Small Settlements

If I asked you “What’s the difference between a town and a village?” you would have some pretty good ideas about that, wouldn’t you? But what if I asked about a hamlet? Or a conurbation?

These are all words that are used to describe places, but which one you need depends on the size of the place.

Let’s start with the smallest.

You can’t get smaller than one building on its own – an isolated dwelling.

But as soon as you add another one nearby, or maybe a couple, you’ve got a hamlet.

You won’t find much there, apart from the few buildings. Maybe a post box but that’s about all.

The next size up is the village. Villages can vary quite a lot in size. You are looking for a few more services than you would find in a hamlet – usually a church building, a pub and a shop. (Or evidence that there used to be one since many village shops have closed now that nearly everyone has a car.) In a larger village there might be several shops, a village hall, a bus service… and of course more buildings to live in.

My village is quite large. There are a couple of church buildings, a couple of pubs, a shop, a hairdresser and a take-away, a village hall and we are on a bus route to town.

So, what’s the difference between a large village and a small town? Not much really. Bigger places with more houses tend to have more services and facilities, so if you say, “small town” and I describe the same place as “large village”, I’m not going to argue with you.

But what about a conurbation? And what’s a megalopolis? We’ll look at the bigger places next week.