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River Exe stroll for all the family
View from the river to the cathedral
Looking across the River Exe to Exeter - with the Cathedral on the right
This riverside walk is near Exeter city centre, but it feels as though you're out in the countryside. It's level and accessible for walkers of all ages and wheelchair users.
By: Laura Joint
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Devon's Rivers

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River Otter Walk

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Riverside Valley Park

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The Riverside Valley Park is seven miles long, and is a link between Exmoor in the north, to the Exe Estuary and the sea in the south.

In the middle of the park is the section of the Exe which passes through Exeter. Here, there are cicular walks which take you across the river and back again.

I did this walk with a group of colleagues from work, as part of the 2004 Walk for Life event in aid of cancer charities.

Breast Cancer Walk
There we are, at the start of the walk with the flood plain to our left
It was a three mile walk (or run, for the more energetic ones among us), starting at the Piazza on Exeter Quay, on the west side of the river.

It was a busy day down on the Quay, because as well as the hundreds of charity runners/walkers, there was also a gig racing event going on as well.

We headed off down to Kings Arms Gate, which is at the end of the 500-year-old Exeter Ship Canal, and joined the path and cycleway which runs alongside the River Exe flood relief channel.

This whole area is a wildlife haven, where you can find birds such as kingfishers and herons. And on the river, there are families of swans.

Swan on the River Exe
A swan, looking all serene on the Exe
The meadows to the right of the path are home to butterflies, swallows and other wildlife.

We crossed the River Exe via Duck's Marsh Bridge, and stuck to the pathway to do a U-turn, walking back along the other side of the river.

We passed through Belle Isle Park, and then crossed the river again, using the Trews Weir Suspension Bridge (which felt a bit wobbly!).

Here, you get a good view of Trews Weir - a good place to take photos.

As part of our route, we then crossed the flood relief channel and re-traced our steps on the path on the western bank before crossing the playing field to the right.

View from Trews Weir Suspension Bridge
The view from Trews Weir Suspension Bridge
This took us to the path alongside the Exeter Ship Canal, and we made our way back to our starting point.

You can end the walk with a drink and a bite to eat at one of the many riverside pubs and cafes here.

The walk takes about an hour, and it's flat and accessible.

Alternatively...

if you fancy a longer walk, you can head off down the Exe from the Quay and then, instead of crossing the river, you can walk across the fields on your right and join up with the ship canal.

From here, you can walk all the way down to Turf Locks or even Powderham, and then back again - stopping off at one of the canalside pubs on the way.

For more information on this area, take a look at Exeter City Council's Riverside Valley Park web pages, linked from the left of this page.

Article first published: 21st July 2004


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