Exe Estuary Trail
This splendid, largely traffic free ride takes you around the beautiful Exe Estuary on the south Devon coast. It runs along National Cycle Network route 2 from Exmouth to Dawlish. The ride takes place on mostly well surfaced, flat cycle paths so it is quite an easy ride. Most sections are suitable for families or beginners looking for a nice introduction to cycling.
The route starts off in Exmouth and heads north along the river with splendid views of the Exe Estuary Nature Reserve. The RSPB reserve is great for birdwatching so look out for lapwings, redshanks and Cetti's warblers as you go. You soon come to the village of Lympstone with its pretty harbour and the 19th century Italianate riverfront brick clock tower known as Peter's Tower. You continue to Exton, passing Nutwell Park and the Georgian neo-classical Grade II listed mansion house of Nutwell Court. The next stage takes you through Topsham, passing the Exe Reedbeds Nature Reserve before coming to Lower Wear. Here you cross a bridge over the river to the western side where you pass the Riverside Valley Park and the Exeter Canal.
On the western side of the estuary you head south passing RSPB Exminster Marshes and Powderham Castle. The Grade I listed building is a major highlight on the route with its lovely gardens and fine fortified manor house. From the castle you continue through Starcross to Dawlish Warren. This lovely area includes the Dawlish Warren National Nature reserve which consists of grassland, ponds and a huge variety of birdlife to look out for. The final section takes you along the coast to the finish point at the town of Dawlish.
If you'd like to extend your cycling in this area then you could head to Exeter along route 34 or follow the excellent Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton Railway Path.
You can virtually explore some of the route around Powderham by clicking on the google street view link below.
Exe Estuary Trail Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Exe Estuary Trail Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Exe Estuary Trail OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Exe Estuary Trail Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
The pretty village of Lympstone is a nice place to stop for refreshments on the route. The Swan Inn has a good menu and a beer garden to sit out in during the summer months. You can find it on The Strand at postcode EX8 5ET.
Susannah's Tea Room is another great option and also located on The Strand in Lympstone. You can enjoy a lovely Devon cream tea in the outdoor seating area.
In Topsham you can enjoy refreshments at the quayside Lighter Inn. There's a nice outdoor seating area where you can soak up the atmosphere of the quay and enjoy views over the estuary.