Monday, May 26, 2008

South West England

My wife and I lived in South West England while I was a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Exeter in Devonshire.

This part of England consists of the counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall. The South West also includes the port City of Bristol,in between Somerset and Gloucestershire. Bristol is on the River Avon which pours into the River Severn. One of the great men of this area was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the builder of the first iron ocean-going ship, the SS Great Britain, launched in 1843, carrying many British to live in Australia. The ship is on display in Bristol.

Since we were based in Exeter, we traveled often in Cornwall and to the Isles of Scilly to the west of Exeter and to Dorset and Somerset to the east. These counties are tourist destinations for the English and Europeans and have their share of sheep and cows. The counties of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, being close to London, are more urbanized.

The economic development office for this part of England, the South West of England Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) is divided into seven sub-regions: Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, South West England (containing Bristol), and Gloucestershire.

The South West is looking for knowledge-based, high tech companies. I know it's a great place to live, with excellent transportation to get around Europe or around the world. I'm looking for comments on companies that may have looked at South West England to get their feedback on this area.