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Exeter Ship Canal

No.4 Kings Wharf, The Quay, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4AN
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Tel01392 274306

Double Locks (c) Mathilde Le Floch

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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 2018 - 31 Dec 2018)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday09:30 - 17:30*
Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change

Map & Directions

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