Doniford Bay – Helwell Bay Walk – 12.10.2010

Doniford Bay – A pretty and quiet place to start our walk…  Little was we aware that a million of years of history lay but yards away on the beach… Fossils – Doniford Bay had been thoroughly researched and examined by the Ussher (Geoscience in South West England named after the geologist WAE Ussher) Society – discoveries had been made of ammonites – fossiled from the Jurassic period!

Much more recent history, however, led us to a tiny station or it was a “halt” – a request stop for the West Somerset steam Railway!   We couldn’t resist a peek!   We left the station behind to continue our walk onto Watchet – which we were to discover was a small harbour was some surprises in store!  (When we arrived I was most happy to discover a steam train pulling in – I do have a little passion for them 🙂 )

From 2010 – 12.10.2010 – Doniford Bay – Watchet Walk

The harbour itself is actually quite picturesuque.   The harbour has a small renovation project in the past few years which is lovely to see 🙂  .   The first thing I noticed was a very odd statue of a man standing with an albatross?  Why would this be here? Something to do with the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”?  Well, if you are really interested Samuel Taylor Coleridge himself was inspired on a visit to this little harbour to write this amazing poem!  To quote part of the poem seemed a little apt.

“Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung”

From 2010 – 12.10.2010 – Doniford Bay – Watchet Walk

Watchet was also home to “Yankee Jack” as he was known, or John Short, who was responsible for Sea Shanties – mainly Rio Grande, Shenandoah, Blow the Man Down, A Roving and Spanish Ladies.  for little idea of his life and the unveiling of the statue click here .  Before continuing our walk, we made time to look around the little museum in Watchet.   It may have been small but worth the visit – history aplenty – Watchet is full of it!    The website is worth a look.

They recommended a walk along the Old Mineral Line from Watchet to the Brendon Hills – This l line was built between 1857 and 1864 – its purpose was to transport Iron ore, which was mined in the Hills, to Watchet Harbour ready to be shipped to Newport in South Wales – for the production of  Steel.     The railway was dismantled in 1917…  Sadly we did not get time to explore the walkways of these old rail lines – this will be for another time!

Leaving the museum, I noticed one of the tiniest “lock-up’s” that I have ever come across!  Trials took place in the Bell Inn right across the road – not a large Court House! – then I read the small print the Court Leet still exists and it was still possible to be locked up here!  Eek better behave then… Luckily there was a tiny chapel right next door! 🙂  Hastily moving on to West Beach – which was just around the corner. The beach was nice but we decided to carry on with our walk – perhaps if we had stayed we could have had a dipped our feet in the nice pool that was built on the shore!

On our way out of Watchet I noticed a very odd Shell like sign… I wondered what this might be.. I discovered the very next day….!  We went onto the memorial grounds and much to my delight we found yet another Millenum beacon.  This was the 4th – Hainault Country Park, Largs, Scotland , Purfleet, Essex and now here!

From 2010 – 12.10.2010 – Doniford Bay – Watchet Walk

The path ran parallel to the railway, until we came to Helwell Bay. The views across the bay were quite amazing, and it was easy to see the rock formations that had been created over the years!! We decided not to go on to the Fossil beach – but it does not perhaps one day we may go back – it must be fascinating!

At this point we decided to leave Helwell Bay behind and head back to Watchet. We decided it was time end our walk for the day – we had loads of ideas to return and also more to research! Particularly as this was just intended as a small walk of discovering this Harbour – so much so I wanted to share it with you all 🙂

All the photos for this days walk –

2010 – 12.10.2010 – Doniford Bay – Watchet Walk

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5 responses to “Doniford Bay – Helwell Bay Walk – 12.10.2010

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