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South West Minehead, Somerset

Minehead is overshadowed by the bulk of North Hill, the start of Exmoor, with its harbour nesting beneath it. In the Middle Ages, Minehead was major trading centre, particularly for the export of wool and cloth. The C15th Church of St Michael on North Hill had a beacon light for ships approaching the harbour.

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It is still a popular, although somewhat old fashioned sea side town and the terminus of the North Somerset Railway. It is the main town and shopping centre for the area with the wide tree lined Avenue.

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When sea side holidays became popular in the C19th, pleasure steamers also stopped here. The arrival of the railway in the late C19th brought even more visitors and a massive building programme. The impressive Town Hall dates from 1888.

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A Methodist Church was built on the Avenue in 1876 and had to be enlarged ten years later.

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St Andrew's Church on Wellington Square was built in 1880 as a Chapel of Ease to the parish church of St Michael. Serving the lower town, it was particularly appreciated by the elderly and sick who struggled to manage the steep journey up to the parish church.

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Many of the streets off the Avenue are lined with Edwardian houses.

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Blenheim Gardens behind the Avenue were opened in 1925 and are now mature gardens with grass, trees and flower beds. They make an attractive place to sit on fine days.

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Although it has a Butlin’s on the edge of the town, the town has avoided the kiss me quick seaside attractions in the town itself - or at least in the areas I got to...

The Tourist Information Centre in the Beach Hotel, near the West Somerset Railway Station, is open during the summer months and has information and maps. There are details of a walk round Minehead here.

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