From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
See Somerset (disambiguation) and Somerset County for places called Somerset in the United States.
The traditional northern boundary of the county was the River Avon, but this has gradually crept southwards, with the creation and expansion of the City of Bristol. In 1974 a large chunk of northern Somerset was removed to form the southern half of the County of Avon. Avon has now been abolished, and North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset have reverted to Somerset for ceremonial purposes, but are now independent counties in their own right for local government purposes.
The name is pronounced as though spelt Summerset but some local people pronounce it Zummerzet with a distinct rolled R, showing two characteristics of the strong local accent.
Somerset adjoins Gloucestershire to the north east, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south east and Devon to the southwest. Much of its northern edge is the shoreline of the Bristol Channel. Somerton was the original county town, but in recent years that role has been transferred to Taunton. The only city is Wells, which is the smallest in England, with a population of around 10,000.
Other important towns include Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Yeovil. The latter town is important in the manufacture of helicopters. Glastonbury is famous for its open-air rock festivals and many mythical associations. Much of the county is very scenic and relatively unspoilt. The Cheddar Gorge is famous for caves open to visitors. apple orchards were plentiful and to this day Somerset is linked to the production of strong cider, arguably more so than any other part of the world. Somerset contains England's oldest prison that is still in use, in the small town of Shepton Mallet.
Towns and villages
Districts of Somerset
Places of Interest