The South West accounts for 18 per cent of England's land area and is home to around 5.2 million people. The South West's historic environment is rich and diverse, and includes outstanding examples from prehistory to the post-war period. The region is predominantly rural and defined more by market towns and village settlements than large cities; almost 40 per cent of the land is protected as either National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The coast is also a defining feature, it is 2,100km in length and one third is designated Heritage Coast. Coastal settlements are characterised by fishing villages, historic ports, harbours and resort towns. The coastal waters are rich in shipwrecks (including 23 protected wrecks) and submerged archaeology.
The South West has a high proportion of England's protected historic assets - a quarter of all listed buildings and a third of all scheduled ancient monuments. It has four World Heritage Sites : Stonehenge, the City of Bath, Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and the Jurassic Coast. All of this is important to the people who live here, and is a major driver of the region's tourism industry.
Please use the links on this page to find out more about the South West and the work that we do here.