Watchet, Exmoor National Park

Watchet, Exmoor National Park
  • Harbour town on the West Somerset coast between Exmoor National Park and the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Explore Watchet Harbour
  • Photograph The Ancient Mariner Statue. Visit nearby Coleridge Cottage (National Trust) in Nether Stowey
  • Learn more about Watchet and the local area at Watchet Museum and Watchet Boat Museum
  • Take the West Somerset Railway to Dunster and Minehead. Alternatively, walk the West Somerset Coast Path to Minehead and the eastern section of Exmoor National Park. The West Somerset Coast Path runs into the South West Coast Path at Minehead
  • Main photo: The Ancient Mariner Statue at Watchet Harbour just east of Exmoor National Park

 

Where is Watchet in relation to Exmoor National Park?

Watchet is located just east of Minehead and Dunster. The harbour town is situated between the eastern border of Exmoor National Park and the western border of the Quantock Hill Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It looks out across the Bristol Channel to South Wales.

 

Directions to Watchet from Exmoor National Park

Follow the A39 out of Exmoor and turn left onto the B3190 which will take you to Watchet. You can drive through Blue Anchor as well.

We've positioned Watchet on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.

 

Parking at Watchet

There are car parks in town behind Watchet Harbour. Look out for the blue 'P' for parking signs when there.

 

Why visit or holiday in the Watchet area?

To help you choose the Watchet area, we've listed some of the local attractions below.

 

Watchet Harbour

The town is built around the harbour and marina. It's a great place to people watch. Look out for The Ancient Mariner and Yankee Jack statues at the back of the harbour. Note that Watchet Museum is situated by the western side of Watchet Harbour.

 

The Ancient Mariner statue at Watchet Harbour

The Watchet and Quantock Hills AONB area inspired Samuel Taylor Coleridge to write 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. There's a superb statue of The Ancient Mariner behind Watchet Harbour.

Visit nearby Coleridge Cottage (National Trust) in Nether Stowey. Brilliant National Trust property in Nether Stowey east of Exmoor National Park. The cottage is at the east end of The Coleridge Way. There's a nice pub across the road.

 

Watchet Museum

Learn more about the local area and its history in Watchet Museum. Small place but packed with fascinating exhibits. Highlights include local fossils and exhibitions on ships.

 

Watchet Boat Museum

If Watchet Museum is of interest then make sure you visit Watchet Boat Museum as well. Exhibits include boats, nautical charts and fishing nets.

 

West Somerset Railway

Runs from the east border of Exmoor at Minehead and Dunster to Watchet and then Bishops Lydeard below the Quantock Hills. Super family attraction.

 

Watchet beaches

In comparison to the high and wild coast of Exmoor, the landscape around Watchet is relatively flat and lined with beaches. Running west to east, these include:

Blue Anchor Beach. Huge low tide sand beach running into Dunster Beach to the west. If you're looking for sand beaches, the coast between Minehead and Watchet is for you.

Watchet West Street Beach. Rock and sand beach to the west of Watchet Harbour. Look out for the small, rectangular Victorian tidal pool!

Helwell Bay Beach. Rock and sand beach to the east of Watchet Harbour.

Doniford Beach. Rock and sand beach.

St Audrie's Bay Beach. Big low tide rock, pebble and sand beach.

East Quantoxhead Beach. Rock, pebble and sand beach.

Kilve Beach. Rock beach.

Lilstock Beach. Pebble beach.

The beaches at Watchet and east of Watchet are known for their fossils. They are part of the Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

 

Blue Anchor to Lilstock Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

This stretch of coastline is a bit like the famous Dorset and East Devon Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site more commonly known as the Jurassic Coast. Great place to find fossils!

'Description and reasons for notification. An outstanding series of sections through the Lover Lias, spanning the Hettangian and Lover Pliensbachian Stages. This sequence and the good Rhaetian succession beneath are repeatedly affected by faulting, making many sections available in comparison to the same interval on the Glamorgan and Dorset casts. In a British context the Watchet coast is the thickest succession for this interval. This makes it of international significance, for Britain's Lias sequences are arguably the best in N.W. Europe. In addition it has been proposed that this coast be accepted as the standard for the base of the Hettangian Stage, and thus by definition the Jurassic as a whole. An internationally important stratigraphic locality.'  (Source: Natural England)

 

West Somerset Coast Path and the South West Coast Path

The West Somerset Coast Path is a 25 mile long distance walking route that passes through Watchet. It's this area's version of Exmoor's South West Coast Path. Highly recommended.

'The West Somerset Coast Path runs from the hamlet of Steart to the coastal resort of Minehead and passes through the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Coast Path links the River Parrett Trail to the South West Coast Path National Trail. The path also joins the Coleridge Way and Quantock Greenway just south of the A39 near East Quantoxhead.' (Source: West Somerset Coast Path leaflet)

 

Daws Castle (English Heritage)

Dates from the time of King Alfred. Located just east of Dunster and the border of Exmoor National Park.

 

Watchet pubs and cafes

Head to The Esplanade and Market Street by Watchet Harbour and take you pick of pubs and cafes in which to relax.

 

Quantock Hills AONB

Stunning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the east of Exmoor National Park.

Walk to its highest point Wills Neck for big views of Somerset and Exmoor.

 

Cleeve Abbey (English Heritage)

Cistercian abbey by the east border of Exmoor. English Heritage state that Cleeve Abbey includes 'the most impressively complete and unaltered set of monastic cloister buildings in England'.

 

Dunster Castle (National Trust)

National Trust property located in the exquisite Dunster village near the eastern border of Exmoor National Park.

 

Dunster, Minehead and Exmoor National Park

The wonderful village Dunster and the popular seaside resort Minehead are located west of Watchet. They are on the eastern border of Exmoor National Park.

 

The Coleridge Way

Runs between Lynmouth Pavilion National Park Centre on Exmoor and Coleridge Cottage on the edge of the Quantock Hills AONB.