West of England

The West of England is a loose and locationally unspecific term sometimes given to the area surrounding the city and county of Bristol, England, and also sometimes applied more widely and in other parts of South West England.

Use in the Bristol areaEdit

The term has been used in the Bristol and Bath area since at least the 18th century. The Royal Bath and West of England Society was named the Bath and West of England Society in 1790.[1] The Royal West of England Academy received its present title in 1913.[2] More recently the term has been used by organisations such as the West of England Partnership,[3] Connexions West of England,[4] and the West of England Sport Trust,[5] as a synonym for the former Avon area, which existed as a local government unit between 1974 and 1996. Some aspects of transport planning and policy are coordinated using the TravelPlus (or Travel +) logo.[6]

The West of England Combined Authority is a combined authority for the area, originally intended to comprise the local authorities of the former county of Avon, including Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset,[7][8][9] but North Somerset declined to participate.[10] The combined authority is led by a Mayor, following the first election in May 2017. The government's stated vision is to create a "Western Powerhouse" analogous to the government's Northern Powerhouse concept. It is said that the proposal could bring nearly £1 billion of investment to the region.[7][8]

The term is also used by the University of the West of England, the Royal West of England Academy,[11] and by voluntary groups and clubs such as the West of England Bridge Club,[12] all of which are based in or near Bristol.

Use more widely in South West EnglandEdit

The term "West of England" is also often used more widely to include the counties of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire; sometimes extending to Devon and Dorset. These counties also form part of the South West of England, a region which additionally includes Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which are in fact the most westerly parts of England.

It is also used by various organisations across the South West, such as the West of England School and College for blind and visually impaired children,[13] based near Exeter, and the West of England Transport Collection,[14] at Winkleigh, Devon. The West of England line is a rail line from Basingstoke in Hampshire through to Exeter, which runs via Salisbury.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About us". Royal Bath and West of England Society. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Royal West of England Academy". Bridgeman Images. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  3. ^ West of England Partnership. Accessed 6 March 2012
  4. ^ Connexions West of England
  5. ^ West of England Sport Trust
  6. ^ Travel Plus in the West of England. Accessed 6 March 2012
  7. ^ a b "West of England £1bn devolution deal announced in Budget". BBC News. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  8. ^ a b Gavin Thompson (16 March 2016). "Metro mayor and £1 billion investment for Greater Bristol announced in Budget 2016". Bristol Post. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  9. ^ "The return of Avon: Osborne announces devolution plans". ITV news. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  10. ^ Crawley, James (8 June 2016). "West of England devolution: North Somerset rejects metro mayor plan". Bath Chronicle.
  11. ^ Royal West of England Academy
  12. ^ West of England Bridge Club
  13. ^ The West of England School and College
  14. ^ West of England Transport Collection