Exeter Ship Canal

No.4 Kings Wharf, The Quay, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AN
Close window

Call direct on:

Tel01392 274306

Double Locks (c) Mathilde Le Floch

Book Tickets Online

The Exeter Ship Canal first opened to shipping in 1566 and was the first canal to be built in Britain since Roman times. It was also the first canal in England to use the pound lock.

Starting from the Canal Basin at Exeter's historic quayside, follow the Exe Estuary Trail alongside the canal on foot or by bike for approximately 1.5 miles to reach the Double Locks, a waterside pub with a large beer garden, serving good food and real aleas.

The next section of the trail south of Double Locks passes bird hides looking out across the extensive wetlands here, where you may spot kingfishers, herons and thousands of dragonflies. Continue for approximately 2 and a quarter miles to the Topsham Lock Keepers Cottage, where you can catch a foot ferry (1 April - 30 September, bikes also welcomed) across the estuary to the historic port of Topsham.

A further 1.5 miles brings you to Turf, one of the only pubs in the country only accessible on foot or by bike. From here there are superb views from the beer garden across the estuary to Topsham. A ferry runs between Turf Locks and Topsham from April - September.

The Exe Estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting thousands of birds. View the wildlife of the estuary at the RSPB's Exminster Marshes nature reserve, an area of wet grassland drained by dykes and ditches and an important breeding ground for lapwings and redshanks. In winter, the marshes provide roosting and feeding areas for waders such as curlews and black-tailed godwits, and brent geese graze the drier areas. The ditches have a good dragonfly fauna, including the rare hairy dragonfly.

From the Turf pub, continue along the Exe Estuary Trail to Starcross where you can catch a ferry across to Exmouth (April - October), then take the trail back along the other side of the Estuary to Exeter.

Bikes, canoes and kayaks to explore the canal can be hired from Saddles and Paddles on Exeter's quayside.

Or why not join the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal and enjoy a FREE 30-MINUTE TASTER SESSION in a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard from Adventure Activities Devon, based at Turf Lock.  Details on the link below

Opening Times

open (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday09:30 - 17:30*
Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

Map & Directions

What's Nearby

  1. Exeter Quayside

    Exeter's Historic Quayside is the most attractive area in the city, popular with locals &...

    0.08 miles away
  2. Exeter Cathedral

    Medieval cathedral. Fine example of Gothic Decorated style. Longest unbroken stretch of...

    0.36 miles away
  3. Devon’s Top Attractions

    Everything you need for a great day out in Devon is here. Lotstodo.co.uk is the website...

    2.54 miles away
  4. Haldon Forest Park - Forestry England

    Haldon Forest Park is made up of 3,500 acres of woodland, just 15 minutes from Exeter....

    4.89 miles away
  1. Crealy Theme Park & Resort

    Crealy Theme Park & Resort is the South West’s number one family value day out.

    The...

    4.96 miles away
  2. Haldon Forest Zog Activity Trail

    Head on an exciting forest journey with Zog and his friends!

    5.14 miles away
  3. Exeter Racecourse

    Welcome to Exeter Racecourse... the South West's most prestigious racecourse, sitting...

    5.32 miles away
  4. Powderham Castle

    A visit to Powderham Castle is an enchanting day out for all its visitors. Fascinating...

    5.98 miles away
  5. EXE Adventures

    EXE ADVENTURES is South Devon's mobile outdoor adventure centre, with a 15 seat minibus...

    7.24 miles away
  6. Exmouth Beach

    Two miles of golden sand and fascinating rock pools

    8.76 miles away
  7. Dawlish Warren and Cliffs

    Dawlish Warren is a fascinating place. This sand spit at the mouth of the Exe Estuary is...

    8.94 miles away
  8. The Paint Hub

    The Paint Hub is a pottery painting cafe where you can customise your own piece of...

    8.95 miles away
  9. Dawlish Warren Beach

    Dawlish Warren prides itself on being one of South Devon's top family beaches....

    9.07 miles away
  10. Dawlish Warren Tourism Group

    The family beach resort with shops, amusements, go-karts, adventure golf, pubs and...

    9.14 miles away
  11. Bickleigh Castle

    We’re pleased to offer guided castle tours of Bickleigh Castle. Learn about the history...

    9.23 miles away
  12. Finlake Falls

    Finlake Fitness is your state-of-the-art leisure centre at Finlake Holiday Resort. Our...

    9.31 miles away
Previous Next
Peak Hill Sidmouth Countryside
European Union Leader South Devon Coastal

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Don't Miss