Architecture, Museum, Railway, South West England, Steam railway station, Victorian
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Williton a delight for rail enthusiasts

Williton is a small town on the West Somerset Coast Path – 25 miles coastal with splendid views, geology and archaeology. Visitors can join the Coast Path at Williton just by the train station, or walk along the path towards the town. You can download a guide to the West Somerset Coast Path here.

A short two mile walk along the path from Williton takes you to Watchet Harbour. Here, people say, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Watchet has a small Museum which is open from Easter to October.For more details.

There is also a craft paper mill at Watchet which makes specialist water-colour paper for artists. It prides itself on its being the only paper mill in the UK making paper from recycled rags and using water power! The Two Rivers Paper Company carries on a traditional local craft.

History in Williton

The town is home to the quirky Bakelite Museum which houses pieces made from Bakelite and other early forms of plastic. The Museum building is in an C18 watermill, and its features are on show in addition to the Museum’s Bakelite. The eclectic mix of exhibits includes a Bakelite caravan, bicycle and a range of household utensils from the mid C20th. The Museum is a treat for anyone with a zeal for vintage nostalgia.

There’s a tea shop at the Museum which serves snacks and light lunches with seating inside and outside for summer visitors. More details can be found here

Steam trains

Steam and rail buffs can combine a visit to the Museum with a visit to Williton Station. A fine example of Brunel’s Bristol & Exeter Railway stations, this station is itself a museum piece. The West Somerset Railway operated the scenic station, which dates from 1862, and is about a mile to the east of the town. The local stone, Grade II listed, building also features Brunel’s Italianate chimney. Following restoration, the whole building and its contents are now in their original state. For more of the history of the station and details of current use see here

The Goods Shed at Williton Station now houses the Diesel and Electric Preservation Group’s hoard of diesel and electric trains. In addition, the Swindon Shed, another Grade II listed building, is home to West Somerset Restoration Association. This shed, moved to Williton in 1991 from its first home at Swindon. The station’s brick built signal box is still fully working, and the old parcels office is now the tea room.

West Somerset Railway runs the line again; it is a premier UK Heritage Railway. It carries over 200,000 passengers a year along England`s longest heritage line. Details of train times, events and prices can be found here

 

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