The Old West Somerset Mineral Line Walk

Jon Levenson

This is both a wonderful walk through Exmoor’s beautiful landscape and a valuable, historical insight into the Victorian iron ore-mining business.

Starting at Beulah Church, built by the mine-workers, Phil, our guide, gave an interesting, fact-filled talk about the whole iron-ore mining industry in Exmoor . We then walked to the winding house which hauled coal up from Watchet to fuel the steam engine while letting down the ore-laden trucks from the mines along one of the steepest and longest inclines.

The mining operation had mixed fortunes, barely returning a profit at all for investors and ham-strung by many poor business and engineering decisions. The last remnants of the track were removed during the 1st World War requisition of metal. Most of the mine-workers cottages have disappeared though the mine manager’s fine house remains fully restored in private ownership.

The landscape has returned to nature though still offers a great walk, outstanding views and wonderful scenery.

The history and archives are kept alive by the very dedicated West Somerset Mineral Line Association who also arrange these guided walks. It is an energetic seven-mile walk and together with talks along the way it takes about five hours. It is well worth the effort and combines interesting history and outstanding, unrivalled views.

 

 

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