Over 80 per cent of the land area is agricultural, predominantly dairy
farming but with some arable, horticultural, beef and sheep, and just under
10 percent is urban or suburban. The largest urban centres are Bristol,
Bournemouth and Poole, Plymouth, Swindon, Gloucester, Torbay,
Cheltenham and Exeter. Together, these areas account for around a
third of the total population of 5.2 million people.
The transport infrastructure includes the M4 and M5 motorways running
east/west and north/south respectively. There are airports at Bristol,
Exeter, Bournemouth, Plymouth and Newquay. Major ports are at Bristol,
Plymouth, Poole and Falmouth.
The Region has an impressive array of environmental assets and this is
reflected in its many designated areas, ancient monuments and listed
buildings, as well as the high standard of many of its beaches and bathing
waters, rivers and canals.
These pages contain a range of information about the South West and how to
find out more.
GOSW has produced a 'South West - Key Facts' brief that provides a detailed
overview of the Region. It is available to download under 'Related
For a more detailed description of life in the South West see also the
South West Observatory's State of the South West on-line report. This can
be found below in internet links.