Please sign in to post.

Wessex and Cornwall

Driving through Wessex and Cornwall in May---looking for two villages/towns (one in each of the regions) to use as a base for approx 3 days each, in order to explore the areas. Any suggestions welcome. Thanks

Posted by
1338 posts

Please define what you mean by 'Wessex'? The historic Anglo Saxon kingdom included Cornwall and most of the land all the way up to Birmingham and London!

Basically everything West of London and Sussex, and South of Worcester in England was Wessex.

Posted by
2103 posts

Wessex went out with Thomas Hardy - Shaftesbury maybe???

Posted by
8889 posts

Wessex is traditionally the four counties of Dorset, Wilshire, Hampshire and Somerset. These 4 were the first "shires" founded as sub-divisions of Wessex corresponding to 4 tribes (approx 700 AD, see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset#Toponymy ). As Wessex expanded, it turned the areas it captured into Shires, often named after the former independent kingdoms.
Eventually Mercia fell, the Kingdom of England was established and the whole country divided into Shires.
(Here endeth the History lesson)

Wessex, I suggest the Ilchester Arms hotel, small good and well placed. http://www.ilchesterarms.com/
Another alternative is Lyme Regis. many hotels, but not so centrally located to be a base. It should be on your list of places to visit.

Cornwall, I cannot choose. It partially depends on where you will be visiting. If you are one end of Cornwall, places at the other end are a long way for a day trip.

Posted by
20810 posts

You might be interested in the TV series, "Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages". I believe there's a Wessex episode as well as a Cornwall episode. You might find them on YouTube.

Posted by
46 posts

Thanks to all ----I do appreciate the quick responses. I have to agree slightly with Keith---not sure why the confusion with Wessex---particulaly from those who live in the U.K. I refer to the 2016 publication DK "Eyewitness Travel" pages 244-275 which clearly defines Wessex in detail. Still thanks for the kind posts.

Posted by
1338 posts

How guidebooks split up countries is up to them. As there is no official definition of Wessex the counties suggested by Chris are probably a good guide. Especially the Dorset bit which is is Hardy's Wessex.

Posted by
4636 posts

Thomas Hardy included representation of bits of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Devon and the Isle of Wight in his fictional Wessex. Mind you in his day Oxon and Berks were rather more 'West Country' (another fluid term) than are generally thought of today when they have migrated to the South East.

Personally I'd avoid using the term since it is ill-defined and more a marketing term than anything else.

Posted by
2 posts

Truro isn't exactly a village but it would suit most of Cornwall,lands end is a bit of a drive and possibly Bude is a bit far but it is pretty central,not to big and has lots of places to stay and eat,no more than a hour and a half from anywhere,unless you are here in the summer school holidays then it can take many hours.
Possibly have two bases down here as then you would spend more time looking around and less driving,say Falmouth for a few and then like maybe good old Padstow where I come from,although it is pricey and very busy a lot of the year now,Wadebridge might be a good base for North Cornwall.

Posted by
1338 posts

As Marco points out, it is a very fluid term.

Generally family and friends down there are

Westcountry: Devon and Cornwall with Somerset depending on flavour.

West of England: Somerset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Wiltshire with Dorset for flavour.

Dorset in that part of the world seems to flit between West of England and South Coast, Somerset flits between West of England and Westcountry. Which is also called South West.

Ah the pleasures of geography. We could spend all day debating/arguing/fighting where the point where North and South in England divide and which bit the West is included in.

Posted by
27433 posts

now when I were a boy growing up in Gloucestershire my family and friends referred to all of us as from the West country, and most folk had a very broad west country accent, now mostly died out.

There is no point that marks the dividing line between north & south in England because there's a whole wonderful (and often forgotten) area called the Midlands that sits between the two.

Posted by
1338 posts

If you are in the south Birmingham is in the north. If you are in the north, Birmingham is in the south! ;-)

On a regular basis, I pass signs that say 'The South - Carlisle'. All southerners from here!

Posted by
8 posts

In Dorset, my wife and I stayed at the Crown Inn in Marnhull, near Sturminster Newton. It was a good location for exploring the area. I'm assuming "Wessex" means Thomas Hardy's Wessex. Some parts of Hardy's Tess of the D'Ubervilles take place in Marnhull.

Posted by
46 posts

Hi all,
great discussion on the topic-- and really appreciated the advice from everyone on this part of England.Who knows where we will end up--may run into you Johnny at Padstow as we are certainly going there.