Public Rights of Way

Exe Estuary Trail (Cycle/Walkway)

The development of the Exe Estuary Trail is an important element of the County Council's aspirations to encourage more sustainable and healthy travel by walking and cycling. Exe Estuary Trail Logo

The County Council has good experience in developing cycle networks across the County. Additionally connections between Dawlish Warren and Dawlish serve as access to the local Community College. The Exe Estuary Trail provides other links to complete a route around the whole of the Exe Estuary. The route forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 2 as shown in the Devon Local Transport Plan 2001-2006.

The Trail was completed on the eastern side of the Estuary between Exeter and Exmouth, when the Clyst Bridge, between Topsham and Ebford, was opened in November 2013. As part of this project, a new management plan for Topsham was prepared:

The Western side of the Trail from Exeter to Dawlish Warren was completed when the section between Turf Lock and Powderham Church, including a new bridge over the main West Coast Regional railway, was opened in November 2014.

The Exe Estuary is a unique and very special place. The Exe Estuary NCN Route 2, known as the Exe Estuary Trail, is proving to be to be a first class cycling and walking route. This route provides an exciting opportunity for people to experience cycling or walking around the entire Exe Estuary, appreciating the wildlife and passing through some beautiful riverside towns and villages steeped in maritime history.

The different habitats on the Estuary support a diverse and plentiful range of flora and fauna including wintering waterfowl and waders. As a result, the Exe Estuary has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Ramsar Site (internationally important area for birdlife) and is a candidate Special Area of Conservation. The primary conservation interests are the extensive inter-tidal habitats and the nationally and internationally important bird populations. These designations place responsibilities on Local Authorities and statutory bodies to ensure protection of the area’s wildlife and environment, and demand that the ‘precautionary principle’ is enshrined into planning and management of the Estuary. The Estuary has very strong historic and cultural interests many of which are linked to the coastal and marine environment and provides a valuable setting for activities such as walking, boating, fishing and bird watching.

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