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About Summiteer

~Somerset Miscellany~

8th June 2013

Class 24 Diesel Locomotive

D5081 at Watchet

Scroll down for photos and a description of the day, it features four locations and the report jumps around a bit....

Harper's Lane Roadwater

Harper's Lane, Roadwater

You'll find Roadwater a couple of miles south of Washford (A39). Two of my referance books brought my attention to Roadwater. "Railways Round Exmoor" by Robin Madge & "The Old Mineral Line" by R.J.Sellick. The former pays the latter "full credit" for his chapter on the Watchet to Brendon Hill "West Somerset Mineral Railway". We parked on the roadside next to "The Valiant Soldier" pub.

The West Somerset Mineral Railway

The Old Mineral Line

In common with many redundant track beds, tarmac has flowed in, cooled down and allowed motor traffic to hold sway. The line was standard guage and operated between 1861 and 1898 fetching mined ironstone from the Brendon Hills down to the harbour at Watchet.

Lower Hayne

Lower Hayne

Following the old line as far as Lower Hayne, we took a footpath (on the right) up a narrow lane in the direction of Stamborough.

Narrow Lane

Narrow Lane

Another of Somerset's enchanting narrow / sunken lanes. Leading to Ham Lane.

Leighland Chapel Leighland Chapel

Leighland Chapel (St.Giles)

Ham Lane leads us through Stamborough and past Leighland Chapel, we take a footpath through the church grounds and head for Pitt Mill Farm. Another glorious day in Sunny Somerset!

To Pit Mill Pitt Mill Farm
To Pitt Mill Farm
Pitt Mill Farm

We had a little discussion and the consensus was not to follow much more of the line and attempt "the incline" -0 .75 mile 1-in-4 wire operated railway to the mining areas of Brendon Hill and Gupworthy. The residents of Pitt Mill Farm have styled a patio area in the old mill.

The Mineral Line

The Mineral Line

The route back to Roadwater.

Roadwater Station

Roadwater Station

One hundred years of no railway has allowed for various changes. The bones of a bridge can be seen, but the copper beech obscures a view of Roadwater Station - now a private residence.

The Valiant Soldier

The Valiant Soldier, Roadwater


We had lunch at The Valiant Soldier and then drove up to Watchet to see what was happening on the West Somerset Railway.

Class 24 Diesel D5081

Class 24 D5081

It's a Mixed Traction Weekend on the WSR, a chance for the diesel enthusiasts to cast off the anoraks and have a ball.

Class 35 Hymek

Class 35 "Hymek" No.D7017

Four "Hymeks" survive in the preservation era. They were "Western Region" locomotives and sit easily on these rails.

Watchet Harbour

Watchet Harbour


And then just a few miles east along the coast to East Quantoxhead.

East Quantoxhead Church

St.Mary's Church at East Quantoxhead

Parking is available for 50p (honesty box) close to the church at East Quantoxhead. I have a feeling that all available scaffold poles are currently in use in Somerset.

Village Pond

The Duck Pond

Behind the church is the Court House, a huge mansion house and home (apparently) to the Luttrell family, those who donated Dunster Castle to the National Trust.

Coast at East Quantoxhead

Quantoxhead Foreshore

Cobbles on Quanoxhead Beach

The Cobbles

Blocks of rock on the foreshore.

Quantoxhead Shoreline

Quantoxhead Shoreline

I would liked to have had a walk on the rocks, but it wasn't to be on this occasion. Minehead can be seen further along the coast.

Quantoxhead Walk Steep Holm
Quantoxhead Walk
Steep Holm

Steep Holm is in the Bristol Channel and home to birds and stuff; the walk turns inland and passes an oil retort and a cricket pitch.

Oil retort

Oil Retort

Once used for the extraction and refinement of oil from shale.

Straight bat


After walking across fields and back to the car, we headed back to Dulverton, taking a look at Bury. No, not that Bury, the little one in Somerset, two miles east of Dulverton.

Bury in Somerset

The Ford & Bridge at Bury

Bury, Somerset

Bury, Somerset

Bury is a very attractive, small hamlet with what looks like an old chapel, converted to living accommodation. I could live here, or rather I couldn't due to financial issues.


In the evening I ventured back onto Winsford Hill for a last look at Exmoor.

Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Pony

Sunset on Exmoor

Exmoor Sunset

Refreshments: Lunch at The Valiant Soldier was better than we expected. The evening meal at the Thai Restuarant in Dulverton was also very good, but the drinks are far too expensive and there's no need for it!

A Dulverton summary page

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2013 ©

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