Friday, 19 May 2017

Magnificent Minehead Manoeuvres (1)

On The Way, By The Way
It was John, a regular at the fbb's church Wednesday "drop-in" that set the ball rolling. He had spent some time in Minehead and was full of effusive recommendation of his chosen B&B, of which more anon.

There was a small port at Minehead by 1380, which grew into a major trading centre during the medieval period. Most trade transferred to larger ports during the 20th century, but pleasure steamers did call at the port. Major rebuilding took place in the Lower or Middle town area following a fire in 1791 and the fortunes of the town revived with the growth in sea bathing. There was a marked increase in building during the early years of the 20th century, which resulted in the wide main shopping avenue ...
... and adjacent roads with Edwardian style architecture.

Many will know the town from their visits to a certain well-known Holiday Camp.
fbb has never stayed at a Butlins ...
... and is never likely to do so; but the Minehead site opened in 1962, was renamed Somerwest World in 1987 and rebranded again in 1999 as Butlins Minehead Resort.

The town's main bus operator is Buses of Somerset ...
... with service 10 to Porlock ...
... town service 11 and the main line route 28 (every 30 minutes) ...
... to Taunton, The 15 is a run mainly for students at Bridgwater College. Some time back, fbb also looked at the community bus to Bridgwater, run by the EDF people from the Hinkley Point C Power station.

The fbb's route was via Honiton, Cullompton and Tavistock, north up the Exe Valley ...
... then via Wheddon Cross. It rained. All the way.

Luncheon was taken at Tiverton bus station (where else) in the delightful Elsie Mays.
fbb's meal of choice ought to have been a modest omelette ...
... but the desperate (?) need for sustenance for the long and rain spattered drive led to something a little more substantial.
Only about 10,000 calories! Whilst Mrs fbb completed her meal (the omelette!), fbb had a few precious moments to re-visit the bus station. Read fbb's previous comments (here).

All was relatively unchanged with Stagecoach providing the most stylish and well-presented service 1 (etc) to Exeter.
fbb's complaint about the poor departure display for Buses of Somerset has been resolved. The pages have been removed! In their place is what appears to be a dramatically improved service of "buses from this stop".
In fact NONE of the above buses leave from "this stop". The 15 minute frequency runs from Taunton to Wellington ...
... not quite making it to Tiverton.
The limited all-the-way service is shown at the bottom and does leave from "this stop."
"Jerry, when you've got a minute, nip down to Tiverton and put a 22 timetable in the frame at the bus station. Some annoying old codger has complained about the stuff we've got there."

"OK boss. No sooner said than done!"

"Thanks Jerry; Tiverton's a long way away; have a couple of days off in lieu."

"Er, small point boss?"

"Of course, Jerry."

"Where is Tiverton?"

So well done (again!) Buses of Somerset.
Arrival at the B & B was at 1500 ...
... on the very day that the BBC was filming the Antiques Roadshow at Minehead Railway Station.
But that's another story!

 Next Minehead blog at Lynton : Saturday 20th May 


  1. Looks like some Tavistock and Tiverton confusion for you to correct there!!
    (Both Devon towns, both with relatively poor bus connections to the north, both with bus stations desperately clinging to life, and both towns no longer connected to the railway map!)

  2. Thanks Anon. Duly corrected. Not easy to compose a blog on your knees in a B & B bedroom with nowhere to lean a laptop. The name of the device is misleading. Tomorrow's blog about Frinton should be better!

    1. Why do it then? Nobody is forcing you.

    2. Anon (10.09) The answer is probably because it is a fun thing to do and there are many readers who enjoy much of what is written. No one forces you to visit the site.

  3. There's still another Tavistock in there mate, there were 2!!

  4. Years ago there was an infrequent through route from Exeter to Minehead via the beauitul Exe valley. Possibly run by Red Bus/Southern National?

    1. Jointly for a while, now curtailed tivvy to Dulverton only. To be fair it was rarely packed unless very sunny. There was also a coach weekly from Cullompton to Lynmouth which was even more scenic and bust.

  5. c 1963 map shows a service 217 of Western National but am sure I have seen it in a DEvon General timetable as a joint operation. By 1980's Dulverton to Tiverton section was being operated by a local independent. Section between there and Wheddon Cross seemed to be just a college/school bus. Recall seeing two or three smaller operators competing in and around Minehead at that time for bits and pieces - one of whom was I think a 'Webber'.!?

    Apparently there was a bus station for some years behind the shops but that had gone by the time I visited.