Weston-super-Mare

Orientation & Geography

Europe, United Kingdom, Somerset

Weston-super-Mare is a seaside resort, town and civil parish in the unitary authority of North Somerset, which is within the ceremonial county of Somerset, England. It is located on the Bristol Channel coast, 18 miles (29 km) south west of Bristol, spanning the coast between the bounding high ground of Worlebury Hill and Bleadon Hill. It includes the suburbs of Oldmixon, West Wick and Worle. Its population according to the 2001 census was 71,758. Since 1983, Weston has been twinned with Hildesheim, Germany. Although there is evidence in the local area of occupation since the Iron Age, it was still a small village until the 19th century when it became a seaside resort, and was connected with local towns and cities by a railway, and two piers were built. The growth continued until the second half of the 20th century, when tourism declined and some local industries closed. During the 21st century a regeneration programme is being undertaken. Attractions include the Helicopter Museum, North Somerset Museum, the Grand Pier and the SeaQuarium aquarium. The Paddle Steamer Waverley and MV Balmoral offer day sea trips from Knightstone Island to various destinations along the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary. Cultural venues include The Playhouse, The Winter Gardens, and The Blakehay Theatre & Community Arts Centre. Owing to the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel, the low tide mark in Weston Bay is about a mile from the seafront. Although the beach itself is sandy, low tide uncovers areas of thick mud, hence the colloquial name, Weston-super-Mud. These mudflats are very dangerous to walk in and are crossed by the mouth of the River Axe. Just to the north of the town is Sand Point which marks the lower limit of the Severn Estuary and the start of the Bristol Channel. It is also the site of the Middle Hope biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest. In the centre of the town is Ellenborough Park, another Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the range of plant species found there.