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North Somerset is a unitary authority in England. Its area covers part of the ceremonial county of Somersetmarker but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters are in the town hall in Weston-super-Maremarker.

North Somerset borders the local government areas of Bristolmarker, Bath and North East Somerset and Sedgemoor. North Somerset contains the parliamentary constituencies of Weston-super-Mare and Woodspringmarker, although the latter will be renamed North Somerset at the next general election.


Between 1 April 1974 and 1 April 1996, it was the Woodspring district of the county of Avon (named after Woodspring Priorymarker, an isolated mediaeval church near the coast just north east of Weston-super-Mare). The district of Woodspring was formed from the municipal boroughs of Weston-super-Maremarker, Clevedonmarker and Portisheadmarker urban districts, Long Ashton Rural District, and part of Axbridge Rural District.

Settlements and communications

The principal towns in the district are the coastal towns of Weston-super-Mare, Portishead and Clevedon and the commuter town Nailseamarker.

Places of interest

North Somerset's natural environment and coastal towns attract visitors from the nearby cities. Notable geographical features include:

The district is noted for the religious buildings at:


Image Name Status Population Former local authority Coordinates Refs
Abbots Leighmarker Civil Parish 810 Long Ashton Rural District
Backwellmarker Civil Parish 5,455 Long Ashton Rural District
Banwellmarker Civil Parish 2,923 Axbridge Rural District
Barrow Gurneymarker Civil Parish 374 Long Ashton Rural District
Blagdonmarker Civil Parish 1,172 Axbridge Rural District
Bleadonmarker Civil Parish 1,068 Axbridge Rural District
Brockleymarker Civil Parish 271 Long Ashton Rural District
Burringtonmarker Civil Parish 477 Axbridge Rural District
Butcombemarker Civil Parish 232 Axbridge Rural District
Churchillmarker Civil Parish 2,241 Axbridge Rural District
Clapton in Gordanomarker Civil Parish 347 Long Ashton Rural District
Cleevemarker Civil Parish 941 Long Ashton Rural District
Clevedonmarker Town 21,957 Clevedon Urban District
Congresburymarker Civil Parish 3,400 Axbridge Rural District
Dundrymarker Civil Parish 871 Long Ashton Rural District
Easton in Gordanomarker Civil Parish 4,719 Long Ashton Rural District
Flax Bourtonmarker Civil Parish 659 Long Ashton Rural District
Huttonmarker Civil Parish 2,627 Axbridge Rural District
Kennmarker Civil Parish 332 Long Ashton Rural District
Kewstokemarker Civil Parish 1,624 Axbridge Rural District
Kingston Seymourmarker Civil Parish 338 Long Ashton Rural District
Lockingmarker Civil Parish 2,144 Axbridge Rural District
Long Ashtonmarker Civil Parish 4,981 Long Ashton Rural District
Loxtonmarker Civil Parish 202 Axbridge Rural District
Nailseamarker Town 18,000 Long Ashton Rural District
Portburymarker Civil Parish 830 Long Ashton Rural District
Portishead and North Westonmarker Town 17,130 Long Ashton Rural District
Puxtonmarker Civil Parish 328 Axbridge Rural District
St Georgesmarker Civil Parish 1,214 Axbridge Rural District
Tickenhammarker Civil Parish 909 Axbridge Rural District
Walton in Gordanomarker Civil Parish 217 Axbridge Rural District
Weston in Gordanomarker Civil Parish 300 Axbridge Rural District
Weston super Maremarker Town 71,758 Axbridge Rural District
Weston super Mare Municipal Borough
Wick St Lawrencemarker Civil Parish 1,296 Axbridge Rural District
Winfordmarker Civil Parish 1,995 Long Ashton Rural District
Winscombe and Sandfordmarker Civil Parish 4,332 Axbridge Rural District
Wraxall and Failandmarker Civil Parish 2,360 Long Ashton Rural District
Wringtonmarker Civil Parish 2,896 Axbridge Rural District
Yattonmarker Civil Parish 9,176 Long Ashton Rural District


North Somerset's economy is traditionally based on agriculture, including sheep raised for wool on the Mendip Hills and dairy farming in the valleys. During the Georgian era tourism became a significant economic sector in the coastal towns, most notably Weston-super-Mare which grew from a small village to a large resort town. Though tourism declined in the mid to late-20th century, in common with most British coastal resorts, this sector of the economy has stabilised.

In the 19th century the major port city of Bristol found that modern ships had outgrown the narrow river approach and the Port of Bristolmarker company began seeking locations for new docks on the coast. The first of these was Portishead Dock, which handled coal from South Wales, though this too has seen shipping outgrow its facilities. The newer Royal Portbury Dockmarker is noted for the large volume of car imports.

This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of North and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire at current basic prices (pp.240-253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 5,916 125 1,919 3,872
2000 8,788 86 2,373 6,330
2003 10,854 67 2,873 7,914

 Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
includes hunting and forestry
includes energy and construction
includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured


North Somerset Compared
UK Census 2001 North Somerset UA South West England England
Total population 188,564 4,928,434 49,138,831
Foreign born 9.5% 9.4% 9.2%
White 97.1% 97.7% 91%
Asian 1.7% 0.7% 4.6%
Black 0.9% 0.4% 2.3%
Christian 75.0% 74.0% 72%
Muslim 0.2% 0.5% 3.1%
Hindu 0.1% 0.2% 1.1%
No religion 16.6% 16.8% 15%
Over 75 years old 9.9% 9.3% 7.5%
Unemployed 2.1% 2.6% 3.3%

North Somerset covers an area of around and has a resident population of 193,000 (1.4% BME) living in 85,000 households.

The population of North Somerset has doubled since the 1950s and is predicted to rise by 6,184 or 3.0% to 2011 and to 2026 by 17%. Whilst the proportion of people in North Somerset who are under 45 is lower than the national average, population growth is predicted to be strongest in the 2034 age group. Conversely North Somerset has a 4.2% higher percentage of older people (60+ female, 65+male) than the rest of England and Wales. This disparity increases with age with the percentage of the population over 75 years almost 30% higher than the national average, resulting in a relatively aged population.

In 2001 there were 134,132 people of working age living in North Somerset and 91,767 were in employment; an economic activity rate of 68.4%. This is very close to the economic activity rate of the West of England sub-region which was 68.8% in the 2001 census.

The 2001 census stated that 1.38% of North Somerset residents identified themselves as belonging to a visible ethnic group and a further 1.27% identified themselves as ‘white other’.

Population since 1801 - Source: A Vision of Britain through Time
Year 1801 1851 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population North Somerset 16,670 33,774 60,066 68,410 75,276 82,833 91,967 102,119 119,509 139,924 160,353 179,865 188,556


The Unitary Authority of North Somerset, provides support for 78 schools, delivering education to approximately 28,000 pupils.

They are listed at List of schools in North Somerset

See also


  1. A Vision of Britain Through Time : Long Ashton Rural District
  2. A Vision of Britain Through Time : Axbridge Rural District
  3. A Vision of Britain Through Time : Clevedon Urban District
  4. A Vision of Britain Through Time : Weston super Mare Municipal Borough

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