- MINEHEAD, Somerset . Hidden within this resort of much gabled Victoriana and 20th-cent. Tudor and sands so broad at low tide that the sea seems to disappear, is an exquisite village. It is on the face of the hill at the townís western end. A wide flight of tiled and cobbled steps leads up between red-stone or yellow-coloured cottages, which are mainly thatched with tall chimneys, to the big 14th- to 15th-cent. church. This contains much of interest, including an excellent screen (c. 1500), figured font (15th-cent.), early-l7th-cent. pulpit, good modern wrought-iron and brass lectern, and a beautiful illuminated missal (c. 1400) in a glass case.
- The harbour area is also attractive: a row of former fishermenís cottages facing Quay Street with among them the little St Peterís Chapel which was originally a salt store.
- In Market House Lane, near the town centre, are some 1630 almshouses. The statue of Queen Anne (c. 1719) in Wellington Square is the work of Francis Bird. St Andrewís Church (late 19th-cent.) beside it was designed by G. E.
Street. During the Middle Ages and till the late 18th cent., Minehead was an important port, both for fishing (herrings mainly) and trade (particularly with Wales and Ireland - wool, hides, cattle and coal especially). Great fires in 1791 and 1815, the disappearance of herrings from the area, and the silting up of its harbour brought slump. But early in the 19th cent. tourists began to arrive and in 1874 came the
railway, it's self a major attraction now as the West Somerset
Railway, with attractions and events all year.
- The town has an excellent climate. On May Day it has a Hobby Horse Festival of rather less fame than Padstow's
The town of Minehead, overlooking the Bristol Channel, is an attractive modern holiday
resort with a mile -long seafront and a splendid curving stretch of sand. Its mild climate and beautiful surroundings make it a popular touring centre. Among its attractions, Minehead offers a model village, boat excursions and fishing trips. Offshore, there are remains of a prehistoric forest beneath the sea.
- The beach is a wide expanse of gentle shelving coarse sand with
patches of shingle. At low water the waters edge is some
distance away, leaving plenty of room for beach games. There is a
shallow pool near the high tide mark suitable for young children to
- KNOWN as the Gateway to Exmoor, Minehead is Somersetís busiest
holiday resort, itís sweeping mile long seafront being enhanced by
nearly £14 million of improvements in 1997.
The project involved removal of the old seafront wall and building a
new, higher one to protect Minehead 300,000 tonnes of sand was
dredged from the middle of the Bristol Channel which was then used
to raise the level of the beach by 2 metres. Improvements to
existing paving along the seafront, promenade lighting, street
furniture (benches, seats, litter bins, bollards), tree and shrub
planting, new signs and
better access to the seafront and promenade for wheelchair users and
families with pushchairs were also implemented.
Minehead offers much more than a beautiful seafront and quaint old
harbour, take a short walk from the sandy beach along the tree-lined
avenue and you will find the main shopping area with its many eating
places and lovely floral displays. Just away from the Avenue are the
beautiful Blenheim Gardens which in summer months holds regular
Minehead is overlooked by the imposing North Hill which is easily
accessible from the L town centre and besides having breathtaking
views over Minehead, Exmoor, the Bristol Channel, and eastwards
towards the Quantock Hills is perfect for walking, cycling, horse
riding or maybe just picnicing? A single track road runs along the
top of North Hill for a distance of 3 miles and leads to a small car
park at Hurlstone Point, the views here are stunning, overlooking
Exmoor and the villages of Bossington and Porlock and out to sea.
One of West Somersetís biggest attractions is the West Somerset
Railway which is Britainís longest privately owned passenger rail
line, itís steam hauled trains running for 20 miles from Minehead to
Bishops Lydeard near Taunton in the East via the Quantock Hills.
Itís a fascinating journey through wonderful countryside and has ten
stops on the way.
- Local towns and villages to visit..
- Sea fishing at
Lynmouth, Porlock Weir and Minehead. Freshwater fishing in Exmoor
streams on the River Exe at Exford and Dulverton and on the
Lyn at Lynmouth.
Minehead Caravan and Camping