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The name "Somerset" comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase Sumorsaete. This means "the land of the summer people", because in the past people could only live on the land in the summer. In the winter, the land was flooded.
In 1974 parts of north Somerset, the city of Bristol and parts of south Gloucestershire were joined into a new county. This county was named Avon. In 1996 Avon was split into 4 parts, which are now unitary authorities. People usually say that 2 of these parts (named North Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset) are part of Somerset, even though they have their own councils.
The oldest prison in England which is still used is in a town named Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Somerset also has the world's oldest road which people built. It is called the Sweet Track; it was built in about 3800 BC.
Industry and tourism
Tourism is an important industry in the county; in 2001 about 23,000 people worked in tourism. Tourists like Somerset because it is very beautiful, with much countryside and few big towns. Somerset has many places to visit:
- Part of the Exmoor National Park is in Somerset.
- Another popular place is Glastonbury, which has a popular music festival every year.
- The Cheddar Gorge has caves which are popular with visitors, and locally made cheese.
Interesting places in Somerset
|Owned by the National Trust|
|Owned by English Heritage|
|Forestry Commission||Owned by the Forestry Commission|
|A Country Park|
|An Accessible open space|
|Museum (charges entry fee)|
Districts of Somerset
The numbers on the map are linked to the numbers below.
- South Somerset
- Taunton Deane
- West Somerset
- Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary)
- North Somerset (Unitary)
Cities, towns, and villages
- BBC Somerset
- Somerset County Council
- Bath and North East Somerset Council
- North Somerset Council
- Travel Information