West Somerset Railway

What to see and do guide

Location

If you wish to buy our 'Along the Line' Guide for your visit please ask at our Booking Offices or on train Buffet Cars.

Bishops Lydeard

The growing village of Bishops Lydeard is situated at the foot of the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is about ten minutes’ walk from the station. The route passes Quantock Brewery in the Broad Gauge Business Park close to the station.  This is a small family run business that brews a range of craft beers which are available to buy from their shop. To reach the village centre take the path passing below the main A358 through an underpass.  The village does not have a clear centre, so the facilities are spread out.  They include two pubs, The Lethbridge Arms and The Bird in Hand.   The village watermill has been splendidly restored and is home to a working overshot water wheel, wheelwright's shop and blacksmith's shop.  The historic Church of St Mary the Virgin is built of red sandstone with a tall tower.  It is notable for its interior furnishings, which include a medieval rood screen and a Jacobean pulpit.  Near the Church are Daisy’s Tea Rooms and a Co-Op supermarket.  Also near the church is a fascinating relic of the tram system in Taunton, a post that supported the electric wires. The tram system closed in 1921 and the pole was relocated to serve as a lamp standard.

Crowcombe Heathfield

The station is surrounded by lovely scenic countryside close to the Quantock Hills with a network of lanes, bridleways and footpaths offering a wide range of walks.  There is a pleasing gentle 1½ mile circular walk from the station along country roads via the station approach road in either direction, over the railway bridge then along a quiet lane, with an avenue of  majestic beech trees, to return via the other railway bridge. The roads over the bridges are not busy but do take care where it is necessary to walk along the edge of the roadway. 

Stogumber 

Stogumber is a picturesque but thriving village set in a valley between the Quantock and Brendon Hills and surrounded by rolling farmland. The focal point of the village is the Square, which contains the White Horse Inn, Central Stores and Post Office, and St. Mary's Church, a building dating largely from the 14th and 15th centuries with a chancel restored and decorated in Victorian times. The High Street is the most photographed part of the village, with a mix of colour-washed and thatched properties.  More information is available on the village website.

WILLITON

The station at Williton is on the edge of the village – allow 15-20 minutes to walk to the centre for most of the facilities.  From the station, exit from the car park behind the Signal box and walk up Station Road and Long Street past Gilbert Scott Court, the converted Victorian workhouse, and the Railway Inn pub. The shops include a Post Office, two convenience stores, a butcher/deli, a large hardware store and a coffee shop.  For food and refreshment there are two pubs The Masons Arms and  The Wyndham Arms, an Indian Restaurant Bengal Spice, which is open at lunchtimes and evenings, and a Fish & Chip shop which is open only in the evenings.

Watchet

Watchet is the ideal destination for an adventure, for there is so much to do in this beautiful ancient harbour town. Our lovingly restored station buildings are in the heart of the town, overlooking the harbour and Bristol Channel and there is a network of small streets to be explored, including craft and antique shops, pubs and cafes. In the old goods shed next to the station is the Boat Museum and adjacent Visitor Information Centre. The Market House Museum just off the Esplanade traces the history of the town through the ages and this includes a display about the West Somerset Mineral Railway, that once brought iron ore from the Brendon Hills for onward shipping to the furnaces at Ebbw Vale in South Wales. The trackbed of the Mineral Railway is now in use as a footpath to Washford, while the old station house survives in Market Street.  If you take the West Quay walkway out to the lighthouse you will pass a remnant of track. Commercial shipping had ceased at Watchet by 2000, but the harbour has had a new lease of life with a marina, opened in 2001, and the East Quay cultural and enterprise development, opened in 2021.

For walks around the town the station volunteers have created a series of dragon trails.  Leaflets are available at the station.

For more information about things to see and do in Watchet see Visit Watchet and Love Watchet.

Washford

Washford itself is also full of things to see and do. A few minutes walk from the station brings you to Cleeve Abbey, a Cisterian Abbey now administered by English Heritage and open from 1st April until 31st October

Although the main abbey church is no more, the remaining outbuildings give a fascinating insight into monastic life. The atmosphere is calm and relaxing and encourages visitors to linger. Further on from the abbey is Torre cider farm where you can learn how Somerset cider is made and even sample some of the produce. There are also several pubs including the Washford Inn at the end of the Station ramp and The White Horse, near the abbey, which serve food.

Blue Anchor

Blue Anchor is a quiet seaside village with a long sandy beach perfect for families and children. At high tide the promenade is a popular destination for fishermen hoping for a large catch. Blue anchor gives stunning coastal views to Minehead and Exmoor and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales and as far as Weston-super-Mare. For meals and snacks visit The Driftwood Cafe or the Smugglers Pub.

Dunster

Dunster village is approximately a twenty minute walk from the station, the latter part being gently uphill. It is worth the exercise. The main feature is Dunster Castle whose oldest parts date from Norman times and which is now in the care of the National Trust. It stands on an outcrop of rock with spacious grounds below (part were once polo grounds and the ponies' horseboxes were unloaded at Dunster Station). 

The village itself has a medieval Yarn Market which is flanked on either side by shops and tea rooms, which together with several pubs means there is no lack of refreshment available to the traveller. The village is home to the Dunster Museum and Doll Collections in the High Street. Worth seeking out are the Mill and the Priory Church and at the top of the village the old packhorse bridge which still spans the River Avill. For the energetic a walk up through the woods to Bats Castle (a prehistoric site) is worth it to take in the view of the village and castle below and the more distant views of Minehead and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales.

Dunster's busiest nights of the year fall at the start of December when the annual 'Dunster by Candlelight' event takes place.On the evenings of the 1st Friday and Saturday of December the village extinguishes most of its electric lights in favour of candles and oil, entertainment takes to the streets and of course the shops and other outlets are open. The West Somerset Railway runs through trains and more information can be found on the Special Events pages.

The Dunster Village map can be found here

The official Discover Dunster website can be found here

Minehead

There is plenty to explore in the seaside town of Minehead and a wide choice of places to eat and drink.  For the beach simply cross the road outside the station and you are there. There are walks along the seafront in both directions.  Turn left for the start of the long-distance South West Coast Path, the picturesque harbour and North Hill. Turn right for Butlin’s, the golf course and on to Dunster Beach and Blue Anchor.

The left turn out of the Station takes you past the Beach Hotel (which houses the Visitor Information Centre and Museum) and along The Avenue with its independent and high street shops, cafés, tea rooms and pubs to the main shopping area of the town.  A short distance from The Avenue and the seafront are Blenheim Gardens, a pleasant park with flower displays and a bandstand.

For more about things to do in Minehead and places to stay visit https://www.mineheadbay.co.uk/categories/things-to-do

For dog-friendly information about Minehead visit https://www.mineheadbay.co.uk/minehead-dogs-welcome