Saint Decumans, United Kingdom

Watchet is a harbour town, civil parish and electoral ward in the English county of Somerset, with a population of 3,785. It is situated 15 miles (24 km) west of Bridgwater, 15 miles (24 km) north-west of Taunton, and 9 miles (14 km) east of Minehead. The town lies at the mouth of the Washford River on Bridgwater Bay, part of the Bristol Channel, and on the edge of Exmoor National Park.

The original settlement may have been at the Iron Age fort Daw's Castle. It then moved to the mouth of the river and a small harbour developed, named by the celts as Gwo Coed meaning "under the wood". After the Saxon conquest of the area the town developed, becoming known as Weced or Waeced, and was attacked by Vikings in the 10th century. Trade using the harbour gradually grew, despite damage during several severe storms, with import and exports of goods including those from Wansbrough Paper Mill until the 19th century when it increased with the export of iron ore, brought from the Brendon Hills via the West Somerset Mineral Railway, mainly to Newport for onward transportation to the Ebbw Vale Steelworks. The West Somerset Railway also served the town and port bringing goods and people from the Bristol and Exeter Railway. The iron ore trade reduced, finally ceasing in the early 20th century. The port continued a smaller commercial trade until 2000 when it was converted into a marina. In 2016, Watchet joined the rest of West Somerset in receiving 'Opportunity Area' status.


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