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Midsomer Norton & Radstock

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Midsomer Norton & Radstock - Colliers Way Map

Radstock is home to the excellent Radstock Museum where you can discover a comprehensive history of the area in its well laid out and interesting some hands-on displays, with a convenient on-site cafe and bookshop.

Radstock is steeped in industrial heritage from the days of the coal canal, tramway, railways, the coal industry and more, which can be experienced in the museum. Coal was the chief industry in Radstock and Midsomer Norton, bringing prosperity and work to the district after its discovery in 1763. In the early part of the 20th Century over 6,000 people were employed in Somerset's coalfields, raising over a million tons of coal a year. The railways flourished as a result of this industry and both towns were each served by two railways - the Great Western Railway and the Somerset & Dorset Railway.

At one time Radstock had two railway level crossings over two different railways, within yards of each other and each also had its own station. Today the only operational railway left in the area is at the heritage centre of the Somerset & Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton Station in Midsomer Norton. There are a few reminders of the coal industry remaining in the area, among those is the miners memorial garden in Radstock with its pit head winding wheel monument.

Midsomer Norton is a market town with the River Somer running along its high street and some interesting old buildings tucked away, such as the 15th Century tithe barn converted to a Catholic church by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, located on a short offshoot of High Street to be found alongside the NatWest bank. The even older 1170-built Old Priory is on Church Square and is now a hotel and home of the Moody Goose restaurant.

Midsomer Norton is also home to the new Somer Valley Adventure Play Park and Skate Park, which opened in July 2010. The park is situated between the town’s Sports Centre and the Somer Community Centre in Rackvernal Road and offers a range of facilities from outdoor trampolines to a zip wire and tunnels, providing exciting and challenging play for all ages and abilities. The park also features a state of the art area for wheeled sports (skateboarding, non-motorised scooters and bicyles) with bowls and street-style area, benches and rocks.

When travelling on the Colliers Way between Radstock and Frome, be sure to look out for the Three Pocket Orchards - planted apple trees of rare English varieties to mark the disappearing Somerset orchards, and also reminiscent of the trees which grew from discarded apple cores thrown from trains. Works of art may also be found along here, in the geometric interlocking oak benches, wood carvings, a stacked stone column and montages by local schoolchildren of pointing fingers - a nice reminder of old railway direction signs.

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  • Radstock mining memorial gardens along the Colliers Way
  • Midsomer Norton farmers
  • High Street, Midsomer Norton
  • Catholic church, the old tithe barn, Midsomer Norton
  • The Somerset & Dorset Railway at Midsomer Norton
  • Radstock Museum along the Colliers Way
  • Resting along the Colliers Way
  • Apple tree in the Three Pocket Orchards
  • Playful artwork on the Colliers Way
  • Local artist's wood carving

Attractions and businesses shown are within a three-mile radius of the Colliers Way, unless stated.
Distances shown are approximate.

THINGS TO DO


Radstock Museum
  • No entry has been made for this location.
  • Walk the The Limestone Link footpath in the Cam Valley (OS Landranger map no.172).

 

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DID YOU KNOW?


Radstock Museum mining exhibition 1900 Midsomer Norton railway SaDposter
  • At the height of the coal mining boom, there were around 30 working pits in the Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Paulton area. The industry relied upon deep coal seams that sink beneath the Bristol Channel and reappear in South Wales. The deepest pit in the area was around 1834 feet deep (559m approx) and the last pit to close was Kilmersdon in 1973.
  • Radstock Museum is in the town's old market hall building and you can walk through a recreated coal mine gallery.
  • The Somerset & Dorset Railway's 'Bath Extension' from Evercreech (near Shepton Mallet) to Bath was built in around two years, and had gradients of 1 in 50 in many places. The line climbed to 811 feet at Masbury on the Mendip Hills, and climbed out of Bath on a steep gradient, peaking just outside Combe Down Tunnel which is on a bend, unventilated and over a mile long. This tunnel will soon form part of the 'Two Tunnels' shared path near Bath, and join the Colliers Way. The S&D railway finally closed in 1966, but the terminus station at Green Park in Bath still stands.
  • In 1912 a fossilised fragment of a dragonfly with a wingspan of 40cm (16 inches) was found on the Tyning Colliery waste tip near Radstock.

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FOOD & DRINK


Midsomer Norton No 6 Licensed Bar The Moody Goose at the old Priory Tea and Trade Rooms
  • No entry has been made for this location.

 

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ACCOMMODATION


Radstock Hotel
  • No entry has been made for this location.

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Services for this area can be found in our online Colliers Way directory