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SOUTH WEST ENGLAND is one of nine official regions of England
England
. It is the largest in area, covering 9,200 square miles (23,800 km2) and the counties of Gloucestershire , Bristol
Bristol
, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
, Somerset
Somerset
, Dorset , Devon
Devon
and Cornwall
Cornwall
, as well as the Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
. Five million people live in South West England.

The region includes the West Country and much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex
Wessex
. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth
Plymouth
, Swindon
Swindon
, Gloucester
Gloucester
, Cheltenham
Cheltenham
, Exeter
Exeter
, Bath , Torbay
Torbay
, and the South East Dorset
Dorset
conurbation (which includes Bournemouth
Bournemouth
, Poole
Poole
and Christchurch ). There are eight cities: Salisbury
Salisbury
, Bath, Wells , Bristol, Gloucester, Exeter, Plymouth
Plymouth
and Truro
Truro
. It includes two entire national parks , 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. 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 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
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 Tor
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 of England
England
is known for Cheddar cheese , which originated in the Somerset
Somerset
village of Cheddar , Devon cream teas , crabs , Cornish pasties , and cider . It is also home to the Eden Project
Eden Project
, Aardman Animations , the Glastonbury Festival , the Bristol
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 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
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
Middle Ages
* 2.7 16th century * 2.8 17th century * 2.9 Modern history

* 3 Demographics

* 3.1 Teenage pregnancy * 3.2 Deprivation

* 4 Language

* 5 Economy and industry

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

* 6 Subdivisions

* 6.1 Local government * 6.2 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

ENGLAND

This article is part of a series on the politics and government of England
England

Governance

* Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II

* Ministerial departments of the UK Government Specific to England
England
Communities and Local Government Education Environment, Food and Rural
Rural
Affairs Health Primarily involving England
England
Transport Culture, Media and Sport * West Lothian question * Devolution proposals

Regions

* East Midlands
East Midlands
* East of England
England
* Greater London
Greater London
* North East * North West * South East * South West * West Midlands * Yorkshire and the Humber

Law and justice

* Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
* Courts of England
England
and Wales
Wales
* English law

England
England
in the UK

* Parliament of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Elections in England
England
Constituencies Current Westminster MPs

England
England
in the EU

* UK elections to the European Parliament * European Parliament constituencies in England
England
East of England
England
East Midlands
East Midlands
London
London
North East England
England
North West England
England
South East England
England
South West England
England
West Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber

Administrative divisions

* Local government in England
England
* Greater London
Greater London
Greater London
Greater London
Authority London
London
boroughs * Counties Districts * Metropolitan counties Metropolitan districts * Unitary authorities * Combined authorities * Civil parishes

* Other countries * Atlas

* v * t * e

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

GEOLOGY AND LANDSCAPE

Most of the region is located on the South West Peninsula , between the English Channel and Bristol
Bristol
Channel . It has the longest coastline of all the English regions, totalling over 700 miles (1,130 km). 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
River Exe
. 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
High Willhays
, at 2,038 feet (621 m), on Dartmoor . 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 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 was Thomas Hardy 's "Vale of the Little Dairies"; another, the Somerset
Somerset
Levels was created by reclaiming wetlands. 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 and Mendip Hills , where they support sheep farming. All of the principal rock types can be seen on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset
Dorset
and East Devon, where they document the entire Mesozoic era from west to east.

CLIMATE

Main article: Climate of south-west England
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. 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. It is the second windiest area of the United Kingdom, the majority of winds coming from the south-west and north-east. Government organisations predict the region to rise in temperature and become the hottest region in the United Kingdom.

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. 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
Bodmin Moor
, 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

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
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.

In particular, Cornwall
Cornwall
's inclusion in the region is disputed by Cornish nationalists. The cross-party Cornish Constitutional Convention and Cornish nationalist party Mebyon Kernow have campaigned for a Cornish Assembly ever since the idea of regional devolution was put forward.

SETTLEMENTS

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
Bristol
, Plymouth
Plymouth
, Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and Poole
Poole
(which together with Christchurch make up the South East Dorset
Dorset
conurbation ), Swindon
Swindon
, Torbay
Torbay
, Gloucester
Gloucester
, Cheltenham
Cheltenham
, Exeter
Exeter
, Bath , Weston-super-Mare , Salisbury
Salisbury
, Taunton
Taunton
and Weymouth . The population of the South West is about five million.

TRANSPORT

The region lies on several main line railways . The Great Western Main Line runs from London
London
to Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth
Plymouth
and 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 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
Gloucester
.

The vast majority of trains in the region are operated by South West Trains , 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 West Trains). South West Trains operate services to and from London Waterloo and serves every county in the region except Gloucestershire and Cornwall
Cornwall
(they no longer operate west of Exeter
Exeter
as of 2009). First Great Western 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 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 and the South Wales Main Line in Wiltshire, Somerset, Greater Bristol
Bristol
and Gloucestershire. 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. 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 began repair work and the line reopened on 4 April 2014. In the wake of widespread disruption caused by damage to the mainline track at Dawlish
Dawlish
by coastal storms in February 2014, Network Rail are considering reopening the Tavistock to Okehampton and Exeter
Exeter
section of the line as an alternative to the coastal route. M5 looking north towards Avonmouth

Three major roads enter the region from the east. The 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
Bristol
, Exeter
Exeter
, Newquay and Bournemouth
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. 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., Cornwall
Cornwall
U.A., Devon
Devon
, Dorset
Dorset
, Gloucestershire , Plymouth
Plymouth
U.A., Somerset
Somerset
, Swindon
Swindon
U. A., Torbay U. A. and Wiltshire
Wiltshire
unitary authority . The transport authorities of Bath and North East Somerset
Somerset
U. A., Bristol
Bristol
U. A., North Somerset
Somerset
U. A. and South Gloucestershire U. A. publish a single Joint Local Transport Plan as part of the West of England
England
Partnership .

HISTORY

PRE-ROMAN

Stonehenge
Stonehenge

There is evidence from flint artefacts in a quarry at 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. There is some evidence of human occupation of southern England
England
before the last ice age , such as at 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 in the 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. 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 hunters. The landscape at this time was tundra . Britain's oldest complete skeleton, Cheddar Man , lived at Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
around 7150 BC (in the Upper Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age), shortly after the end of the ice age; 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 flint tool found in West Sedgemoor is the earliest indication of human presence on the Somerset
Somerset
Levels. During the 7th millennium BC the sea level rose and flooded the valleys, so the Mesolithic people occupied seasonal camps on the higher ground, indicated by scatters of flints. 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
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. The Levels were also the location of the Glastonbury
Glastonbury
Lake Village as well as two lake villages at Meare . Stonehenge
Stonehenge
and 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 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 , but this may be a mistake. The Celtic gods were worshipped at the temple of Sulis at Bath and possibly the temple on Brean Down . Iron Age
Iron Age
sites on the Quantock Hills include major hill forts at Dowsborough and Ruborough , as well as smaller earthwork enclosures, such as Trendle Ring , 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
Cornwall
, Wales, and Brittany
Brittany
.

ROMAN PERIOD

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

During the Roman era , the east of the region, particularly the 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. 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
Vespasian
. The hillforts of the 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. A 19th-century Photochrom of the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset
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 Hills , which also offered the potential for the extraction of silver. Forts were set up at Bath and Ilchester . The lead and silver mines at Charterhouse in the 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 and south-west towards Axminster
Axminster
. The road from Dorchester ran through 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 .

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, 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 . In October 2001 the 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. 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
Frome
, in a jar 14 inches (36 cm) below the surface. The coins were excavated by archaeologists from the Portable Antiquities Scheme .

BRITISH KINGDOMS AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE SAXONS

Maes Knoll the western end of Wansdyke Main articles: Wessex and Constitutional status of Cornwall
Cornwall

After the Romans left at the start of the 5th century AD, the region split into several British kingdoms, including Dumnonia
Dumnonia
, centred around the old tribal territory of the Dumnonii . The upper Thames area soon came under Anglo-Saxon control but the remainder of the region was in British control until the 6th century. Bokerley Dyke , a large defensive ditch on Cranborne Chase dated to 367, delayed the Saxon conquest of Dorset, with the Romano-British remaining in 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 Celts
Celts
and the West Saxons following the Battle of Deorham in 577. The Anglo-Saxons then gained control of the Cotswold area; but most of Somerset, 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 (in the _Avon Gap_ in the Wansdyke) in 652, and further south at the Battle of Peonnum (at Penselwood ) in 658, followed by an advance west through the Polden Hills to the River Parrett . 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 ), or Bathampton Down . The Battle of Bedwyn was fought in 675 between Escuin , a West Saxon nobleman who had seized the throne of Queen Saxburga , and King Wulfhere of Mercia
Mercia
. 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_ this was destroyed 12 years later. Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
refortified Exeter
Exeter
as a defensive burh , followed by new erections at Lydford , 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

The English defeated a combined Cornish and Danish force at Hingston Down (near Gunnislake) in 838. Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
built similarly at 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 . 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. 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. Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle in 978 saw the murder of King Edward the Martyr
Edward the Martyr
, whose body was taken first to Wareham and then to Shaftesbury
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 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
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 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 . This is believed to have been owned by King Alfred. 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 . Sweyn Forkbeard
Sweyn Forkbeard

11TH CENTURY

In the late pre-Norman period, the east coast of modern-day England came increasingly under the sway of the Norsemen . Eventually England came to be ruled by Norse monarchs, and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms fell one by one, Wessex
Wessex
being conquered in 1013 by King Sweyn Forkbeard
Sweyn Forkbeard
. Sweyn's realms included Denmark
Denmark
and Norway
Norway
, and parts of 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
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 retook Wessex
Wessex
for the Saxons. In 1016 Edmund Ironside
Edmund Ironside
was crowned king at Glastonbury.

MIDDLE AGES

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
Shaftesbury
. The period saw the growth of towns such as Truro
Truro
, Totnes , Okehampton and 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
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 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. 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. Bridgwater Castle was built in 1202 by William Brewer . It passed to the king in 1233 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
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
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 and hunting ground was established, administered by the Warden. The Royal Forest was sold off in 1818. 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, covering 80 miles (130 km) of the Somerset
Somerset
coast line, from the Devon
Devon
border to the mouth of the River Axe . 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. Quays were built in 1424; with another quay, the _Langport slip_, being built in 1488 upstream of the Town Bridge. In Bristol
Bristol
the port began to develop in the 11th century. 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. By the 14th century Bristol was one of England's three largest medieval towns after London, along with York
York
and Norwich
Norwich
, with perhaps 15,000–20,000 inhabitants on the eve of the Black Death of 1348–49. 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. Perkin Warbeck
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
Perkin Warbeck
, besieged Exeter. The Cornish Rebellion of 1497 led by An Gof and Thomas Flamank ended in a march to Blackheath in London
London
where the Cornish forces were massacred.

16TH CENTURY

Great disturbances throughout both Cornwall
Cornwall
and Devon
Devon
followed the introduction of Edward VI 's Book of Common Prayer . The day after Whit Sunday 1549, a priest at Sampford Courtenay was persuaded to read the old mass . 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. 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 declined rapidly afterwards and the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Monasteries
resulted in the eventual loss of the 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.

17TH CENTURY

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. 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.

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 in 1645. Bristol
Bristol
was occupied by Royalist military, after they overran Royal Fort , the last Parliamentarian stronghold in the city. Taunton
Taunton
Castle had fallen into ruin by 1600 but it was repaired during the Civil War. The castle changed hands several times during 1642–45 along with the town. 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. This war resulted in castles being slighted (destroyed to prevent their re-use). James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth

In 1685, the Duke of Monmouth led the 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. They were defeated in the Battle of Sedgemoor at Westonzoyland , the last battle fought on English soil. The Bloody Assizes which followed saw the losers being sentenced to death or transportation . 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 Wincanton , in Somerset
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.

MODERN HISTORY

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
Royal Navy
. HMNB Devonport is now the largest naval base in Western Europe. The large Portland Harbour , built at the end of the 19th century and protected by 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 . North Petherton was the first town in England
England
(and one of the few ever) to be lit by acetylene gas lighting. 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 . 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, 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
Normandy
. The British Government evacuated approximately 3,000 local residents in the area of Slapton , now South Hams District of Devon
Devon
. Some of them had never left their villages before. Bristol's city centre suffered severe damage from Luftwaffe bombing during the Bristol
Bristol
Blitz of World War II. The Royal Ordnance Factory ROF Bridgwater was constructed early in World War II
World War II
for the Ministry of Supply . 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. Porlock
Porlock
, Exmoor
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 . 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 were designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956, the first such designation in England
England
under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 . The Mendip Hills followed with AONB designation in 1972.

Hinkley Point A nuclear power station was a Magnox
Magnox
power station constructed between 1957 and 1962 and operating until ceasing generation in 2000. 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 (EDF), that a third, twin-unit European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) reactor known as Hinkley Point C is planned, to replace Hinkley Point B which is due for closure in 2016.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Regional profile of the South West

KEY POPULATION DATA FOR SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

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. 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 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
Plymouth
. 97.71% of the South West's population are classified as White British .

TEENAGE PREGNANCY

For top-tier authorities, Torbay
Torbay
has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the region, with Exeter
Exeter
the highest rate for council districts. For top-tier authorities, North Somerset
Somerset
(closely followed by Bath "> 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 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.

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 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 makes tumble dryers in Yate ; HP and Infineon Technologies UK are at Stoke Gifford . 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.

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 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 .

Tourism is important in the region, and in 2003 the tourist sector contributed £4,928 million to the region's economy. In 2001 the GVA of the hotel industry was £2,200 million, and the region had 13,800 hotels with 250,000 bed spaces.

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, 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 , and the UKTI office is at the Leigh Court Business Centre in Abbots Leigh , North Somerset
Somerset
.

CORNWALL

Main article: Economy of Cornwall
Cornwall

Major companies in Cornwall
Cornwall
include Imerys who are major producers of kaolin, Dairy Crest who have their main cheese creamery in Davidstow making Cathedral City Cheddar on the former RAF Davidstow Moor , and Ginsters have a food production plant in Callington , off the A390 between Liskeard and Tavistock. Rodda\'s make clotted cream near Scorrier , off the A30 east of Redruth. Fugro Seacore in Mongleath near Falmouth are leading offshore drilling contractors. Kensa Heat Pumps are west of Truro. The Ginsters bakery

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. It contributes only 7.4% of the region's economy and has received EU Convergence funding (formerly Objective One funding) since 2000. Over four million people visit the county each year. The reasons for Cornwall's poor economic performance are complex and apparently persistent, but causes include its remoteness and poor transport links, 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).

DEVON

Main article: Economy and industry of Devon
Devon
See also: Mining
Mining
in Cornwall
Cornwall
and Devon
Devon
The Met Office , with cumulus humilis cloud

The Met Office is in Exeter
Exeter
as is Pennon Group , the water company. The airline Flybe
Flybe
is based at Exeter
Exeter
Airport; Plymouth
Plymouth
City Airport closed in 2011. Hemerdon Mine , east of Plymouth, has one of the largest deposits of tungsten in the world. Britannia Royal Naval College is at Dartmouth . Appledore Shipbuilders are based at Appledore, Torridge, Devon
Devon
, three miles north of Bideford . Parker Hannifin have their instrumentation division next to the Taw Bridge (A361 ) at Pottington in Barnstaple. Next to Royal Marines Base Chivenor Perrigo makes Germolene and own-label OTC medicines at the Wrafton Laboratories in Heanton Punchardon on the A361.

All Ambrosia products are made in Lifton , off the A30 on the River Lyd . Parkham Farms make Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar at Woolfardisworthy, Torridge . 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 formerly Devonport Management Limited (DML). Centrax make industrial gas turbines in Newton Abbot
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.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company UK (chewing gum) and HMNB Devonport (the largest naval base in western Europe) are 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; Britain made its last television at the site on 27 August 2009. Princess Yachts make motor yachts off the A374 in Stonehouse .

DORSET

Main article: Dorset
Dorset
§ Economy and industry The Lifeboat College in Poole
Poole

New Look is in Weymouth . Hall Lush , the cosmetics company, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are headquartered nearby. Parvalux , on the A3049 on the West Howe Ind Estate in Wallisdown , makes geared DC electric motors and gearboxes. Ryvita is made in Parkstone
Parkstone
on the B3061. Hamworthy Combustion is an international engineering consultancy based at the A349/A3049 junction in Fleetsbridge . 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, and Sunseeker International is a main motor yacht manufacturer.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

An aerial view of GCHQ\'s headquarters , 2004

The biggest employer in Gloucestershire is the intelligence agency GCHQ , who are based at ' The Doughnut ', their headquarters in Cheltenham. Other major business headquarters located in Cheltenham are Endsleigh Insurance in Shurdington , UCAS
UCAS
, Kohler Mira Ltd (showers), Spirax-Sarco Engineering Plc , Chelsea Building Society , GE Aviation Systems UK (former Smiths Group ). Computer security firm Symantec have a site in Gloucester, the base of Ecclesiastical Insurance . Dowty Rotol (who make propellors), Messier-Dowty UK (historically Britain's main aircraft undercarriage manufacturer, now owned by Safran ) and Bond Aviation Group (helicopter leasing) are next to Gloucestershire Airport at Staverton . The Cheltenham
Cheltenham
& Gloucester
Gloucester
bank is Barnwood (north Gloucester) next to Unilever
Unilever
's manufacturing site for Wall\'s ice cream on the A417 and to the south EDF Energy (former British Energy ) have their nuclear energy engineering centre.

Moog Controls UK on the Ashchurch Ind Estate by Ashchurch for Tewkesbury near junction 9 (A46) of the M5 makes servo valves for the aerospace industry (flight control systems ). The Colt Car Company UK (who distribute Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Motors
) are in Cirencester , and Corin Group make artificial joints on the A429 near the Royal Agricultural University . The Stroud nearby ReedHycalog (owned by National Oilwell Varco ) make industrial drill bits off the A419 . GSK makes Lucozade and Ribena at Coleford in the Forest of Dean . The Fire Service College is in Moreton-in-Marsh near Moreton-in-Marsh station . The Army Air Corps has 67 Yeovil-built, Rolls-Royce RTM322 -powered AgustaWestland Apache
AgustaWestland Apache
AH1 helicopters

SOMERSET

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

The Royal Marines have a large base for 40 Commando west of Taunton
Taunton
, with their training centre at Lympstone Commando in Devon, on the Avocet Line with its own station of Lympstone and the A376 and River Exe . Screwfix is in Yeovil and Clarks shoes is 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 . Uniq Desserts make premium chilled desserts, such as tiramisu for M "> Brandy butter plant at 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 in North Somerset
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 and Rotork
Rotork
are in Bath . Cadbury used to make _ Curly Wurly _, _Double Decker _ and _ Crunchie _ at the Somerdale Factory , Keynsham
Keynsham
until Kraft closed the plant in March 2011 and moved production to Skarbimierz, Opole Voivodeship in Poland.

WILTSHIRE

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

Castrol , the Nationwide Building Society , Research Councils UK and five research councils , Intel Europe , and the British Computer Society are in Swindon, as are the main offices of English Heritage and the National Trust , both housed in the former Great Western Railway 's Swindon
Swindon
Works . In Stratton St Margaret , BMW
BMW
press metal for the MINI at Swindon
Swindon
Pressings Ltd , there is a major Honda manufacturing plant (also in South Marston), and the headquarters of W H Smith . Near junction 16 of the M4, close to Freshbrook , are Synergy Health and RWE npower . Triumph International UK is in Blunsdon St Andrew . On the A361 in Highworth north-east of Swindon, TS Tech make seating systems for Honda.

Dyson is in Malmesbury , north of the M4. Cotswold Outdoor (recommended supplier to the DofE Award and the Scout Association), is based at the Cotswold Airport near the Gloucestershire boundary south of Cirencester. Shredded Wheat factory at Staverton north of Trowbridge
Trowbridge

Trowbridge
Trowbridge
has Apetito UK, Wiltshire
Wiltshire
Farm Foods , Danone UK and their subsidiary Numico . Cereal Partners make Shredded Wheat and Shreddies at Staverton , near Trowbridge. In Devizes
Devizes
is the Wadworth Brewery . Salisbury
Salisbury
Cathedral in Salisbury
Salisbury
attracts many tourists. Rockhopper Exploration is in the town and Naim Audio make hi-fi equipment. Nearby, Dstl is at Porton Down . Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems UK (formerly Westinghouse) make railway air brakes in Bowerhill just south of Melksham and nearby are the headquarters of Avon Rubber and Herman Miller UK, a maker of office furniture. Cooper Tire ">

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The official region consists of the following geographic counties and local government areas:

MAP CEREMONIAL COUNTY SHIRE COUNTY / UNITARY DISTRICTS

_ Somerset
Somerset
1. Bath and North East Somerset
Somerset
UA

2. North Somerset
Somerset
UA

11. Somerset
Somerset
CC a_) South Somerset
Somerset
, _b_) Taunton
Taunton
Deane , _c_) West Somerset
Somerset
, _d_) Sedgemoor , _e_) Mendip

3. Bristol
Bristol
UA

Gloucestershire 4. South Gloucestershire UA

5. Gloucestershire CC _a_) Gloucester
Gloucester
, _b_) Tewkesbury , _c_) Cheltenham
Cheltenham
, _d_) Cotswold , _e_) Stroud , _f_) Forest of Dean

Wiltshire
Wiltshire
6. Swindon
Swindon
UA

7. Wiltshire
Wiltshire
UA

Dorset
Dorset
8. Dorset
Dorset
CC _a_) Weymouth and Portland , _b_) West Dorset
Dorset
, _c_) North Dorset
Dorset
, _d_) Purbeck , _e_) East Dorset
Dorset
, _f_) Christchurch

9. Poole
Poole
UA

10. Bournemouth
Bournemouth
UA

Devon
Devon
12. Devon
Devon
CC _a_) Exeter
Exeter
, _b_) East Devon
Devon
, _c_) Mid Devon
Devon
, _d_) North Devon
Devon
, _e_) Torridge
Torridge
, _f_) West Devon
Devon
, _g_) South Hams , _h_) Teignbridge

13. Torbay
Torbay
UA

14. Plymouth
Plymouth
UA

Cornwall
Cornwall
15. Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly
_sui generis_ UA

16. Cornwall
Cornwall
UA

UA = unitary authority CC = county council

EUROSTAT NUTS

In the 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
Bristol
/Bath area UKK1 Bristol
Bristol
UKK11

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

Gloucestershire CC UKK13

Swindon
Swindon
UKK14

Wiltshire
Wiltshire
UKK15

Dorset
Dorset
and Somerset
Somerset
UKK2 Bournemouth
Bournemouth
and Poole
Poole
UKK21

Dorset
Dorset
CC UKK22

Somerset
Somerset
UKK23

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

Devon
Devon
UKK4 Plymouth
Plymouth
UKK41

Torbay
Torbay
UKK42

Devon
Devon
CC UKK43

SOUTH WEST REGIONAL ASSEMBLY

Durdle Door in Dorset
Dorset
is part of the Jurassic Coast , England's only natural World Heritage Site
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 (SWRA) was the regional assembly for the South West region, established in 1999. It was based in Exeter
Exeter
and Taunton
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.

POLITICS

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 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 (46)

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

LABOUR (7)

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

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS (1)

* Bath

INDEPENDENT (1)

* Newton Abbot
Newton Abbot

* SOUTH WEST ENGLAND European constituency: Conservative (2) * Green (1) * Labour (1) * UKIP (2)

ELECTIONS

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.

EDUCATION

SCHOOLS

See also: List of schools in the South West of England
England

SECONDARY EDUCATION

Sir Thomas Rich\'s School in Gloucester
Gloucester

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. In 2012, 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%.

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.

FURTHER EDUCATION

There are around 29 further education colleges in the region.

HIGHER EDUCATION

University of Bath
University of Bath

There are twelve universities in the region:

* The Arts University Bournemouth
Bournemouth
* Bournemouth
Bournemouth
University * Bath Spa University * University of Bath
University of Bath
* University of Bristol
Bristol
* University of Exeter
Exeter
* Falmouth University * University of Gloucestershire * The University of Law
The University of Law
* Plymouth
Plymouth
University * Royal Agricultural University * University of St Mark around 4% go to the West Midlands or Wales.

LOCAL MEDIA

_ BBC Wiltshire
Wiltshire
building in Swindon
Swindon
TV

* 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 _ regional programme. * N.B. Parts of Dorset, including Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth also receive BBC South and ITV Meridian from Southampton
Southampton
. Digital switchover from Mendip (for _Points West_) took place in April 2010, and for the _Spotlight_ area it took place in mid-2009.

Radio

* BBC Radios Cornwall
Cornwall
, Devon
Devon
, Somerset
Somerset
, Solent (Dorset), Bristol , Wiltshire
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
Devon
, Heart Gloucestershire (Gloucester), Heart Wiltshire
Wiltshire
(Swindon), Palm 105.5 (Torquay), Total Star Somerset
Somerset
(former QuayWest 107.4FM in Bridgwater), Total Star Swindon
Swindon
(former Brunel FM), Total Star Warminster (former 3TR FM), Total Star Bath (former Bath FM), Nova Radio ( Weston-super-Mare ), Spire FM ( Salisbury
Salisbury
), Wessex
Wessex
FM (Dorchester ), Fire Radio (Bournemouth), and Heart Solent (Bournemouth).

Newspapers

* Regional newspapers include the Bath Chronicle
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
Trowbridge
), Gazette and Herald (North -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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