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Watchet

Watchet Somerset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photographs, information, and places of interest, in and around the town of Watchet in West Somerset.

watchet boat museum

Part of the splendid hands-on Watchet Boat Museum in the  ancient port town of Watchet, West Somerset

Watchet is a harbour town in the county of Somerset. Watchet is situated 15 miles north-west of Taunton, and 9 miles east of Minehead. The town lies at the mouth of the Washford River on the Bristol Channel, and on the edge of Exmoor National Park.

It is widely believed that Watchet was a settled community when the Saxons arrived in the 680's to make the place one of their strongholds. Among other attributes, it was a Saxon mint and coins from Watchet have been found in Scandinavian hordes proving the interest of Viking pirates in this part of the coast. From the Norman conquest, Watchet emerged as a small but vital port serving the surrounding countryside and providing a link with Wales over the water.

The medieval town still crouches alongside the Washford River as it drives past several old mills to the harbour, once important for trade with Ireland, Wales and Europe. The harbour remains the focus of the town; today as a busy Marina and boat-yard but in Victoria's time a centre for exporting thousands of tons of iron ore from the Brendon Hills to the furnaces of South Wales in fleets of sturdy coastal sailing vessels.

Coleridge was familiar with Watchet and a bronze of the 'Ancient Mariner' commemorates his poem on the Esplanade. Also to be seen there is another fine bronze of the well known shantyman Yankee Jack, popular with everyone, in his day as a renowned seaman and today as a friend to all who pose with him for their photographs to be taken.


 

Watchet Museum is a museum in the tradition of the many small local museums that used to exist all over the country but have now either vanished or been taken over by larger concerns. Watchet Museum retains its identity, character and individuality, with its very local flavour. The recently updated photographic archive is excellently lit and presented to make it easily available to all.

Trains and boats are still very much a part of a day out in Watchet and the attractive shops and galleries make Watchet a good day out for all the family and a fairly lively place to live.

west street beach watchet

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Pubs in the Watchet area: Anchor Inn; Bell Inn; Esplanade Club; London Inn; Star Inn; White Horse Inn

Restaurants, cafes, and tea rooms in Watchet: Helliker's Tea Rooms

Local places of interest: Cleeve Abbey; Kilton Wayfarers Church; Quantock Common; Watchet Museum; West Somerset Railway

Nearby towns and villages: Bicknoller; Blue Anchor; Carhampton; Crowcombe; Dunster; Minehead; Nether Stowey; Over Stowey; Roadwater; Sampford Brett; Stogumber; Triscombe; Washford; West Bagborough; West Quantoxhead; Williton

Leave a Comment on Watchet

Glimpses of Watchet

Sometimes I touch

A place half seen

And hidden in remembrances

Of times long

Drowned in yesterdays.

It catches me in

Light across Ben's cottage wall

And in the sound of

Water as it tumbles

To the beach against

A languid tide.

Just here the gulls are

Choking out their

Staccato cries and

Little wisps of cloud

Run frightened

Up Cleeve Hill.

My father brought me here

Long years ago

And lifted me

To gaze down from the wall

To catch at water shadows

As they bounced and jumped between the stones.

Sometimes, just sometimes

It all comes back to me,

Still.

John Gilman 2010

 

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