[ Photograph Gallery # 69 ]
The harbour town of Watchet lies on the North Somerset coast of England, between the Quantock Hills and the Brendon Hills on the Eastern edge of Exmoor.
The harbour at Watchet is said to have been the inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous epic poem ‘The Ancient Mariner’. Whilst on a walk with his friends, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, over the Quantock Hills in 1797 from his home in nearby Nether Stowey, they came upon Watchet. It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church in the town gave him the idea for his poem.
‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.’
In 2002 the Watchet Market House Museum Society decided to commemorate the town’s important link with Coleridge by commissioning a statue. 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. This statue now stands overlooking the marina on Watchet Esplanade.
There is now a designated ‘Coleridge Way’ walk of 51 miles through the landscape that inspired Coleridge to produce some of his best known work. It takes an east to west path from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth through the lovely Somerset countryside of the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor – or obviously, in the reverse direction.
My photographs below were taken on a visit to the area in and around Watchet in 2007.
Watchet – Harbour & Marina
Looking north-east from Watchet harbour across the Bristol Channel to the island of Steep Holm
Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’. created by the Scottish sculptor, Alan Herriot
‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! —
Why look’st thou so?’ — With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS..
(Coleridge) … this renowned poet resided for some years at the nearby village of Nether Stowey. In 1797, while on a walking tour, Coleridge visited Watchet. On seeing the harbour he was inspired to compose one of the best known poems in English literature, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’“
While the black-backed gulls keep an eye on events
Coastal rock striations near Watchet
Dead, or just over-wintering?