GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Exe Estuary Trail

16 miles (26 km)

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 the 14th century 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 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.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

On the eastern side of Topsham you could pay a visit to the splendid Darts Farm. The popular attraction includes a Sculpture Trail, a maize maze, a Farm Walk, a Nature Trail, a Bird Hide and a variety of animals.


Exe Estuary Trail - - 1223659

The trail, following Powderham Footpath 3 along the flood protection wall at the side of the estuary, performs a double bend, echoed by the course of the drain below on the left.

Trees by the Exe Estuary Trail - - 1223749

Trailside trees forming a little grove in an embayment below the flood protection wall.

Steps by the Exe estuary - - 1223776

Steps leading down from the flood protection wall. The Exe Estuary Trail follows the wall; a popular destination for those using it is the Turf Hotel, visible in the distance.

Crossing Berry Brook - - 1223852

Crossing Berry Brook. Berry Brook flows between mud banks into the Exeter Canal just before it joins the Exe estuary. The brook is crossed by the Exe Estuary Trail. This is the tidal limit on the brook and the flow is controlled by sluice gates.

Cattle at Powderham - - 1418214

Cattle at Powderham. One of series of old drainage channels across a meadow. Part of the hamlet of Powderham is in the background. Seen from Powderham Footpath 3, which now carries the trail as well as the Exe Valley Way.

Road alongside marshland, Powderham - - 1224377

Road alongside marshland, Powderham. Photo shows a sculpture and information panel about the Exe Estuary Trail, which runs along road here. During very high tides the road becomes impassable, although a railway embankment immediately to the right separates it from the estuary. On the left is the Powderham estate deer park. Deer will often graze very close to the road, oblivious to cars and trains, but try getting out of the car without disturbing them!

Lympstone, Darling's Rock - - 67245

 Lympstone: Darling’s Rock. Darling’s Rock belongs to the National Trust and is on the Exe estuary. A stone pier runs out in front of the cliff

The Estuary, Topsham - - 382286

The Estuary, Topsham


GPS Files

GPX File

Exe Estuary Trail.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Exe Estuary Trail.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)