Ten things you probably didn’t know about Minehead

1. Science fiction author Sir Arthur C Clarke (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) was born in Minehead


2. Minehead is home to England’s longest heritage railway - the West Somerset Railway


3. England rugby star, world cup winner and England’s Red Roses top try scorer Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman was born and brought up in Minehead


4. Minehead has hosted both Britain’s Strongest Man and the European Outdoor Tug-O-War Championships


5. Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden used to work in the town’s Butlin’s resort - TV’s Stephen Mulhern was also a Redcoat there and the resort also kicked off the showbiz careers of Des O’Connor and Jimmy Tarbuck. Even Catherine Zeta-Jones enjoyed early success by winning a talent contest here in Butlin’s Minehead


6. There are two cloth and ribbon ‘hobby horses’ which tour the town on May Day


7. It is reputed that Cecil Frances Alexander wrote the popular Anglican hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful in Minehead -  "The purple headed mountain, The river running by, The sunset and the morning, That brightens up the sky" refers to Exmoor’s Grabbist Hill and the River Avill that runs near it through the popular tourist location Snowdrop Valley


8. Minehead takes its name for the Old English for North Hill, the distinctive landmark that rises 900 feet from sea level above the town. The Welsh for ‘hill’ or ‘mountain’ is mynydd - or ‘myned’ in Old English.


9. Some 320,000 tons of sand was shipped in to restore the beach after severe storms washed much of the previous beach away in the 1990s. New sea defences protect the current sands.


10. The wooded bluffs above Minehead are believed to be the inspiration for the Hermit's abode "in that wood which slopes down to the sea" in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The poet lived in nearby Nether Stowey and he and fellow poet William Wordsworth would often roam the hills and coast on long night walks.