Watchet is a harbour town and civil parish in the English county of Somerset, with an approximate population of 4,400. It is situated 15 miles (24 km) west of Bridgwater, 15 miles (24 km) north-west of Taunton, and 9 miles (14 km) east of Minehead. The parish includes the hamlet of Beggearn Huish. The town lies at the mouth of the Washford River on Bridgwater Bay, part of the Bristol Channel, and on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was written whilst travelling through Watchet and the surrounding area.
St Decuman's church is probably on an ancient pre-Christian site, at ST 066427, on a hill top between Watchet and Williton. An earlier church was situated by the sea at Dawes castle (probably the original site of Watchet) but was abandoned because of sea erosion. When the church was rebuilt in the 12th century it appears that the bones of St Decuman were moved. The chancel of the present church is unusually wide and may have housed the tomb of St Decuman. The "Translation of Saint Decuman" used to be celebrated.
The principal landmark in Watchet is the town's harbour and the surrounding quaysides and narrow streets. In commercial use until 2000, the harbour has now been converted into a marina. The esplanade has been refurbished with new shelters, information points, and the provision of new paving in some areas, as well as railings, lamps, curved benches, planters and new tree plantings. There are several museums in the town, including the Market House Museum, which explores the history of the town and its harbour, and the Watchet Boat Museum, which displays the unusual local flatner boats and associated artefacts.
Adjacent to the harbour is Watchet station. This is now an intermediate stop on the West Somerset Railway, a largely steam-operated heritage railway that links Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton, with Minehead. The trackbed of the old West Somerset Mineral Railway now forms a path, which can be followed from the harbour at Watchet to Washford station, also on the West Somerset Railway. The foreshore at Watchet is rocky, with a high 6 metres (20 ft) tidal range. The cliffs between Watchet and Blue Anchor show a distinct pale, greenish blue colour, resulting from the coloured alabaster found there. The name "Watchet" or "Watchet Blue" was used in the 16th century to denote this colour. Daw's Castle, about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) west of Watchet, is a hill fort situated on a sea cliff about 80 metres (260 ft) above the sea. The fort may be of Iron Age origin, but was (re)built and fortified as a burh by King Alfred, as part of his defence against Viking raids from the Bristol Channel around 878 AD. Cleeve Abbey, one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in England, lies about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Watchet, in The Village of Washford. Dunster Castle is a further 4 miles (6.4 km) in the same direction.