West Somerset Railway
Somerset TA4 3RU
The West Somerset Railway (WSR) running between the southern terminus of Bishops Lydeard and the seaside resort of Minehead, is the longest heritage railway in England.
It is a superb example of a Great Western Railway (GWR) branch line with ten stations and halts. The 20 mile (32 km) line runs north-west between the Quantocks and the foothills of Exmoor on its way to the coast; it then turns west and runs beside the sea all the way to Minehead.
At Minehead the engine is turned on a 55 foot turntable so the engine can run front first in both directions. Photographers will always get a good photo! The Minehead Turntable is used on a daily basis on a 'Yellow' Timetable day, when the 11:05 from Bishops Lydeard/All Stations arrives at Minehead at 12:24. A few minutes after its arrival, the 11:05 loco is turned on the Turntable.
The WSR is ideal for visitors wishing to experience an English heritage railway. Regular steam hauled services are run through the summer high season as well as special themed excursions. Details can be found at Web: West Somerset Railway
Operating Times & Prices
The ‘Visit Us’ section of the excellent WSR website has a wealth of information on types of tickets available, costs, facilities and parking at each station.
Visitors confined to wheelchairs are usually carried iin the guards van which has windows. All stations except Doniford Halt are wheelchair accessible. For more detailed information and advice on accessible toilets and parking, go to Web: Accessibility Guide
Each station is unique, and the villages served by the railway have attractions in their own right. For example:
- Bishops Lydeard (TA4 3RU)
Is an ancient village with a beautifully restored working watermill and an attractive 14th century Church. The village Charter from 1291 is on display.
- Crowcombe Heathfield (TA4 4PA)
The station was built in 1862 when the line was opened, and stands at the highest point on the line, approximately 400 feet (122 metres) above sea level. This stop is ideal for a walk in the lovely Quantock Hills. The isolated picturesque station has often been used as a film location.
- Stogumber Station (TA4 3TR)
Beautiful station gardens and delicious cream teas. The village has colour washed thatched cottages.
- Williton Station (TA4 4RQ)
Consists of many carefully preserved buildings from the time the line was first opened. The main building still retains the original Italianate chimney, and inside it is like walking in to a time warp. Even the Ladies toilet is a popular photographic subject! The town is a half hour walk away.
- Watchet (TA23 0AU)
The harbour town has a 1,000 year old history and the station is right in the middle of town. The old harbour is now a marina and home to a vintage 1950 Motor Torpedo Boat
- Washford Station (TA23 0PP)
This station is very close to the monastic remains of Cleeve Abbey and Torre Cider Farm where you can sample and learn about Somerset cider making.
- Blue Anchor (TA24 6LG)
Right beside a long sandy beach.
- Dunster Station (TA24 6PJ)
Dunster beach is a five minutes walk from Dunster station. A 20 minute uphill walk will bring you to the ancient village and the Norman Dunster Castle (a National Trust property). Worth seeing are the Medieval Yarn Market and the old packhorse bridge over the River Avill.
- Minehead (TA24 5BG)
This is the seaside terminus with the beach just across the road. The station has an excellent café and railway shop. This is the home of the manually operated turntable with marvelous viewing facilities.
Contact & Further Information
Administration of the WSR, The Railway Station, Minehead, Somerset TA24 5BG.
+44 (0)1643 704996 - A talking is available after office hours.
The WSR website has excellent directions for visiting the Railway by local bus and National Express coaches from London.
- Car Parking
Bishops Lydeard has a large free car park. Please be aware that there is a maximum height barrier so access to the car park is for vehicles under 2.1 metres.
Other station car parks are small with the exception of Watchet and Minehead which are Council ‘Pay & Display’.
For comprehensive information and directions visit Web: West Somerset Railway/ Directions
Google Map - Bishops Lydeard