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Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir is a small port with a very pretty harbour and lovely beach. While there are a few shops and restaurants dotted around the harbour, it still feels unspoilt. The beach is clean and the sea is often calm enough for kayakers and paddle boarders.

Porlock Weir

Porlock Weir – History

The port has been home to fishing families for hundreds of years. Other trades plied over the years have included the exportation of bark (for tanning), bricks, corn, flour and pit props for coal mines in Wales. At one time, Porlock Weir was home to 3 lime kilns and a brick and tile works. All this trade relied upon large boats. The biggest sailing ketch was 100 feet long.

Porlock Weir still has a harbour master. His job is to see boats in safely and ensure that the dock gates are used to prevent damage during rough weather and flush the channel clear of stones. A number of boats moor here. While many are only for leisure purposes, a few fishermen still ply their trade.

Coastal path at Porlock Weir

Looking down from the coastal path

Like much of the West Country coast, smugglers have used the Porlock coastline to stash their wares. Over the years, many hiding places have been discovered and stories told of shipwrecked goods being surreptitiously squirreled away by residents.

Porlock Weir car park

Most visitors to Porlock Weir will need to arrive by car rather than by boat. So, head west down the A39 (Porlock Weir is around 55 miles from my B&B) going past Minehead and through Porlock. Around a mile and a half later you’ll arrive in Porlock Weir. The car park is right by the harbour and beach. There are toilets here and the picnic benches offer great views.

The beach

Porlock Weir pillbox

To the left of the car park (when facing the sea) are the boats and a harbour wall with a large stone ledge which makes a great spot for a sit down. It’s an ideal vantage point from which to see the harbour’s comings and goings. One way to access the beach here is via a narrow path next to some beautiful cottages. When you reach the end of the short path a ‘smiling’ pillbox awaits on the beach. From here you can walk for miles along the beach.

Porlock Weir beach

Head along the beach in the opposite direction and you will see a magnificent windswept oak tree with a trunk made for sitting in.

Porlock Weir

Carry on a short way past this tree and you’ll arrive at Porlock Marsh. The marsh is home to a host of wildlife and plants. (If birdwatching is your thing, Somerset is home to some fantastic nature reserves.) It’s possible to explore the marsh via several different routes and loop back to Porlock Weir. Alternatively, simply stroll back along the beach.

Porlock Marsh information

Shops & Restaurants

There are several places to eat in Porlock Weir and many offer alfresco dining. You can buy freshly caught oysters and there is also that all important ice cream kiosk! What could be better than a large scoop (or two) of local ice cream while watching the world go by?

A Famous Face in Porlock Weir

The name Bill Pollard probably doesn’t mean a thing to you. However, if one of your relatives smoked Capstan cigarettes years ago, they would have seen Bill’s face on the packaging. Apparently, Bill became a model quite by accident. A director of Capstan was holidaying at Porlock when he happened to see Bill. Struck by his appearance, the employee felt that Bill’s face was ideal to promote the company. The rest as they say is history. However, Bill didn’t let fame go to his head. He was more interested in fishing and boasting that he could build, rig and sail a boat. Bill was a pioneer of the oyster dredging industry.

You can find out more about Bill and the interesting history of Porlock Weir in the small museum.  

Porlock Weir is another beautiful part of Somerset and well worth a visit.  

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