Watchet

Watchet

Steam Locomotive, Hall class 6960 - Ravingham Hall on the West Somerset Railway between Watchet and Washford stations, Somerset, UK
Steam Locomotive, Hall class 6960 – Ravingham Hall on the West Somerset Railway between Watchet and Washford stations, Somerset, UK

A few years ago we stayed at a Caravan Club site not far from Watchet in Somerset. On this occasion, the stay was just an overnight stop over but while we were there we could hear steam trains quite close by so Nik went to see if he could get close enough to take a few pictures. Not only could he get close enough but he also struck up a conversation with a couple who were also staying at the site because the next day a special steam train was going to be coming down the line and they wanted to see it. So we ended up staying long enough to get a perfect picture of this train that has sold several times since. He attributes the reason for the picture being so good, to the position on the track. And as you can imagine our girls were the perfect age to find his fascination with the trains amusing and started calling him a nerd.

I tell you this because the joke seems to have stuck and so references do get made about Nik’s nerdiness. Ever since Nik has wanted to go back and explore the area more, and that is what we are doing now.

So we arrived at the site in glorious sunshine and no sooner we’d turned off the engine we heard a steam train coming along the track. Nik yelled “mark the time”, so I can be in place at the right time”. This amused me so much that from then on every time I heard a train I would yell ‘Train‘. I know I’m easily amused.

We were so far away from any other campers that we decided it was safe not to put the dogs on long leads whilst we were outside enjoying the sun. This was a mistake as a couple of Muscovy ducks came waddling into Ella’s view and she took off at the speed of light chasing them. It took us a good 10 minutes to round the little devil up. So from then on, they were both tied when outside.

Muscovy ducks, Cairina moschata, UK
Muscovy ducks

The track that runs alongside our site is the old mineral line. So once we’d had a cuppa we set off along the route towards Watchet. We weren’t expecting to get all the way to Watchet that evening as we were setting out quite late in the afternoon, so were nicely surprised to find ourselves in the village half hour later. There weren’t too many people about which we were surprised to see, but put it down to the time of day. It did give Nik plenty of space to take photo’s, the tide was out, though, so we decided we’d have to make a day of it tomorrow as the harbour will look so much better with water in it. We obviously had to find the train station and whilst Nik forgot time and went into photographer mode the dogs and I explored further along the track

Statue of the Ancient Mariner, Watchet Harbour, Somerset, UK
Statue of the Ancient Mariner, Watchet Harbour, Somerset, UK

where we discover a little-overgrown track leading out of the village, so when Nik was finished we persuaded him to explore it with us. This turned out to be a great find as the track lead us up some steps to the cliff above Watchet, where Nik found the perfect spot to get photos of the harbour tomorrow. We also found a great spot for Nik to photograph trains as they come along the track.

So having thoroughly explored the whole area we returned to our field with Nik planning our day for tomorrow and two nicely worn out dogs.

Thursday

Today we woke up to a cloudy morning and Nik’s decided that we’d go back to Watchet tomorrow when the weather was better and today we’d follow the Mineral Line to Washford instead. As neither myself or the dogs had any objections to this we let him change our plans.

We managed to get about 10 minutes into our walk before Nik heard a steam train whistling from Watchet station so we had to stop at the nearest level crossing and wait for it. The train wasn’t in any rush to leave the station so the dogs and I found a nice shaded spot (the sun had come out by now), and settled into wait. I couldn’t resist getting a photo of Nik as the train came whistling past to send to the girls and give them a giggle.

Nik and his train
Nik and his train

The rest of our walk was pretty uneventful. The track is shaded by trees and beside running parallel to the new train track, it also follows a little river which was good as it was getting very warm and it gave the dogs somewhere to get a drink. The track ended at a nice little field and children’s play area and came out beside a school. At this point, we had to guess which way to go as there are no footpath signs. We did eventually find the footpath again which leads you behind a housing estate to the Washford train station and The Washford Inn, somewhere to get refreshment if you’ve built up a thirst along the way.

This is where Nik and I discovered that we hadn’t done our homework as this particular walk ends at the station and we had thought it continued further along the old mineral line to Minehead. The station master told us that you can walk other parts of the route but not from there. Pretty disappointing as we weren’t ready to turn back yet. However, he was extremely helpful and enjoyed a good walk himself so he pointed us in the direction of another walk. So once Nik had got his fill of pictures we set off in the direction of Cleve Abbey. This part of the walk is along the road and as it was very hot by now it seemed to go on forever.

Driver of steam train Odney Manor - 7828 waiting for the all clear from the station master at Washford Station, West Somerset Heritage steam Railway, UK
Driver of steam train Odney Manor – 7828 waiting for the all clear from the station master at Washford Station, West Somerset Heritage steam Railway, UK

Nik did manage to get some good photo’s of the Abbey along the way, though. We continued along this road looking for the footpath that we’d been told about when we eventually ended up at Torre Cider Farm, which we absolutely had to explore. There is a nice little cafe and shop and a few animals to occupy little children. Some very cute little piglets which Nik couldn’t resist. After looking around we had a refreshment stop and got some final directions from the owner then set off in search of our footpath again.

It wasn’t the easiest footpath to find but when we did eventually locate it the walk was well worth it. It The walk took us around the edge of farm fields before splitting in two directions. We followed the path that looked like it would take us closer to our site. Beautiful area with some fantastic walking. Fantastic day had by all four of us.

There has been severe weather warnings for Friday, so we might be keeping Daisy company for the day. I don’t suppose the doggies will mind much as they both look pooped.

Cute Oxford Sandy and Black piglets, UK
Cute Oxford Sandy and Black piglets, UK

Friday. The promised thunder and floods didn’t occur last night, it is quite overcast this morning though so we packed up our lunches and set off for Watchet anyway, in the hope that the weather would improve as it had yesterday. It didn’t, instead, it started to rain so we had a little wander around the shops, which took us all of 15 minutes as there are only a few. As the weather hadn’t improved any and it looked as though the rain was getting heavier we decided to spend the afternoon back at the site getting some work done and hoped that it would improve for the afternoon.

It did stop raining by late afternoon but was still cloudy and bloomin warm. The dogs needed walking so we decided we’d follow the woodland path that is just across the train track from our site. The hope was that the path would take a circular route through the woods and lead back to our start point. It didn’t, instead, we ended up on a road. So out came the phone for a quick look on google maps before making the decision to follow on down the road towards Washford and hopefully find a route that cut back into the mineral line about two-thirds of the way, which we could see on the map.

It wasn’t our planned walk but it turned out to be full of fantastic views over the countryside, which Nik would like to come back and photograph on a sunny day. We definitely haven’t had enough time for everything we wanted to do, sadly Nik has promised he’ds be back at the pub for Sunday so we will most definitely be coming back another time

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