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Media & Press

Familiarisation Visits

The West Somerset Railway is always pleased to welcome journalists and film crews to its line and we can often also arrange accommodation if a feature about the Railway and its surrounding area is going to result. If you would like to pay us such a visit please contact John Simms (Publicity Officer, 01643 700382).

The West Somerset Railway itself is Britainís longest standard gauge steam railway and runs for twenty miles from Bishops Lydeard Ė which is four miles from Taunton - to Minehead. For the first half of its journey the Railway passes through the Quantock Hills, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, and for the second part the trains follow the coastline between Exmoor and the Bristol Channel. Services run for most of the year, on selected dates in January, February, March, April, May, October, November and December and daily in the peak part of the holiday season. The WSR regularly carries over 200,000 passengers per annum and holds a number of Special Events during the year, information concerning which can be found in the enclosed timetable leaflet. The Railway also offers discounted travel for pre-booked groups and coach companies.

Places of Interest along the Route

TAUNTON: - Although not served by regular WSR trains the county town of Somerset makes a good touring base and is also rewarding for visitors offering a good shopping centre, a variety of places to eat and drink, museums, parks and other places of interest.

WILLITON: - The station stands at one end of this small working town but at the other end the Bakelite Museum houses one of the largest collections of articles built in this precursor of the plastics revolution in the world.

WATCHET: - The station is in the heart of this ancient seaport (which had its own mint in Saxon times) which is being revived following the closure of the port to commercial traffic and its subsequent regeneration as a marina.

WASHFORD: - The station is a Museum dedicated to the former Somerset and Dorset Railway, closed in 1966, whilst the village boasts a working cider farm and the English Heritage owned Cleeve Abbey.

DUNSTER:- An ancient village which is dominated by its Castle (National Trust) but also has other attractions and points of interest, reflecting its thousand year history. These include the old mill, the former priory and a packhorse bridge. On two evenings in December the village holds its Dunster By Candlelight event, a major attraction in the West Somerset Year.

MINEHEAD: - The seaside town is dominated by the Butlins Holiday Centre and the usual features of a resort town. For those looking for a quieter day out the old town area on North Hill rewards exploration, as does the area beside the harbour. For walkers Minehead is the start of the South West Coastal Path. (Walkers who enjoy hill country walking often alight at Crowcombe Heathfield or Stogumber stations and the Railway publishes books of walks based on its stations).

As you can see there is potential for articles and film making about both the West Somerset Railway itself and the surrounding area. Exmoor remains Britainís least visited National Park as there is more to it and its inhabitants than Johnny Kingdomís idiosyncratic approach to the area and the Quantocks has connections with Coleridge and Wordsworth but also has some claims to be being too often overlooked when it comes to interesting parts of Great Britain.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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