Map of the Avon Area

Map of Avon

County Council


Established in 1974, Avon was a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county. Situated in the south west of England, the county was formed from sections of the historic counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, along with the City of Bristol. It was named after the River Avon, which is found in the area. In 1996, Avon as a county ceased to exist when it was split into Bath & North East Somerset, the City of Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire. At the time of its abolition, Avon covered an area of just over 1,347 square kilometres (520 square miles) and had a population of over 919,800.

Today, much of the historic county of Avon encompasses the West of England. According to the 2011 Census, the region is home to approximately 1.1 million people. Bristol is the region's largest city with over 428,000 people. Other major settlements include the historic town of Bath and the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare. Other cities and towns include Yate, Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Clevedon, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and Radstock, Thornbury, Filton, Patcheway, Bradley Stocke, Nailsea, Yatton, and Portishead. Avon continues to be used throughout the region, including for the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, the Avon Coroner's District, and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

Major areas of economic activity in what was traditionally known as Avon include manufacturing and service sectors. Engineering, construction, distribution, financial and professional services, high-tech, retail, low carbon and creative industries are well represented throughout the region. The region is the largest aerospace and defence cluster in the UK, with 59,000 direct jobs in advanced engineering, aerospace and defence. Bristol and Bath also make up the largest cluster of silicon designers outside North America.

Tourism is also a significant economic driver thanks to a mix of historic sites, picturesque villages and towns, areas of natural beauty, and attractive beaches. The region attracts 3 million overnight tourist visits and 28 million day visitors very year, according to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. The sector employs approximately 55,000 people and tourists spent £1.8 billion each year in the region. Some of the region's largest draws include the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare, the Roman Baths in Bath, the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, the Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bath Abbey, and the Bristol Aquarium. Major retail centres include Cabot Circus and Cribbs Causeway, as well as Bath's historic centre. Annual festivals such as the Bristol Balloon Festival and the Bath Internal Music Festival also attract visitors from across Britain and around the world.