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West Somerset Mineral Railway Project go to homepagelink to heritage lottery fund website
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The West Somerset Railway and Watchet

Watchet

The West Somerset Mineral Railway and later the West Somerset Railway helped to transform Watchet in the mid 19th century.  This page will help you find the traces of the Mineral Line at Watchet

 

 

Site Information

Toilets
Wheelchair accessible
Pushchair accessible
Car parking
Watchet Market House Museum
Watchet Town Council
West Somerset Railway
Information point
Somerset County Council

Watchet map

The map below shows the former route of the WSMR at Watchet and the location of former railway buildings.  Scroll down to find out more.

 

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Watchet map

  Map key

  1. Goods sheds (now private property)
  2. Station building and company offices (private property)
  3. West Pier
  4. Watchet Market House Museum 
  5. Engine shed (private property)
Former route of WSMR
Watchet to Washford trail
Site where iron ore was loaded onto ships between 1904-7
Site of original WSMR pier in 1862
Former Route of WSMR and its sidings (no longer visible) 

Watchet to Washford trail (follows the old Minera Line track bed)  

 

Site were iron ore was loaded onto ships between 1904-07 (a small section of the former tracks are exposed) 

Site of the original WSMR pier of 1862 (no longer visible)

 

Watchet Market House Museum
Watchet Market House Museum

Please note, that you can see the Mineral Line Exhibition independently of opening times as it takes up the north window at the back of the Museum.

  

The displays include a model of the Lizzie, which took the iron ore over to Wales, a working model of the Incline and several artefacts. 

 

The museum also houses a general exhibition charting Watchet's history through the ages.

 

Watchet West Pier in June 2010
Watchet West Pier

As a result of Heritage Lottery funding for the West Somerset Mineral Railway project a refurbished exhibition of the history of the Mineral Line was created in 2009 in the north windows of the museum.

 

The Museum can be found on the corner of Market Street and the Esplanade. Admission to the museum is free, although donations are always welcome.  You can also pick up copies of the West Somerset Mineral Railway leaflets at the museum.  Go to http://www.watchetmuseum.co.uk for opening times. 

   

Incline Model at the Watchet Market House Museum
Working model of the Incline in the north window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watchet West Pier

The present West Pier was built after the great storm of 1900 had destroyed the original West Pier and Mineral Pier built in 1862.  As part of the West Somerset Mineral Railway project a section of the tracks that ran along the new pier has been uncovered and pedestrian access improved.  Two interpretation panels illustrate the history of the Mineral Line.

 

 

Mineral Line Checklist in Watchet

  • Trace the route taken by the horses which pulled wagons full of iron ore over Market Street and onto the quay

  • See where iron ore used to be unloaded into 40 ton vessels that carried it to Newport in South Wales on the West Pier

  • Visit the Museum, which has an exhibition on the Mineral Railway

  • Walk the trail to Washford, which follows the old Mineral Line track bed

  • Look out for old Station House (now a private house), the old engine shed (now a Garage) and the timber-clad goods sheds on Market Street (now a restaurant) 

 

Safety on the Mineral Line

  • Visitors are requested to use extreme caution when exploring West Somerset Mineral Railway sites.
  • Children should be kept under close supervision and should not be allowed to climb on walls or banks.
  • Take care on uneven ground and on the West Pier.
  • Stout footwear is strongly advised.

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How to get to Watchet

By bus - From Taunton: no.28 and no.18 (Minehead to Taunton) Timetables

 

By train West Somerset Railway to Watchet Station 

 

By car - From the east: Leave the M5 at Junction 24 (Bridgwater) and follow the signs for Minehead (A39).  After about 16 miles turn right down minor road signposted to Watchet.

From the west: Leave the M5 at Junction 25 (Taunton) and follow the signs to the A358 towards Minehead.  At Williton turn right and then left following the signs to Watchet. (About 18 miles from the motorway.)

 

On foot - Many WSMR sites are accessible by foot following public rights of way.  Ordnance Survey map OL9 covers Exmoor National Park, and includes the Brendon Hills and Watchet.

 

The Mineral Line on Google maps

 

Go to Watchet Harbour in pictures
Looking west across Watchet harbour in about 1880
Go to Watchet in pictures
Watchet station yard in 1910