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24 September 2014

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Exminster wildlife walk
The Exminster walk is superb for bird spotters.
BBC Radio Devon's Vic Morgan takes you on a gentle walk through one of Devon's most important wildlife sites.

The path from Exminster to Turf Lock has recently been restored by the RSPB.
Pippa Quelch's Saltram walk

Michael Chequer's Chagford walk

Walks Index

Exe Estuary

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The footpath starts just beyond the Swans Nest pub, which can be found east of Exminster village.

Turn right immediately over the railway bridge beyond the pub.

Exminster is around 5 miles/8 km south of Exeter.

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My favourite walk begins outside the Swan's Nest pub in Exminster, and takes in the recently restored RSPB footpath alongside the main Exeter to Plymouth railway line.

The Exe Estuary is a must for anyone interested in natural history and is recognised as being a wildlife habitat of international importance.

The landmark at the start of the walk is the old Exminster station, now converted to Toby's reclamation yard - a place where you can buy anything from a large church urn to a Romany caravan.

It's then on past the signal box which is a wooden construction and has four chimney stacks on top.

Exminster Marshes
The Exminster Marshes are a haven for birdlife.
The signpost says 1.8 km to the Turf pub, and that 1.8 km takes in views of the Exminster Marshes nature reserve.

The marshes are a haven for thousands of wintering and breeding birds.

In the Spring you can watch breeding lapwings and redshanks and in winter during floods and at high tide there are thousands of roosting and feeding curlews, lapwings and wigeons.

Recently the RSPB built two lagoons to encourage wildfowl to return to the area, and that’s been a massive success.

The walk continues until you reach the Turf Lock, where you'll find a pub which affords wonderful views across the Exe Estuary.

You can see to The Point at Exmouth, across to Lympstone and Topsham, and enjoy watching the birds as they feed at low tide.

And if you have time in hand, you can stop off for a jolly nice pint as well. There's an excellent garden where the children can play.

Exeter Canal
For an alternative route you can return along the canal towpath.
If you're up for a longer walk, carry on past the Turf Lock on the footpath alongside the estuary which takes you to Powderham village.

On the return leg of the walk you have two options. You can retrace your route back on the RSPB footpath or complete the circle by heading back along the towpath of the Exeter Canal.

A wonderful winter walk, and a pint of beer, now that’s a pretty good way to spend your day.

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