Usually famed for beautiful beaches, endless countryside and picture-perfect villages, in recent years the South West has been hitting the headlines for a different reason – the hilarious, unique, and sometimes rude, place names.
To help you ‘beat the blues’ on what is supposedly the most depressing day of the year, we’ve put together a list of the West Country’s finest, guaranteed to cause a few childish giggles. We hope you get as much pleasure reading it as we did putting it together.
Forget tapas, sangria and Gaudi and think Cornish pasties, small cottages and countryside; Barcelona is a small hamlet situated between Polperro and Looe in South Cornwall. Take a detour to Barcelona on your way to the beautiful beach at Talland Bay, just 3 miles away.
Standing proudly among the granite outcrops and vast expanses of Bodmin Moor is Brown Willy, the highest hill in Cornwall. It is believed Brown Willy’s name came from the Cornish ‘brann wennili’, meaning ‘hill of swallows’. Not only famous for its amusing name, Brown Willy is a very popular destination for walkers. Make it to the top and you’ll be treated to magnificent views that stretch to both sides of Cornwall’s coast; spot Looe on the south coast and Tintagel to the north.
Nothing to do with a male chicken, Cocks is a pretty hamlet near Perranporth in North Cornwall.
It would be ‘despicable’ to leave this one off the list. Minions, a village on the edge of Bodmin Moor, was first recorded in 1613, but the meaning of its name remains unknown. In 2015, a road sign featuring Universal’s yellow animated creatures was erected as a tribute to the Minions movie, but was later removed for safety reasons as so many people were stopping on the narrow road to take photographs. This caused protest from the local residents who thanked the sign for ‘putting Minions on the map’.
Nowhere near as bad as it sounds, Crapstone is a pretty village perched on the edge of Dartmoor. Crapstone found fame in 2007 when its name featured in the RAC’s television commercial starring Vinnie Jones. The advert provoked protest from local residents who complained that the village shown wasn’t actually Crapstone.
Despite its name, people do live in Nomansland, a small village near Tiverton in mid Devon. It was named ‘Nomansland’ as it was once a remote extra-parochial area where three parishes met. Not quite as funny as Crapstone, but it still made us smile.
This one really made us chuckle. Happy Bottom is a small hamlet near Corfe Mullen, Poole. Stop off for a selfie by the comical name sign on your way to our stunning new collection of properties in Sandbanks.
Around 20 miles away from Happy Bottom, Scratchy Bottom is the name of a clifftop valley near one of Dorset’s most famous landmarks, Durdle Door. You might recognise the sweeping valley as it featured in the opening of the 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd. To see Scratchy Bottom for yourself, we suggest following the South West Coast Path from Lulworth Cove. This 7-mile circular walk treats you to some of the most spectacular coastal views in Dorset, including magnificent chalk stacks and arches, Iron Age hill forts and the Isle of Portland, not to mention Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove themselves.
Unsurprisingly, Shitterton, near Bere Regis, has attracted a lot of attention for its name. The small hamlet is often named as the ‘worst’, ‘rudest’ and ‘most unusual’ place name in Britain. Shitterton was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Scatera’, a Norman French word meaning ‘dung’. It is believed that the stream passing through the hamlet was called ‘the Shitter’, in other words ‘a brook used as a privy’. Shitterton’s name sign was stolen so many times it had to be replaced with a 1.5-ton block of Purbeck stone. As yet, no one has managed to take off with this one.
Yes, this is a real place. Burnt Balls is an area of open heathland near Godshill in the New Forest. Take a short walk and you’ll reach Sandy Balls. (I promise that we’re not making this up.) Locally, ‘balls’ refer to sandy knolls in the landscape so we’re assuming these ones must have caught alight. Ouch.
Discover the West Country’s weird and wonderful place names when you book a holiday with Toad Hall Cottages.