Puff through beautiful Somerset countryside on a heritage railway
Staying at Exmoor Character Cottages? Don’t miss the opportunity to take a trip on the West Somerset Railway or the Lynton and Barnstaple steam railways. Visitors of any age can enjoy a nostalgic journey, whether you want to travel the whole line or just a few stations. For narrow gauge fans, head to Woody Bay and alight there.
With steam, there’s an assault on the senses. You will enjoy incredible countryside views, plus the sounds and smell of the steam itself. Taking a ride on a steam train is romance on standard or narrow gauge.
Ready to climb aboard? Then get yourself a ticket to ride.
All aboard at Minehead
With almost 23 miles of track, this original country branch line of the Great Western Railway is the longest standard gauge independent heritage railway railway in the UK. The longest journey you can take is 20 miles from Minehead or Dunster Beach (our local stations) to Bishops Lydeard, just a short bus ride from Taunton.
The route heads southeast over flat fields offering a great view of Dunster Castle before it pulls into Dunster Station. Next stop is Blue Anchor on the coast. From here, the track heads up the steepest section of the line, a 1.5% gradient, and you can pick up this change of gear in the sound of the puff-puff of the engine.
Watchet is a great place to get out and explore. It offers a fascinating and free town museum, the Watchet Boat Museum, some characterful pubs, and lovely independent stores. This might be as far as you want to go.
Whilst wandering around Watchet, it’s possible to find traces of the West Somerset Mineral Railway. This important but doomed line was intended to facilitate movements of iron ore from the Brendon Hills to Watchet’s quayside and onward to South Wales. It’s still possible to walk much of the former line, although this can be a struggle in parts. The West Somerset Mineral Railway Wiki page is a good place to start.
The end of the track
If you prefer, continue on the train as the line passes through Williton, up the Quantock Hills and into Stogumber. There’s a great tearoom here, the Rocking Horse (do check opening hours). At Bishops Lydeard, the final stop, you’ll find a small shop, refreshments, a railway museum, and the Quantock Brewery and Taproom.
Although the distance it travels is much shorter than the Minehead to Bishops Lydeard route, this narrow gauge railway is special. It is the only steam railway in the UK where passengers travel in Victorian railway carriages designed in the 1890s. So think quality not distance when you head out for a trip here.
It’s only a one-mile return trip from Woody Bay Station to Killington Lane and back, taking 20 minutes. The countryside is beautiful and the carriages are luxurious – especially in First Class (what else?)
A small group with local community support is working hard to rebuild this beautiful railway, which is a great accomplishment. We hope you’ll have time to visit and give them your support by travelling the line.
There’s one more railway too…
This railway is an incredible feat of Victorian engineering and you won’t want to miss it if you’re in either town. The water-powered funicular runs up the steep cliff between the two North Devon towns. Plus you get the most incredible view of the Bristol Channel.
If you love stepping back in time on steam railways, you’ll love our award-winning luxury period cottages too. Each has its own unique character, complete with original features.
The old sits side-by-side with the new, including high-speed Wi-Fi, fully equipped kitchens and high-quality furnishings. All our Minehead cottages have hot tubs. We cater for all ages and dogs are welcome too! Check out our live availability and pricing.