This is a charmingly situated and rapidly improving watering place, much frequented by the citizens of Bristol during the summer season.
Bristol to Highbridge
On leaving the station at Bristol, the lofty root and portly walls glide away almost insensibly from our vision, and leave us in exchange the free air and undulating grounds of a wide and open country, through which the continuous iron line is seen wending onward. The embankment on which we are carried reveals to us passing glimpses of luxuriant lands, and tower-crested eminences, fertile to the summit, the chief charms and characteristics of all Somerset About two miles from Bristol we pass under the old turnpike road to Wells and Bridgewater, and in another mile come upon an elevation which unfolds a bold and romantic view of the surrounding country Ashton Hill, and Leigh Down, with the pretty picturesque village of Long Ashton, form a very attractive picture to the light; and opposite, soaring above the level of the sea to 700 feet, rises the majestic eminence of Dun dry Beacon, the turreted summit of which becomes a prominent object for many miles. A cutting here intercepts the view and we pass the stations of Bourton, Nailsea and Yatton, places of no importance, except the latter as being the junction of
Continuing our journey to the right, we reach, in about four miles further, by alternate embankment and excavation,
After leaving Yatton we catch a very pleasing view of the Channel, with its dimpled surface spotted with white sails, and its range of ruddy headlands stretching far away in the distance. Green hills, diversified by open downs and richly cultivated corn lands, constitute a delightful contrast in the opposite direction; and thus, amid a varied succession of prospects, we reach the station at
This little village has become of some notoriety from the discovery of two caverns in its vicinity, one called the Stalactite, and the other the Bone Cave, which attract a great number of visitors.
Leaving the Banwell station, we pass the villages of Wick, St. Lawrence, Kewstoke, and further on, Worle Hill, which commands a series of extensive maritime and inland views, and variegated landscapes.
Weston-super-Mare has the advantage of being very accessible from Bristol, Bath, Exeter, and other towns on the line of the Great Western Railway.
The neighbourhood abounds with religious monuments.
This place from its invigorating atmosphere and affording, as it does, the usual requisites of a sea-side retreat, has become valuable to the tourist in the summer season. Steamers run regularly, plying between this place and Cardiff.
Highbridge to Glastonbury, Wells and Templecombe
Highbridge to Durston Junction
A port and borough in Somersetshire, on the Great Western Railway, 29 miles from Bristol, a bay, and the mouth of the Parret.
Has a priory and preceptory at Buckland Sororum.
An ancient town, the seat of a considerable glove trade.
Durston to Tiverton and Exeter
On leaving the Bridgewater station the line is continued by embankment across the river Parret, and soon after we enter the fertile valley of the Tone. The river, which gives name to this luxuriant district rises in the Quantock hills, near the town of Wiveliscombe, and, flowing for some miles, passes Taunton, to which town it gives name. Taunton Dean is famed for its fruitful ground, winch is proverbially alleged to produce three crops a year. After gliding along several scenes of wild fertility and romantic beauty, we pass a hill which quite shuts out the prospect, and entering a brief but deep cutting, we reach the neat and commodious station at Taunton.
The town, as seen from the station, has a most pleasing appearance. It is situated in the central part of the luxuriant and beautiful vale of Taunton Dean.
Taunton to Watchet
Leaving the Taunton station we are subjected for a short time to the confinement of a cutting, on passing which we perceive the Bridge water and Taunton canal on our left, while the eminences to our right are crowned with picturesque villages. Proceeding on an embankment, the little hamlet of Bishop’s Hall is passed, and we soon after cross several streams tributary to the Tone, that gleam and sparkle between the patches of meadow land and forest scenery by which they arc skirted in their progress. After crossing a viaduct over the Tone, the arch of Shaw bridge, and passing an excavation, we are carried forward by a sinuous embankment to
Here is a Gothic church of which W. S. Salkeld was rector in James I.‘s time. The Duke of Wellington, who derives his title from this place, is lord of the manor.
Quitting the station, and again crossing the Tone, we enter an excavation which conducts us to the White Ball Tunnel, a fine piece of arched brick work nearly one mile in length. About the centre we attain the highest elevation between Bristol and Exeter, and on emerging from its obscuration we find ourselves in the magnificent county of Devon, with the Wellington memorial cresting the summit of a distant hill on our left, and the long range of precipices, known as the Blackdown Hills, far away before us, apparently extending to the very verge of the sea.
Amidst a succession of scenery almost purely pastoral we are again startled by the premonitory whistle of the engine, and find ourselves at
Tiverton Junction, two miles to the left of which lies the small decayed town of Uffculme. To our right is the
Tiverton has a population of 10,447, returning two members to parliament. It is a place of considerable antiquity.
Leaving the Tiverton junction, the line is continued for some time on an embankment, but the beauty of Devonshire scenery is more to be found in the village lanes and unfrequented byeways, than near the somewhat monotonous levels which a railway of necessity maintains. Thus the six miles’ walk across the hills from Tiverton to Collumpton is a marvellous treat to the pedestrian, whereas the railway tourist sees nothing but a rather dreary succession of green flats, this particular part being devoid of those striking characteristics in the landscape we have hitherto described, and the view of which renders the journey so interesting.
This little town, though containing a population of only 2,205, is one of great antiquity, having been in the possession of Alfred the Great, and afterwards belonging to Buckland Abbey.
Again borne onwards by our never-tiring iron steed, at a speed outstripping the breeze of summer, we become conscious of a moving panorama, which has regained most of the alluring features that we have been recently regretting.
We traverse the valley of the Culme – past Bradninch, through cutting and over embankment – and the winding Exe and Cowley Bridge, and then, after a few minutes of woodland scenery, our speed slackens, the well-known whistle of the engine follows, and we are hurried beneath the portico of a commodious building, which forms the station at
Exeter is pleasantly situated on an eminence rising from the eastern bank of the river Exe, which encompasses its south-west side, and over which it has a handsome stone bridge.
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