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Local attractions: Watchet

Watchet was first recorded during the dark ages. When St Decuman arrived from South Wales and acted as a physician, arbitrator and pastor to the local community. He arrived on a raft with a cow as a companion! In the Iron ages Daws fort was built above Watchet to protect the port and area. It's then natural harbour made it an early trading centre and in the 10th century coins were minted here for Ethelred II and five more saxon kings. Watchet is unqiue in that it still retains the court leet system of medeival administration alebeit in name. Posts include Portreeve and the coveted position of Ale Taster. The Star Inn, won the Somerset 2006 CAMRA award for real ale. It's unclear if the Ale Taster had a hand in this. Watchet gets its name from Wacet. The blue Wacet dye found in the cliffs. Watchet became an active port with a host of commodities being traded up and down the coast, to Ireland and Wales, while the Mineral Line bought iron ore down for shipment to Wales.

Fossil Coast
There are two key locations for fossil hunting near Watchet, East of Watchet mariner, beyond splash point you come to Helwell bay or West of Watchet Mariner near West Street beach. Ammonites, bi valves and "Devils toe nails" are all to be found here along with rock samples of quartz alabaster. Displays of finds can be seen at the Geological Wall on the Platform of Watchet Train Station. The Market House Museum also displays some finds. Beach combing is also popular. The tidal range at Wachet is second only to Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. And as a consequence, the beach is continually refreshed. Fossil maps are available from the visitor centre.

Watchet Museums
Watchet has two small but fascinating museums. The Market house museum goes through the fascinating history of this small trading port. It also includes finds from the Fossil beaches. The Boat museum holds a collection of old Flatner boats. These flat bottomed boats had no keel and were used for a wide variety of purposes. Admission to both museums is free but donations are very welcome to help these volunteer run organisations.

West Somerset Railway
The West Somerset Railway is 20 miles of preserved steam railway. Miles of beautiful countryside are passed by the line which stretches from Bishops Lydeard to the coastal town of Minehead. The West Somerset Railway designed by Ismbard Kingdom Brunel but he died before he saw the project completed. Watchet is one of 10 stations along the West Somerset Railway which is confidently close to the town centre. The railway which attracts 200,000 visitors a year is highly recommended part of any trip to the area. You'll be charmed by the relaxed pace of the trains through beautiful surroundings.

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