The freshly updated Storywalk trails in Minehead are designed for families and friends to walk and read about the hidden history of the town in a light and informative manner. They are free to access and easy to follow, just open one of the trails on your phone and go.
Along the routes you’ll find stories about the day the fab-four came to town, when the very first aeroplanes landed on the beach and how the Market Street almshouses literally arrived on a storm.
Thank you to Carol Elle of Dunster for giving us permission to use this image of the Beatles
Local author of the Storywalks Mr Jelley said ‘It is always tricky striking a balance between making the trails family friendly and informative. In reality, it is more about knowing how much to cut out, rather than put in, as Minehead has so much history! But the Beetles filming ‘A Hard Days Night’ on the railway was a must, and also the photographs of Benny Hucks and Salmet with their magnificent flying machines. Benny Hucks was first to land on a Daily Mail sponsored round the coast race in 1910. He placed a tent around his plane and charged people to view his hand built aircraft.’
The great fire of Minehead (yes there really was one, but not 1666 it was in 1791) and the smuggling ventures of the Luttrells over the years also had to go in, plus the Market Street almshouses which literally arrived on a storm. The local mariners were at sea when they ran into terrible weather, Captain Quirke and his crew prayed for salvation and promised to gift the very vessel they clung to if they were spared. They did survive and it is said that the beams of the almshouses were constructed from the very timbers of that ship.
The Hidden History Storywalk trails are broken into three sections, a middle town trail, a quay town trail and a higher town trail. The last of which rises up from the beach to the old part of Minehead to finish beneath St Michael's Church with great views of the town and sea.
Each trail dips through time and place, linking stories to locations, but to add a little further fun to the trails, Storywalks has snuck in a few old Somerset dialect words as well. The answers are hidden in cafes along the routes and to wet your whistle here are a couple of examples. At the top of The Avenue, Butterflies Cafe has the phrase skitty-vamps (pronounced skeet'ee-vaam's) and Lisa’s Vintage Cafe has the word farnticles (pronounced faarn'tikulz). There is even one hidden in the Minehead Information Centre (sparrow-bills - pronounced spaar'u-bee'ulz) but you’ll have to pop in to each venue to find out the answers.
Lots more words are hidden in the trails, but here are a few with answers below. What do you think a ‘snarly-horn’ is, what ‘clatting or glatting’ may be and what ‘boneshave’ refers to (pronounced snaa'rlee-au'rn, tlaat'een and boo'un shee'uv).
To enjoy and share the Storywalk trails all you will need is to open https://minehead.storywalks.info on your mobile phone, click on the trail and go to the trailhead.
The Minehead Hidden History Storywalks are free for all to access without advertisement through support from Minehead BID and Minehead Information Centre.
And the answers are, snail, the Somerset sport of catching eels, and sciatica.
In addition to the three Hidden History trails, there are a further three Storywalks in the Minehead Arboretums, or Parks Walks. These are filled with folklore, myth and stories linked to these international trees. What is the power walnuts have over witches, why were conkers collected for the war effort, and why don’t May tree’s flower on May Day anymore? Get your bubble or family together, and enjoy the free Parks Walks trails today.