West Country

The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England.[1] The term usually encompasses the historic counties of (from west to east) Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset, and is often extended to include Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, in the South West region.[2] Some definitions also include Herefordshire. The West Country is host to distinctive regional English dialects and accents[3] as well as to the Cornish language.

West Country
One interpretation of the West Country, shown on this map as identical to the South West region of England, incorporating the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.


A West Country trading ketch, a term widely used by the 18th century

The West Country is bounded by the English Channel in the south and the Bristol Channel, Severn Estuary, or Herefordshire in the north. The eastern limit is less clearly defined. Some definitions match that of the official South West England region.[4][5][6] Others refer to three counties, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset;[7] while some take in Herefordshire (officially part of the West Midlands region).

West Country Lamb and West Country Beef are EU Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) covering products from animals born and reared in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire.[8] "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) limited to cheddar cheese made in the traditional way in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset or Somerset.[9]

ITV West Country is an ITV franchise which broadcasts local news, weather and current affairs programmes over two regions; ITV West Country West covering the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon and parts of Dorset and Somerset with ITV West Country East covering the remainder of Somerset and Dorset together with Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. ITV West Country West was an ITV franchise in its own right until 2014 when it merged with that of ITV West, formerly HTV West having been initially launched as Westcountry Television with its main studios in Plymouth in 1993.

West Country Carnivals are held in many towns in and around Somerset. A government-supported museum, galleries and major attractions atlas[10] matched the South West Region, save for Gloucestershire. Histories of the West Country clothing district find a distinctive, exported product from east Somerset and parts of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and sometimes Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Its main regional rival around Tiverton and Exeter to the southwest specialised in its own distinct textiles and clothes.[citation needed]

Other uses

The term is also used to refer to sports matches between such cities as Bristol and Bath[11] or Gloucester and Bath.[12]

The former brewery in Cheltenham traded as West Country Ales; their ceramic plaques can still be seen built into pub walls.[13]

See also


  1. "the West Country". Dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  2. "Town Hall - The West Country". 140townhall.com. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  3. "THE DEVON DIALECT CHALLENGE". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  4. "BBC - "ITV West Country staff to be axed", referring to Bristol and Plymouth". BBC News. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  5. "Blue Badge Tourist Guides - The West Country". Blue-badge-guides.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  6. "The West Country". Pictures of England. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  7. "Latest local news from Thisisthewestcountry.co.uk covering Cornwall, Devon and Somerset". Thisisthewestcountry.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  8. "West Country meat wins EU protection". BBC News. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  9. "PDO - our provenance". West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  10. "West Country - Icons of England". Icons.org.uk. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  11. "Derby match excites Hill & Meehan". BBC News. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  12. "The Times & The Sunday Times". Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  13. "West Country Ales Ceramic Plaques". CAMRA Gloucestershire. Retrieved 20 November 2019.

Further reading

  • Jenner, Michael (1996) Traveller's Companion to the West Country. Claremont Books (Godfrey Cave Associates) ISBN 1854718266 (first published by Michael Joseph, 1990)
  • Weir, John (1993) The West Country. (Great Walks.) London: Ward Lock ISBN 0-7063-6943-2