The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England. 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. Some definitions also include Herefordshire. The West Country is host to distinctive regional English dialects and accents as well as to the Cornish language.
The West Country is bounded by the English Channel in the south and (perhaps partly) by the Bristol Channel in the north. However the West Country's eastern limit is not precisely defined, as different definitions are used. Some definitions are roughly synonymous with South West England, while others refer to only the southwestern part, or in a wider sense to include areas such as Herefordshire (in the West Midlands region).
West Country Carnival events take place in Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. ITV Westcountry is an ITV franchise covering the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, Devon and areas of Dorset and Somerset. Local news and sport website "This is the Westcountry", part of the Newsquest group, similarly covers Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
"West Country Lamb" and "West Country Beef" have EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which can be applied only to lamb and beef products from animals born and reared in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire. Similarly, "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) that can be applied to cheddar cheese made in the traditional way only in the four counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport-supported website "Icons of England" defines the West Country as including Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, and the former Avon area, but excluding Dorset (in "South England") and Gloucestershire (defined as part of the "West Midlands").
The "West Country" edition of the 2005 BBC TV series Seven Natural Wonders featured "wonders" in Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire (Symonds Yat), but not those in Cornwall or Devon which were the subject of a separate programme on the "South West", nor Dorset which was covered in a programme on "The South".
The "West Country Clothing District" was an area that made woollen cloth. It covered east Somerset and parts of the counties of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and at some periods extended into Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The clothing district around Tiverton and Exeter in Devon and west Somerset tended to make different kinds of cloth and is usually regarded as distinct.
The former brewery in Cheltenham traded as West Country Ales; their ceramic plaques can still be seen built into pub walls.
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