business Park at Stonehouse next to the M5, within walking distance of Stonehouse station; nearby ReedHycalog (owned by National Oilwell Varco) make industrial drill bits off the A419 on the Oldends Ind Est, near ABB UK, who make flow meters; Delphi Diesel Systems UK, on the business park, make electronic unit injectors; Renishaw plc have large machining centre on north of the business park; SKF
SKF
(Swedish) make ball bearings (Aeroengine & High Precision Bearings Division, for Rolls-Royce) to the south of the estate (former Ransome Hoffmann Pollard), then NSK until 2002); the company has another site at Clevedon in Somerset.

The entrance to UCAS
UCAS
in 2008; it has around 37,000 courses at 370 institutions; it is in the north of Cheltenham, near the racecourse in Prestbury at A435/B4075 junction

Beverage Brands is based at Hucclecote
Hucclecote
on the Gloucester
Gloucester
Business Park off B4641 east of the M5 Brockworth Interchange, with Horizon Nuclear Power, and next to NHS Gloucestershire); in the same building is MessageLabs
MessageLabs
(Symantec), and a main office of Ageas
Ageas
UK (insurance). Further south in Brockworth is Direct Wines (Laithwaites); to the east is a G-TEKT (former Takao Europe) automotive metal pressings and sub-assemblies factory and a large Invista
Invista
textiles factory (former ICI Fibres, then Dupont from 1992, which makes nylon fibres); the site is built on the former Gloster Aircraft factory, which closed around 1960. Renishaw plc is in Wotton-under-Edge, previously being in Nailsworth. Lister Petter, off the A4135 in Dursley, make diesel engine generator sets; Lister Shearing is the only British manufacturer of clipping and shearing (animals) equipment. The Fire Service College is in Moreton-in-Marsh
Moreton-in-Marsh
near Moreton-in-Marsh
Moreton-in-Marsh
station. Northcot Brick is at Blockley, in the north-east, next to the railway; Per Una
Per Una
is based near Draycott. Mabey Group, off the A48 at Lydney
Lydney
make wind turbine towers; on the other side of the A48, Federal-Mogul
Federal-Mogul
have a foundry making camshafts. Suntory
Suntory
(Japanese) makes Lucozade
Lucozade
(from 1957) and Ribena
Ribena
(from 1947) at the Royal Forest
Royal Forest
Factory off the B4228 in Coleford in the Forest of Dean; William Horlick, originator of another well-known former GSK product, was born in the Forest of Dean in 1846.

The Army Air Corps has 67 Yeovil-built, Rolls-Royce RTM322-powered AgustaWestland Apache
AgustaWestland Apache
AH1 helicopters; since 2010, the helicopters now have the much-more advanced Apache Arrowhead night-vision system which superseded TADS/PNVS; in October 2016, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
had 94 helicopters; the Fleet Air Arm Museum
Fleet Air Arm Museum
is Europe's largest naval air museum

Somerset[edit] Main article: Economy of Somerset

Mendip
Mendip
Vale the nearest station to the city of Wells which is cut off from the rest of the UK by the Beeching Axe.

Screwfix
Screwfix
is in Yeovil, and Clarks shoes with K-Swiss
K-Swiss
Europe are in Street, although most of its shoes are made in the Far East. Shepton Mallet is home of Blackthorn Cider
Cider
and the Gaymer Cider
Cider
Company. Dairy Crest packs Cathedral City cheese in Frome. The Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Festival at Pilton (nearer to Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
than Glastonbury), off the A361, is the UK's biggest music festival.

Greencore make premium chilled desserts, such as tiramisu for M & S, at their site (former St Ivel, then Uniq Desserts) off the B3081 at Evercreech

The Royal Marines
Royal Marines
have a large base for 40 Commando
40 Commando
west of Taunton, with their training centre at Lympstone Commando
Lympstone Commando
in Devon, on the Avocet Line
Avocet Line
with its own station of Lympstone and the A376 and River Exe. Attentional in Taunton
Taunton
deliver audience figures for BARB. DS Smith's Wansbrough Paper Mill
Wansbrough Paper Mill
at Watchet
Watchet
on the coast is the UK's largest manufacturer of coreboard. Fletcher Boats make speedboats in Langport. TePe UK (Swedish) supply toothbrushes. Thales Defence closed its radar site (former EMI Electronics) near Wookey Hole, in St Cuthbert Out. Thales Underwater Systems (former Plessey
Plessey
Marine) is at Abbas and Templecombe, Somerset, off the A357 towards Dorset
Dorset
in the Blackmore Vale, east of Yeovil. Commando Helicopter Force at Yeovilton operates Merlins and Wildcats (the upgraded version of the Lynx). Mulberry is based at Chilcompton
Chilcompton
on the B3139, north of Shepton Mallet, in the Mendips. Cox & Cox furnishings, is north of Frome
Frome
in Berkley, Somerset
Somerset
off the A361. Fox Brothers make cloth in Wellington, and Relyon (part of Steinhoff International) make beds. Italian defence contractor Leonardo makes helicopters at Yeovil, formerly the home of Westland Helicopters, building the AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat. To the east of Yeovil, in Houndstone, Garador make garage doors (part of Hörmann Group of Amshausen, Europe's largest mechanical door manufacturer). Yeo Valley
Valley
Organic is in Blagdon. Numatic International Limited
Numatic International Limited
makes vacuum cleaners in Chard, and Brecknell Willis, a railway engineering company on the A30, makes pantographs; ActionAid UK
ActionAid UK
is based off the A358 in the north of Chard, near a centrifugal oil filter plant of Mann+Hummel. Dairy Crest
Dairy Crest
made brandy butter south of the town in Tatworth and Forton, near the meeting point of Dorset, Somerset
Somerset
and Devon. Ministry of Cake, owned by Greencore since December 2007 on the A3065 in Staplegrove
Staplegrove
in the west of Taunton, is the leading provider of frozen desserts to the UK foodservice industry. The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Hydrographic Office is in Taunton. Pilgrims Choice cheddar is made by made by Adams Foods (former North Downs Dairy) at Wincanton. Ariel Motor Company
Ariel Motor Company
in Crewkerne, make the Ariel Atom. Refresco Gerber in the north of Bridgwater, between the A38 and the River Parrett, make SunnyD, Libby's, Innocent Drinks, Del Monte, Just Juice and Ocean Spray.

Former brandy butter plant at Chard Junction
Chard Junction
next to the River Axe

Next to the Royal Portbury Dock, off junction 19 of the M5 on the A369 is Lafarge Plasterboard. Thatchers Cider
Cider
is in Sandford, North Somerset
Somerset
on the A368, two miles east of the M5. Towards Bristol Airport, Claverham make actuation equipment for the aerospace sector in Yatton
Yatton
in North Somerset, off the A370, and is part of Hamilton Sundstrand, derived from the electrical systems part of Fairey Aviation. Wessex
Wessex
Water, Future plc, Buro Happold
Buro Happold
and Rotork
Rotork
are in Bath. Cadbury used to make Curly Wurly, Double Decker and Crunchie
Crunchie
at the Somerdale Factory, Keynsham
Keynsham
until Kraft closed the plant in March 2011 and moved production to Skarbimierz, Opole Voivodeship
Skarbimierz, Opole Voivodeship
in Poland.[141] Wiltshire[edit]

Salisbury
Salisbury
Cathedral at 123 m (404 ft) which is the tallest in the UK

Nationwide Building Society,[142] Research Councils UK
Research Councils UK
and five research councils, Intel Europe, and the British Computer Society[143] are in Swindon, as are the main offices of Historic England[144] and the National Trust,[145] both housed in the former Great Western Railway's Swindon
Swindon
Works. Allied Dunbar
Allied Dunbar
was headquartered in the centre of Swindon
Swindon
until 1998, when bought by Zurich Financial Services. In Stratton St Margaret, BMW
BMW
press metal for the MINI[146] at Swindon Pressings Ltd (the former Pressed Steel Company), there is a major Honda manufacturing plant (in South Marston) where the Jazz, Civic and CR-V are manufactured at Britain's second-largest car manufacturing plant;[147] nearby are Zimmer UK (medical devices) and Yuasa UK (automotive batteries). The headquarters of W H Smith, with Smiths News, is near the School Library Association, west of the MINI works in Upper Stratton.[148] Valero Energy
Valero Energy
UK, who bought Texaco from Chevron in 2011, are in Eldene, in the former head office of St Ivel; Patheon
Patheon
UK (pharmaceuticals, on the former site of Roussel Uclaf) are on the B4006 in Covingham, north of Valero, in the east of Swindon. BG Automotive, on the Cheney Manor industrial estate, make gaskets on the B4006 in Rodbourne; Dynamatic UK are in a former Plessey
Plessey
factory. Burmah Oil
Burmah Oil
was headquartered in the south of Swindon; Burmah bought Castrol
Castrol
in 1966 (owned by BP from 2000). Stanley Security (former Amano Blick) is on the Techno trading estate, north of the town centre.

Former Plessey
Plessey
Semiconductors factory in Swindon, on the Cheney Manor Industrial Estate, west of Rodbourne

Near the M4 Spittleborough Roundabout, close to Freshbrook, are Synergy Health and RWE npower; also on the Windmill Hill Business park are Arval (vehicle leasing and fuel cards), and Allstar (fuel card); also nearby are Cartus Europe, Catalent
Catalent
Pharma Solutions UK and MAN Truck & Bus UK (with Neoplan
Neoplan
and ERF); further east is WRc
WRc
(the former Water Research Centre). Nearby on Lydiard Fields in Lydiard Tregoze is Johnson Matthey
Johnson Matthey
Fuel Cells, which in 2002 was the world's first production site of membrane electrode assemblies, and next door is Neptune, who make furniture and kitchens; also BuildStore have their National Self Build & Renovation Centre. Sauer-Danfoss
Sauer-Danfoss
UK provide hydraulics off the A419 in Dorcan, and nearby is TE Connectivity UK (former Tyco Electronics and Raychem). The British and Foreign Bible Society is on the Delta Business Park in Westlea, near Intergraph
Intergraph
UK (geospatial software, owned by Hexagon AB) on the other side of Westmead industrial estate, with Metric Group, the only UK manufacturer of parking meters. Triumph International
Triumph International
UK is in Blunsdon
Blunsdon
St Andrew. On the A361 in Highworth
Highworth
north-east of Swindon, TS Tech make car seats for Honda, also with a site at the Renault Centre
Renault Centre
on the Rivermead industrial estate.[149] Dyson is in Malmesbury, north of the M4.[150] Cotswold Outdoor (recommended supplier to the DofE Award and the Scout Association) is based at the Cotswold Airport
Cotswold Airport
near the Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
boundary south of Cirencester.

Shredded Wheat factory at Staverton north of Trowbridge

Trowbridge
Trowbridge
has Apetito
Apetito
UK,[151] Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Farm Foods, Danone UK and their subsidiary Numico.[152] Cereal Partners
Cereal Partners
make Shredded Wheat and Shreddies
Shreddies
at Staverton, near Trowbridge. In Devizes
Devizes
is the Wadworth Brewery.[153] Salisbury
Salisbury
Cathedral in Salisbury
Salisbury
attracts many tourists. Rockhopper Exploration
Rockhopper Exploration
is in the town and Naim Audio
Naim Audio
make hi-fi equipment.[154] Nearby, Dstl is at Porton Down.[155] Knorr-Bremse
Knorr-Bremse
Rail Systems UK (formerly Westinghouse) make railway air brakes in Bowerhill[156] just south of Melksham
Melksham
and nearby are the headquarters of Avon Rubber[157] and Herman Miller UK, a maker of office furniture. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company also make Avon Tyres in the same town. Chippenham
Chippenham
has the HQ of Wincanton plc, the large logistics company,[158] Invensys Rail Group (formerly Westinghouse Rail Systems) who make rail signalling equipment,[159] and the software company SCISYS. In the centre of the county are many military establishments, notably MoD Boscombe Down, the training sites on Salisbury
Salisbury
Plain, and the army bases around Tidworth, Larkhill
Larkhill
(home of the Royal School of Artillery) and Warminster
Warminster
(HQ of the Infantry).[160] Subdivisions[edit] The region covers much of the historical area of Wessex
Wessex
(omitting only Hampshire
Hampshire
and Berkshire), and all of the Celtic Kingdom of Dumnonia which comprised Cornwall, Devon, and parts of Somerset
Somerset
and Dorset. In terms of local government, it was divided after 1974 into Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. Avon has since been abolished, and several mainly urban areas have become unitary authorities.

Local government[edit] The official region consists of the following geographic counties and local government areas:

Map Ceremonial county Shire county / unitary Districts

Somerset 1. Bath and North East Somerset
Somerset
UA

2. North Somerset
Somerset
UA

11.  Somerset
Somerset
CC a) South Somerset, b)  Taunton
Taunton
Deane, c) West Somerset, d) Sedgemoor, e) Mendip

3.  Bristol
Bristol
UA

Gloucestershire 4. South Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
UA

5.  Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
CC a) Gloucester, b) Tewkesbury, c) Cheltenham, d) Cotswold, e) Stroud, f) Forest of Dean

Wiltshire 6.  Swindon
Swindon
UA

7.  Wiltshire
Wiltshire
UA

Dorset 8.  Dorset
Dorset
CC a) Weymouth and Portland, b) West Dorset, c) North Dorset, d) Purbeck, e) East Dorset, f) Christchurch

9.  Poole
Poole
UA

10.  Bournemouth
Bournemouth
UA

Devon 12.  Devon
Devon
CC a) Exeter, b) East Devon, c) Mid Devon, d) North Devon, e) Torridge, f) West Devon, g) South Hams, h) Teignbridge

13.  Torbay
Torbay
UA

14.  Plymouth
Plymouth
UA

Cornwall 15.  Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
sui generis UA

16.  Cornwall
Cornwall
UA

UA = unitary authority CC = county council Eurostat
Eurostat
NUTS[edit] In the Eurostat
Eurostat
Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), South West England
England
is a level-1 NUTS region, coded "UKK", which is subdivided as follows:

NUTS 1 Code NUTS 2 Code NUTS 3 Code

South West England UKK Gloucestershire, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
and Bristol/Bath area UKK1 Bristol UKK11

Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset
Somerset
and South Gloucestershire UKK12

Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
CC UKK13

Swindon UKK14

Wiltshire UKK15

Dorset
Dorset
and Somerset UKK2 Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and Poole UKK21

Dorset
Dorset
CC UKK22

Somerset UKK23

Cornwall
Cornwall
and Isles of Scilly UKK3 Cornwall
Cornwall
and Isles of Scilly UKK30

Devon UKK4 Plymouth UKK41

Torbay UKK42

Devon
Devon
CC UKK43

South West Regional Assembly[edit]

Durdle Door
Durdle Door
in Dorset
Dorset
is part of the Jurassic Coast, England's only natural World Heritage Site.

Although referendums had been planned on whether elected assemblies should be set up in some of the regions, none was planned in the South West. The South West Regional Assembly
South West Regional Assembly
(SWRA) was the regional assembly for the South West region, established in 1999. It was based in Exeter
Exeter
and Taunton. The SWRA was a partnership of councillors from all local authorities in the region and representatives of various sectors with a role in the region's economic, social and environmental well-being. There was much opposition to the formation of the SWRA with critics saying it was an unelected unrepresentative and unaccountable "quango". The Regional Assembly was wound up in May 2009, and its functions taken on by the Strategic Leaders' Board (SLB) of South West Councils.[161] Politics[edit] Currently the South West contains 55 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives hold 47 seats, Labour 7 and the Liberal Democrats 1. South West England
England
is one of the constituencies used for elections to the European Parliament. From the 2004 election onwards, Gibraltar
Gibraltar
has been included within the constituency for the purpose of elections to the European parliament only.

v t e

Constituencies in South West England
England
(55)

Conservative (47)

Bournemouth
Bournemouth
East Bournemouth
Bournemouth
West Bridgwater and West Somerset Camborne and Redruth Central Devon Cheltenham Chippenham Christchurch Devizes East Devon Filton
Filton
and Bradley Stoke Forest of Dean Gloucester Kingswood Mid Dorset
Dorset
and North Poole Newton Abbot North Cornwall North Devon North Dorset North East Somerset North Somerset North Swindon North Wiltshire Plymouth
Plymouth
Moor View Poole Salisbury Somerton and Frome South Dorset South East Cornwall South Swindon South West Devon South West Wiltshire St Austell and Newquay St Ives Taunton
Taunton
Deane Tewkesbury The Cotswolds Thornbury and Yate Tiverton and Honiton Torbay Torridge
Torridge
and West Devon Totnes Truro
Truro
and Falmouth Wells West Dorset Weston-super-Mare Yeovil

Labour (7)

Bristol
Bristol
East Bristol
Bristol
North West Bristol
Bristol
South Bristol
Bristol
West Exeter Plymouth
Plymouth
Sutton and Devonport Stroud

Liberal Democrats (1)

Bath

South West England
England
European constituency: Conservative (2) Green (1) Labour (1) UKIP (2)

Elections[edit]

Election results in 2017

In the 2015 general election, there was a 0.7% swing from Labour to Conservative in the region. For the region's electorate, 46% voted Conservative, 18% voted Labour, Liberal Democrats 15%, UKIP 14% and Green 6%. The Conservatives gained 15 seats almost all of which were from the Liberal Democrats. In 2017 the Conservatives lost 3 seats ( Bristol
Bristol
North West, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport and Stroud) to Labour and 1 (Bath) to the Liberal Democrats. Labour increased their share of the vote by 11.4% while Ukip's vote collapsed. However the Conservatives still dominate the South West with 47 seats out of 55. In the 2014 European Election, the South West England
England
constituency voted 32.29% for UKIP, 28.9% Conservative, 13.75% Labour, 11.1% Green, and 10.7% Liberal Democrat. UKIP and the Conservatives have two MEPs each, while Labour and the Greens have one each.[162] Education[edit] Schools[edit] See also: List of schools in England
England
§ South West of England Secondary education[edit] The South West has a below average rate of attainment in GCSE (and equivalent) examinations, with the lowest regional performance in England
England
from 2009 to 2012.[163] In 2012, South Hams
South Hams
had the highest percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grade A*-C at 86%, whilst Purbeck had the lowest at 70%.[164] The region has an above average rate of attainment in A-Level (and equivalent) examinations, having outperformed the West Midlands, East Midlands, North East and London
London
in 2012.[163] Further education[edit] There are around 29 further education colleges in the region.[165] Higher education[edit]

University of Bath

There are twelve universities in the region:

The Arts University Bournemouth[166] Bournemouth
Bournemouth
University[167] Bath Spa University[168] University of Bath[169] University of Bristol[170] University of Exeter[171] Falmouth University[172] University of Gloucestershire[173] The University of Law[174] Plymouth
Plymouth
University[175] Royal Agricultural University[176] University of St Mark & St John[177] University of the West of England
England
(UWE)[178]

There are also four higher education colleges. The region has the lowest number of people registered on higher education courses at FE colleges. The University of Bristol
Bristol
receives the most total funding, according to Higher Education Funding Council for England
England
figures for the 2006/2007 academic year, and the largest research grant—twice as big as any other in the region.[179] Bath has the next largest research grant, closely followed by Exeter. UWE and Plymouth
Plymouth
get small research grants, but no other universities in the region receive much of a research grant. The University of Plymouth
Plymouth
has the largest teaching grant. Of the region's students (postgraduate and undergraduate), 50% are from the region, and around 40% from other regions. For full-time first degree students, 35% come from the region, around 22% are from South East England, and 8% are from London. Including the East of England, around 70% are from Southern England. 10% are from the Midlands, and 5% from Northern England. The main access for students from the north is the Cross Country Route. Around 33% of native South West students stay in the region, with 18% going to the South East (around 60% stay in the south of England). Around 14% go to Wales, but very few go to the East of England. Access by road or rail to the East of England
England
region is not straightforward, with around the same amount of travel as to Scotland. Many more native South West students are prepared to go to the north of England, than northern students are prepared to study in the South West. Once graduated, around 50% stay in the region, with 15% each going to London
London
or the South East (around 80% find work in the south of England). Very few go elsewhere (especially the north of England); around 4% go to the West Midlands or Wales. Local media[edit]

BBC Wiltshire
Wiltshire
building in Swindon

TV

BBC South
BBC South
West, based in Plymouth
Plymouth
with the Spotlight regional programme. BBC West, based in Clifton in Bristol
Bristol
with the Points West regional programme. ITV West Country, based in Bristol
Bristol
(following the merger of ITV West and ITV Westcountry), with the ITV News West Country
West Country
regional programme. N.B. Parts of Dorset, including Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth also receive BBC South
BBC South
and ITV Meridian from Southampton. Digital switchover from Mendip
Mendip
(for Points West) took place in April 2010, and for the Spotlight area it took place in mid-2009.

Radio

BBC Radios Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Solent (Dorset), Bristol, Wiltshire, and Gloucestershire. National radio is from North Hessary Tor and Wenvoe (west of Cardiff). Commercial radio stations are Kiss 101 (Bristol), Star 107.2 (Bristol), Heart West Country, Pirate FM (Cornwall), Atlantic FM (St Agnes), Heart Devon, Heart Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
(Gloucester), Heart Wiltshire
Wiltshire
(Swindon), Palm 105.5
Palm 105.5
(Torquay), Total Star Somerset
Somerset
(former QuayWest 107.4FM in Bridgwater), Total Star Swindon
Swindon
(former Brunel FM), Total Star Warminster
Warminster
(former 3TR FM), Total Star Bath
Total Star Bath
(former Bath FM), Nova Radio (Weston-super-Mare), Spire FM
Spire FM
(Salisbury), Wessex FM (Dorchester), Fire Radio
Fire Radio
(Bournemouth), and Heart Solent (Bournemouth).

Newspapers

Regional newspapers include the Bath Chronicle, Bristol
Bristol
Evening Post, Western Daily Press, the Dorset
Dorset
Echo, the Exeter
Exeter
Express and Echo, Western Morning News, the North Devon
Devon
Journal, Cornish Guardian, The West Briton (Truro), The Cornishman, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Times (Trowbridge), Gazette and Herald
Gazette and Herald
(North & West Wiltshire), Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Echo, Gloucester
Gloucester
Citizen, Plymouth
Plymouth
Evening Herald, Torquay Herald Express, Swindon
Swindon
Advertiser and the Salisbury
Salisbury
Journal (Salisbury).

Sport[edit] Football[edit] During the 2016-17 season, the region had one Premier League
Premier League
team (A.F.C. Bournemouth), and seven teams in the English Football League ( Bristol
Bristol
City, Bristol
Bristol
Rovers, Cheltenham, Exeter, Plymouth
Plymouth
Argyle, Swindon, and Yeovil). In the 2017/18 season they will be joined by Forest Green Rovers.[180] The area's local football league is the South West Peninsula League (SWPL). It was formed in 2007 from the merger of the Devon
Devon
County League and the South Western League. The league consists of a Premier Division of up to 20 clubs, which is ranked at Step 6 in the National League System, and two divisions at Step 7, Division One West and Division One East. References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to South West England.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for West Country.

Visit South West England
England
– Official Regional Tourist Board Invest in South West England
England
– Official Inward Investment Website South West England
England
Brand Centre – Information on the South West England
England
promotional brand Government Office
Government Office
for the South West Government's list of councils in the South West South West England
England
at Curlie (based on DMOZ)

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