South West Overview
The South West is geographically the largest most rural English region, 23,837 km2 - more than 18% of England.
It is a highly diverse region, comprising the 6 sub-regional areas of:
- Bristol and Bath (West of England)
- Devon and Cornwall
- Dorset, Bournemouth & Poole
- Swindon and Wiltshire
This region has:
- a population of around 5.2 million people
- over 21% of the population are of retirement age or over
- the highest percentage of rural land of any English region
- around three quarters of the total land area is part of an agricultural holding
- over 23% of Secondary Schools are in isolated hamlets
- a number of major urban centres
- Bristol has over 400,000 people
- Bournemouth & Poole has over 300,000 people
- Plymouth has over 250,000 people
The transport links are limited across the South West. Thay are met mainly by the:
- M4 and M5
- with limited A and B roads feeding the rest of the region
- Even though the distance is slightly further, it takes almost an hour less to travel by car from the North of the region (Gloucestershire) to Scotland than it does to travel from the north of the region to the tip of Cornwall!
Public transport is highly dependent on the locality, but can be a particular challenge for schools and young people in the very rural areas of the region.
There are 5 regional airports:
The South West contributes almost 15% of the UK’s gross value added (GVA) − a key measure of the economic performance of a region. The region’s headline GVA was £94.2 billion in 2007, fifth largest of the nine English regions.