Porlock Weir

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Porlock Weir
Porlock Weir harbour.jpg
Porlock Weir harbour in early light
Porlock Weir is located in Somerset
Porlock Weir
Porlock Weir
 Porlock Weir shown within Somerset
OS grid reference SS863479
District West Somerset
Shire county Somerset
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MINEHEAD
Postcode district TA24
Dialling code 01643
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Devon and Somerset
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament Bridgwater and West Somerset
List of places

Coordinates: 51°13′11″N 3°37′45″W / 51.219619°N 3.629152°W / 51.219619; -3.629152

Porlock Weir, about 1.5 miles west of Porlock, Somerset, England, is a small settlement around a harbour. It is a popular visitor attraction.

Many cottages in the area date from the 17th century, including the Gibraltar Cottages which have been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.[1]

Like most ports in West Somerset, the small harbour is tidal but has a small home-based flotilla of yachts and is visited by many more in spring and summer. The port has existed for over a thousand years. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that in 1052 Harold Godwinson came from Ireland with nine ships and plundered the area and even before that in 86 AD it was visited by Danes. In the 18th and 19th centuries coal from south Wales was the main cargo and in World War II pit props cut in local forests were exported the other way.[2]

The ketch, Lizzy, was wrecked at Gore point, near Porlock Weir. The ship, built in Appledore, was spotted in trouble off Lynmouth in a storm in 1854. The ship had lost her masts, and was in very bad condition. A fishing boat was sent out to rescue the crew, as Lynmouth possessed no lifeboat at this time. The boat managed to reach the stricken ketch, rescue the crew and get back to Lynmouth safely. The weather then began to improve, and a fresh crew, together with the original skipper of the vessel, went out to attempt to salvage her. They improvised with a scrap of sail, and managed to get safely around Foreland Point. They sailed on all night, only just managing to keep the ship afloat. Finally, when they got to Gore Point, just a mile from Porlock weir, they sank in shallow water. The remains of the ship lie submerged just off the point today.[3]

On 12 January 1899, in a storm, the ten-ton Lynmouth Lifeboat was launched, but because of the ferocity of the storm could not put out to sea, and was hauled by men and twenty horses over Countisbury and Porlock hills to Porlock Weir where the water in the bay was less rough.[4] The endeavour enabled thirteen seamen to be rescued.[5]

Porlock Weir harbour, as illustrated by Sydney R. Jones in 1908

The South West Coast Path and other trails link through to Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh and Culbone, the smallest complete parish church in England.


  1. ^ "Gibraltar Cottages". Images of England. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  2. ^ Farr, Grahame (1954). Somerset Harbours. London: Christopher Johnson. p. 154. 
  3. ^ Hesp, P. (1993).Exmoor and West Somerset Coastline. Countryside TV Productions. ISBN 1-898818-00-2
  4. ^ Leete-Hodge, Lornie (1985). Curiosities of Somerset. Bodmin: Bossiney Books. p. 45. ISBN 0-906456-98-3. 
  5. ^ "Overland Launch Overnight January 12th. /13th.1899". Lynton & Lynmouth. Retrieved 2009-04-03.