West Somerset mineral line railway

NGR ST 030 350

The winding house on the West Somerset mineral line railway contained the machinery used to lower the trucks full of ore down the steep incline encountered on the route to Watchet harbour. Non of the machinery survives but the site remains and is going to be consolidated to allow visitor access. * Conservation work has started on the winding house for the inclined section of the mineral line. Railway trucks used on the line were hauled up the incline from Comberow to the Brendon hills by machinery housed beneath the railway tracks. The building for this machinery was called the winding house and contained a stationary engine that turned a huge winding drum. Cables were wound around the drum and attached to the trucks at the bottom of the incline some 800 feet / 244 meters below, the drum turned and hauled the trucks to the top. The trucks transported iron ore from mines on the Brendon hills to the port of Watchet from where it was taken to Wales. Sadly the machinery no longer exists but the winding house and cable ducts still do. Following an archaeological and structural survey, work has been started to consolidate the remaining stonework. Work has finished on the main walls and the scaffolding has been removed. Safety works to internal walls need to be finished and a viewing area for the public designated. The ENPA Estate team are putting steps in to provide easy access to the track bed at the top of the Incline. After work has finished and the site is open to the public, interpretation boards will help explain the working of the winding house.

There were three inclines on this railway, Brendon hill was the only one used when the railway was at its height after its closure. Another incline was in the adjacent mine called Blackland, and one in Langham hill was only temporary. The Brendon hill incline was 1 in 4, steam powered and opened in 1861.

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Old Picture Old Picture

Winding House Tunnel at Bottom Winding House Winding House Winding House Winding House

Winding House Down the Incline Wheel pit Down the Incline