Exe Estuary Trail, Exmouth, Devon
The Exe Estuary Trail covers 22.5 miles around the beautiful Exe Estuary in Devon. Starting at Exmouth and finishing at Dawlish Warren, the route forms part of the South Coast National Cycle Network and is almost completely traffic free; because it’s mostly level and easy going, it’s a brilliant choice for a family bike ride, covering as little or as much of it as you like. You can walk it of course - you’ll just need to remember to listen out for bikes.
The trail hugs the coast for most of its length so the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. There are several nature reserves where the mudflats and marshes are a haven for overwintering birds and resident wildfowl, so if that’s your thing, make sure you take your binoculars. Slip a picnic in your rucksack by all means, but there are plenty of stopping places along the Exe Estuary Trail, with cafes and pubs where you can stop for sustenance.
You’ll pass through peaceful coastal villages like Starcross and Lympstone and the quaint little town of Topsham; all are good for a pause, to stop and have a wander and a bite to eat. Perhaps one of the best places is The Turf, between the old Exeter Ship Canal and the estuary of the River Exe; its unique location makes it one of the few pubs in the country that you can’t get to by car. You could make a detour to see Powderham Castle enroute, and at either end of the trial in Exmouth or Dawlish there are sandy beaches where you can have a splash in the sea if you feel the need to cool down after your bike ride.
If there’s not too many of you, it’s worth remembering that there are ferries across the estuary, which can make your journey shorter and perhaps enable you to plan your day out easily. If there’s a big group of you, it might be problematic getting your bikes onboard so best to check before you set off.
All information correct at the time of writing