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Living and Working in the South West

Joanna Clare

The South West of England has over 5.5 million residents and incorporates the counties of Devon, Cornwall (including the Scilly Isles), Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Bristol which is both a county in its own right and also a city. The entire area spans 23,800 km squared and is blessed with cooler winters, warmer summers and low levels of pollution.

As a whole, the region has enjoyed a pre covid lower unemployment rate than the UK average and with restrictions easing, the job market is definitely showing strong signs of a rapid recovery.

As with any large region, jobs that can potentially dominate the economy will vary from county to county. The south coastal area, which includes Devon and Cornwall relies upon several aspects of tourism, leisure, hospitality and agriculture as well as engineering, high technology, software and finance, whereas the northern and eastern counties have a more mixed economy, mainly embracing manufacturing, technology, defense, aerospace and digital industries. Bristol is the key economic city here, situated at the western end of the ‘M4 corridor’- which is an extremely lively economic area and home to many important multinational companies.

The south west peninsula (between the English and Bristol Channel) is a sweeping coastline of around 700 miles. Much of this is protected which reinforces its beauty and magnetism to both residents and visitors alike.

This glorious region which was once famous for mining tin and copper, may have changed drastically on an economical scale but the attraction to the area continues.

According to GoodMove, Cornwall has been voted one of the best places to live this year, especially as both Devon and Cornwall scored the lowest rates of crime in the UK. However, recent statistics show that houses are currently  in short supply here due to the fact that Covid forced  people to assess their lifestyles and with many realising that beaches and countryside were a priority, this particular area was inundated with interest. Of course, homes are available but you may have to be more focussed on finding the ideal one as there is competition, yet whether its a quaint old cottage in a harbour village or a seaside hideaway that is a haven for surfers, you will find it.

With two national parks, four world heritage sites, beaches galore and the most stunning scenery, you are certainly spoilt for choice. The world famous Stonehenge is situated in the mainly rural county of Wiltshire and much of this county is protected by green belt status. Somerset boasts the historic cities of Wells and Bath, Dorset is known for its Jurassic Coast and Gloucestershire enjoys part of the Cotswold Hills, the Forest of Dean and royal residences.

Earlier this year, Carbis Bay in Cornwall was chosen to hold the G7 Summit, where government leaders from some of the world's richest nations met to discuss global problems. Afterwards, Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked Cornwall for its hospitality and went on to describe it as ‘ one of the most beautiful places in the world’ and really, there's no better compliment than that!

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