Category: Travel

Watchet plans to mark centenary of end of world war I with 11 days of commemoration

Since early this year a dedicated group drawn from organisations across Watchet, and spearheaded by the Royal British Legion, have been planning to mark the end of hostilities in 1918 in a special and fitting way.


From 1 November until the Remembrance Service on 11 November, most days will feature an event or activity which commemorates the tragic events of 1914-1918 and Watchet’s part in these events, whilst on the Sunday of the 11 November all churches in Watchet will combine to hold their services at Watchet Methodist Church at 10.00am rather than holding the traditional afternoon parade and service. At 11.00 am the service will mark the end of hostilities at the Town’s War Memorial with concluding prayers and the traditional period of silence.


Our traditional parade, led by West Somerset Brass Band, will move off from the Esplanade at 9.30am through the Town for the service at 10.00am and all organisations who wish may take part in this parade.


Through the 11 days leading up to the parade the following events have been planned:



Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd

  • Prayers at Watchet Methodist Church: noon. Unveiling of “The Watchet Tommy”

Saturday 3rd

  • Animals of WWI on Esplanade: 11.00am – 1.00pm.
  • Exhibition of memorabilia of Watchet residents involved in WW1 at Phoenix Centre.

Sunday 4th

  •  Exhibition of memorabilia of Watchet residents involved in WW1 at Phoenix Centre.
  • All churches in Watchet to include prayers to mark the impending centenary.

Wednesday 7th

  • Presentation: PoWs of West Somerset in WW1 at The Sanctuary.

Thursday 8th

  • Presentation at St. Decuman’s “Lest we forget.”

Friday 9th

  • Watchet Film Society “Oh what a lovely war.” 7.00pm

Saturday 10th

  • Exhibition of memorabilia of Watchet residents involved in WW1 at Phoenix Centre. Soup and roll lunch at Salvation Army noon to 2.00pm.

Sunday 11th 

  • Parade and Service. Parade 9.30am, service at Watchet Methodist Church 10.00am
  • Congregate for 11am 2 minutes silence at War Memorial
  • Exhibition of memorabilia of Watchet residents involved in WW1 at Phoenix Centre
  • Unveiling of the Poppy from the Tower of London donated by the Masonic Lodge at the Council Offices



For further details contact Rev. Vincent Woods on 01984 634681.

National Poetry Day – Coleridge & Watchet

Today we celebrate National Poetry Day! And we couldn’t do that without giving a specific mention to none other than Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Watchet and Coleridge are connected by his longest major poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written in 1797-98.

Watchet harbour became the inspiration for this epic poem as he walked over the Quantock Hills from his home in Nether Stowey, along with his friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth, and came upon Watchet. It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church gave him the inspiration for his poem.

The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill
Below the lighthouse top.

A seven-foot high effigy of the mariner was designed and created by sculptor Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland, cast by Powderhall Fine Art Foundries in Edinburgh and unveiled by Dr. Katherine Wyndham in 2003. When you’re visiting be sure to see this statue on the Esplanade.

Why not pop into the Visitor Centre on Harbour Road to pick up a copy of Contains Art’s edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (£12) and take it to the Esplanade with you!


Why I love Watchet and the Steam Coast Trail – Sarah Ellwood

Who are you?

A 36 year old ex-waitress/ cheese-monger/ TV runner/ ship’s First Mate/ Account Manager/ Chair of local charity Watchet Roots; currently a mum to two, wife to one, sister to five, good food and wine fan, pilates, cycling and walking enthusiast, Parent Governor to Knights Templar School and, as of last month, full-time Project Officer for the brilliant Steam Coast Trail!


How are you connected to Watchet?

I connected to Watchet after visiting friends who had moved here and I fell in love with the place. I’ve lived in many places: from growing up in Bath, moving to a grim flat in Dalston, sailing around dozens of Caribbean islands then most of the Mediterranean coast, returned to Bath, on to Bristol, then, since 2010, moved to the unique, eclectic, and very, very fun Watchet. My husband wasn’t convinced of the idea at first, saying ‘who wants to live in a seaside town in winter?!’ It took me three years to convince him but I proved him wrong; we both love it more and more each year and there’s so much to do (even in winter) thanks to organisations like the Onion Collective, Contains Art, Watchet Summertime and Watchet Town Council who put on fantastic events all year round.


As a Parent Governor I am also connected to Knights Templar School and love how it nurtures my kids and teaches them to love learning. I also feel deeply connected to Watchet through my friends and family. Having our kids here has been a brilliant decision as they’re growing up with a huge group of close friends and an enormous ‘village’ style family where everyone goes out of their way to lend a hand.



What do you love most about Watchet?

I love doing the very weird but hilarious Watchet Wheelbarrow Race (trophies in the downstairs loo!), I love the sea and beaches (just got a kayak!), I love Watchet’s sense of community, and seeing a steam train never gets tired. I love dipping chips in curry sauce from Harbour Fish Bar whilst sipping a cider in Pebbles Tavern, I love the Spice Merchant’s saag chana, I love a veggie breakfast at the Corner House Cafe. I love the Old Mineral Line, the fact we have a Town Crier and our own festival, I love being near Exmoor and the Quantocks (just got a mountain bike!) and that my kids can travel almost everywhere in town by bike. I love that I had the outdoor gym at the Memorial Ground installed, that I helped build the structure at Splash Point with a huge team of locals, and I love that I now have a job where I can continue to improve my local area by creating accessible, mixed-use paths for the community and visitors to enjoy in beautiful West Somerset countryside. Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, I will also love the fact that the Steam Coast Trail includes Watchet!


Where is your favourite spot to take family/guests?

On a cold winter’s day, you can’t beat taking visitors on my favourite walk: up the hill past St Decumans Church, down past Snail Holt (say hello to the geese) and Kentsford Farm (say hello to the ducks and horses), then join the Old Mineral Line, see a steam train, say hello to the sea at West Beach then sit next to the open fire in The Star in Watchet for a roast dinner and a pint of craft ale. The. Perfect. Sunday.


Tell us something we didn’t know

In the UK, the average economic benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in cycling and walking schemes is 13:1 Yet,  the UK government spends around £1.38 per person on cycling per year (for those living outside of London) – far less than the recommended £10 (rising to £20 by 2025) from the Get Britain Cycling report.


The Steam Coast Trail is, I’m proud to say, contributing to the far-reaching benefits of encouraging cycling and walking where cars would otherwise be used. Who doesn’t hate driving, let alone cycling, on the A39?! The Steam Coast Trail is working to develop a network of safe, accessible paths that can be used by cyclists, walkers, runners, responsible dog walkers and wheelchair/ mobility scooter users throughout West Somerset. There are also huge benefits to the local economy from increased tourism and access to employment and education, as well as improved health and wellbeing by linking rural, isolated communities. Please show your support by liking our facebook page or you can donate via our website


We will be holding a public launch event to celebrate Phase Two of the Steam Coast Trail opening on Sunday 21st October, 2 – 4pm behind Washford Station and all are welcome – hope to see you there!


– Sarah Ellwood


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