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Southern England, The South and The South of England are imprecise terms used to refer to the southern counties of Englandmarker bordering the English Midlandsmarker and East Angliamarker. It has a number of different interpretations of its geographic extents. The South is considered by many to be a cultural region with an distinct identity from that of the rest of England. The special cultural, political and economic characteristics of "the South" are, however, not universally agreed upon, nor are its geographical limits and stereotypes of the South mask the cultural, physical and historical differences within this region. For government purposes Southern England is divided in South West England, South East England, Greater Londonmarker, and the East of England.


The term "southern" is often loosely used without any deeper consideration of the geographical identities of Southern England, leading to confusion over the depth of affiliation between its areas.

As in much of the rest of England, people tend to have a deeper affiliation to their county or their city. Thus, residents of Essex would be unlikely to feel much affinity with those from across in Oxfordshire. Similarly, there is a strong distinction between natives of the south-west and those of the south-east.

Concepts of the South take account of perceived 'Southern' regional accents. Experts on historical dialects categorise as Southern the area south of a line that begins at the Humber estuary, runs up the river Wharfe and across to the River Lume in north Lancashire; however, the linguistic elements that traditionally defined this area, such as use of down instead of doon or substitution of an -ong noise in words that end -ang (e.g. long instead of lang), have now died out. As speech has changed, there is little consensus on what defines a "Southern" accent or dialect.


The South is characterised by being generally flat except for a notable hill range known as the Chiltern Hillsmarker. "Southern England" by Peter Friend in the Collins New Naturalists series provides a comprehensive resource:


See History of Rugby League

The sport of rugby experienced a schism in 1895 with many teams based in Yorkshiremarker and surrounding areas breaking from the Rugby Football Union and forming their own League. The disagreement that led to the split was over the issue of professional payments, and "broken time" or injury payments. Until recent times, there has been a perception that 'league' was the code of rugby played in the north, whilst 'union' was the code played in the south.


In most definitions Southern England includes all the counties on/near the English Channelmarker. In terms of the current ceremonial counties:

Several of these counties are, however, commonly reckoned as part of the West Country, which in some usages may be treated as mutually exclusive with Southern England.

The exact northern extent likewise varies. In the west it can include Gloucestershiremarker, Herefordshiremarker and Oxfordshire, though these are sometimes considered part of the Midlandsmarker. The counties between the Midlands and Londonmarker (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshiremarker) may sometimes be considered part of Southern England, as may the counties of East Angliamarker (Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk).

On a maximal definition, the northern boundary thus approximately corresponds to an imaginary line drawn from the Severn Estuary to the Washmarker (or, expressed in terms of towns, from Gloucestermarker to King's Lynnmarker).

See also


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