Welcome to Exeter Canoe Loops

Topsham Quay Webcam

The routes pass many scenic areas and sites of interest. These include the historic Exeter Quayside and Ship Canal, Riverside Valley Park, Topsham Quay, two nature reserves and the Exe Estuary. The estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area, due to itís international importance for wildlife. You may see kingfishers, egrets, sandpipers, cormorants, avocets (ospreys, seals and otters are occasionally seen). There are several pubs along the route where you can stop for refreshment. In the middle ages, Exeter was an important centre for the wool trade. Sailing ships came up the River Exe to load/unload goods at the Quay.

During the 13th century, disputes with the rival port of Topsham led to a weir being built to divert trade to Topsham. Exeter Ship Canal was consequently built in 1566 to enable ships to reach Exeter once more. Large sailing ships and barges were towed along the towpaths using horses. In 1827 the canal was extended to Turf. Many original features are still visible today but current use is mostly for recreation and conservation.

To cross between the river and canal and avoid weirs and lock gates, it is necessary to carry craft overland (or pull on trolley).

What are the Canoe Loops

Exeter Canoe Loops is a partnership project between The Environment Agency, Exeter City Council and Castle CCTV.