How far east does 'The Westcountry' go? That's a question I've been musing about today. It's not the first time I've wondered about it but it was a photo in today's Western Morning News that has given rise to the query now. For some time the WMN has included a half page picture of somewhere within its circulation area that resonates with readers, somewhere that showcases what is so special about the Westcountry. This has proved to be a very popular feature but there is a problem - how far north and east should they go beyond the core area of Devon and Cornwall.
Now I love peninsulas, one reason being that they help to define a locality in terms of geography, history and tradition. This helps Cornwall and Devon to be particularly special for me. But what about Dorset and Somerset? Inevitably there has to be an area which is not quite Westcountry and perhaps not quite Middle England. So I was intrigued to see that today's 'Western Morning View' in the paper was looking north west across the river at Wareham, well in the eastern half of Dorset. I have no problem with Wareham itself, an interesting old town which I would happily revisit. But is it representative of my Westcountry? H'm, I'm not too sure about that. I would happily stretch things a bit by going as far east as Bridport, in fact I recently wrote a piece about the substantial landslip east of Lyme Regis which is (just) in Dorset. Similar reasoning would allow me to include Taunton in Somerset I suppose. Exmoor is something of a geographical anomaly because whereas the greater part is in Somerset there is a significant bit of it in Devon.
Wareham though is pushing the envelope a little too far for me.