When I wrote the original guide, it was always my intention to write the Coleridge Way Companion Guide Second Edition extending the path back to Nether Stowey via the new England Coast Path. This was only made possible when the Somerset section of the coast path opened last year meaning that the route could be looped back to make a 100 mile circular path.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge would have walked this new route and it was at Watchet where he first put pen to paper and started the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This is why the good people of Watchet were a bit miffed when the original route of the Coleridge way failed to take in their lovey and historic town. This new guide goes some way in redressing the situation and takes in the stories and interesting facts that make up this part of the Somerset (and bit of Devon) coast.

It was the railway that first brought visitors in any numbers to the West Somerset seaside in Victorian times and still does today with the West Somerset Railway plying its trade between Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton and Minehead. Of course, in Coleridge’s time, the only option would have been to walk and Coleridge was a prolific walker covering 25 miles or more a day.

The new coastal route allows the history of the area to be told in greater detail with the shoreline constantly under attack from foreign invaders; the Danes, French, Welsh and Spanish and the elements of nature with the sea eroding the cliffs and beaches.

The Coleridge Way Companion Guide Second Edition now completes a journey that Coleridge would have been very familiar with and takes in the scenery that inspired this great poet to write such evocative verses. The Bristol Channel, with its flat bottomed boats and often murky, mist enveloped waters, provided the storyline for the mariner, doomed to sail the earth telling his ghostly story of penance and guilt.

I hope you enjoy this second edition of the guide as much as I enjoyed walking it.