Keep healthy in Exeter by using walking and cycling. Get buses to find new walks when it is safe to do so. Exeter is full of relaxing or energetic walks.
- Stroll by the River Exe and the Exeter Ship Canal
- Train for a marathon by walking or running the Exeter Cosy Routes
- Visit the green lungs of Exeter by walking Exeter's Green Circle
- Look for wildlife on the River Exe Wild Walk
- Go farther by cycling the Exe Estuary Trail or walking the Exe Valley Way and the Devonshire Heartland Way
Use this site to plan your walks, look at the Covid19 data on the Devon Dashboard, listen to the science and exercise your personal responsibility as well as our body and mind.
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City Bus Routes
Regional Bus Routes
Distance: 9.6 km or 6 miles one-way. Option of return via bus (No. 1 Service), or retrace route (for a total of 12 miles).
Time: Approximately 2.5 - 3 hours in one direction.
Summary: From Exeter (Pennsylvania and University Campus) to Killerton. Much to see including: nature, wildlife, history and archaeology. Fine views over Exe, Culm and Clyst Valleys. Walks ends at historic Killerton House and Park (National Trust) where refreshments are available.
A very varied route. Some on surfaced paths and tracks. Some on unsurfaced footpaths. Some sections on quiet country roads. One short section on busier minor road. Several moderate hills. A few sections can be muddy following wet weather, so stout footwear advised. Some gates, no stiles. Not suitable for Buggies/wheelchairs.
Visit Mid Devon The Devonshire Heartland Way is an inland route for walkers, which is approximately 45 miles in length. It mainly uses ancient footpaths and bridleways and, in some places, minor country roads. This walk can be made shorter and joined at any point along route. For the benefit of readability, we have broken the route down into three sections: Okehampton to North Tawton, North Tawton to Crediton, and Crediton to Stoke Canon. Waymarkers displaying the Spindle Berry Flower are found along the route.
Walkers can make the most of connections to the Tarka Trail long distance footpath at North Tawton, the Two Moors Way long distance footpath at Colebrooke, or the Tarka Railway Line at Yeoford, Newton St Cyres or Crediton.
Accommodation, attractions and eateries can be found at points all along the route including the simple and quite unique church of St Mary’s at Honeychurch, The Waie Inn, Down St Mary Vineyard, Shobrooke Park, The Duck at Yeoford and Crediton Parish Church as well as the many shops and eateries in the market towns of North Tawton and Crediton.
This walk includes Devon Wildlife Trust's headquarters at Cricklepit Mill with its riverside garden. a walk through the outskirts of Exeter from the lively Quay area along the canal to the quiet of the Old Sludge Beds nature reserve.
The route offers tranquil stop-off points in the heart of the city, good views of the river as it winds its way to the sea and some great opportunities to spot the many wild birds and wetland creatures that make the River Exe their home.
Eight circular routes around the city, making one full 26.2 mile marathon distance.
The Exeter COSY Route project is a community wellbeing and dementia awareness initiative created for Exeter Dementia Action Alliance to signpost people of all abilities to routes on the edge of the city where they can walk and run. Whether you take on this challenge over months, weeks, days or in one strenuous go, you’ll see the city as never before, and complete a marathon in doing so.
This newly constructed cycle trail offers an almost entirely traffic-free, wonderfully level route which forms part of the South Coast NCN No.2.
The trail takes you right around the Exe Estuary from Dawlish to Exmouth, passing through the pretty villages of Starcross, Topsham and Lympstone to name a few. The estuary is of international importance for wintering waders and wildfowl, supporting 1000’s of birds. RSPB reserves near Topsham and Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve offer some of the best opportunities to view wildlife along the estuary.
The Exeter Green Circle is a twelve mile walk that provides a great walking experience within the boundaries of Exeter - from green countryside valley parks to the pavements of quiet leafy suburbs. The walk is made up of five sections:
- the Alphin Brook Walk (3 miles),
- the Ludwell Valley Walk (3 miles),
- the Mincinglake Walk (2 miles),
- the Hoopern Valley Walk (2 miles),
- the Redhills Walk (2.5 miles)
The historic Exeter Ship Canal first opened to shipping in 1566 and was the first canal to be built in Britain since Roman times. The Canal runs through an area of outstanding and protected natural beauty and is a fantastic site to tie-up for a few days. The canal basin and quay are an historic gateway to the city and provides ample parking with easy access to sports, recreation and shops. This area is a mix of old and new building and provides moorings for a wide range of vessels. A walk or cycle along the tow path brings you to the Double Locks pub, or the Turf Hotel at the furthest reach of the canal.
Discover Exeter's historic canal with three different walks:
- Canal Basin to Double Locks Pub (1½ Miles),
- Double Locks Pub to Topsham Lock Keepers Cottage (2¼ Miles),
- Lock Keepers Cottage to Turf Hotel (1½)
This route from the Exe Estuary to the steeply wooded valleys on Exmoor follows, for the most part, quiet country lanes and footpaths along the Exe valley through Bickleigh, Tiverton and Bampton, Exebridge, Dulverton, Hawkridge and Withypool, then leaving the Exe Valley to reach Exford to which the Exe flows from its source at Exe Head. Mostly valley scenery, ranging from the broad estuary through pastoral landscapes and narrower, heavily-wooded valleys to open moorland landscapes.
An additional described section links Withypool to the source of the Exe to make a 'source to sea' route using the Two Moors Way (TMW), north, to Simonsbath, then following the TMW waymarkers for about another 3km/2miles high up on to the moor to Exe Head. Exe Head is the source of the River Exe, an area of marshy ground high up on Dure Down.
Throughout the pilgrimage route flow the interconnected themes of prayer, work and study. St Boniface would have been familiar with these as they formed the rhythms of his life as a Benedictine monk. Prayer is reflected in the churches visited en route and also by the inclination of the pilgrim as they undertake the pilgrimage. Along the route, the pilgrim will reflect on work especially as they journey past working farm land. Study is represented by the University chapel and in the heart of the pilgrim as they grow in their understanding of God.
St Boniface Way begins at the birthplace of its namesake in Crediton. From Crediton, your pilgrimage will take you across fields, along river banks and through farmland. You will visit chocolate-box villages and countryside that inspired Jane Austen, before leaving the rural behind and entering Exeter via the University. However, even in the city, St Boniface Way will provide green spaces and places of reflection. At the end of the journey lies Exeter Cathedral and the invitation to join a service of Evensong.
Route: Crediton - Exeter Distance: 12.5 - 14.5 miles / 20 - 23.5 km
At Co Bikes, we want to change the way you move and, together with Co Cars and Co Delivery help reduce congestion and pollution to make our towns and cities better places to live, work and thrive.
Our electric bikes make cycling a breeze – even uphill – so you don’t end up hot and sweaty, just refreshed and invigorated.
This means they are not only great fun but also ideal for commuting or for getting to meetings around the city. We are proud to be a not for profit social enterprise and that we are powered by Good Energy.
Find our Co Bikes across Exeter and now also in Falmouth
Saddles & Paddles is a unique independent business offering a great day out for those that love a little adventure and the great outdoors. Hire a bike to pedal from the city to the seaside, or hire a boat and paddle to the pub! We offer easy, relaxing, outdoor fun for all ages. Choose from bikes, canoes, kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboards to explore the area. http://www.sadpad.com/
Named after the wonderful cycle route (NCR2) and the Exe Estuary Trail, Route 2 Bike shop has expanded and moved into new premises next to Route 2 Cafe and Apartments in Topsham, Exeter. We are in the centre of this small estuary town, close to the Quay. We offer Cycle Hire, New Bike Sales, full servicing and of course a shop to buy all your bike "stuff"! https://www.route2bikes.co.uk/
Our commitment to Devon is strong, with roots deep in the countryside. It’s what drives us to make sure that everything is done properly – the way that it has been done for generations. Our bikes are handmade British classics. If you see yourself on a heritage model such as a Pashley or a Dawes tandem, you’ve come to the right place. https://www.dartsfarm.co.uk/whats-on/bike-hire
Devon Wildlife Trust
Established over fifty years ago by a small group of volunteers, Devon Wildlife Trust is the only charity that exists to protect all wildlife in Devon and to safeguard Devon’s unique natural environment. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/
At more than 800 years of age, Cricklepit Mill is Exeter's last working watermill. Surrounded by a unique urban wildlife garden, Cricklepit Mill also serves as Devon Wildlife Trust's headquarters.
Cricklepit Mill offers you a place to escape from it all in the very heart of the busy city of Exeter.
Paths and boardwalks allow you to get among the reed beds and ponds of this wetland reserve. We probably could have come up with a better name for this often over-looked nature reserve! But the 'Old Sludge Beds' does at least hint at the history behind the place. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/old-sludge-beds
Great views across reedbeds and the spectacular Exe Estuary. One of the largest tidal reedbeds in Devon and one of the best for birds. Situated in the attractive upper reaches of the Exe Estuary, this site offers wonderful views across the Exe Valley and river. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/exe-reed-beds
This small but wildlife rich meadow provides commanding views across the city. At just one hectare, this small site is worth a visit to see some pristine meadow and a seldom seen view of the city. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/whitycombe-valley-park
Wonderful views of the Exe Valley beyond the city stretch from this peaceful corner. Enjoy grassland walks at Belvidere, or visit Duryard for a good picnic site overlooking the valley. Two sites to explore over 11 hectares near the University of Exeter, with some very long views and peaceful meadow walks in a local nature reserve. Did you know, Duryard was once a Royal Saxon deer park? (dur meaning deer and yard meaning hunting area) https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/duryard-and-belvidere-valley-park
Discover tranquillity with a gentle circular path through woodland, alongside a stream and an orchard. Climb Stoke Hill for wilder walks through wildflower meadows and tree-studded parkland, to enjoy the views across the city to the Exe Estuary. The park provides easy access for visitors by car. It is a wonderful location for manageable and pleasant stream side and wooded walks, meadows and parkland. Part of the Valley Park was created from a former waste tip, capped in the 1970s! It also caters for those who enjoy some hillier walks too, with long views towards the estuary. Did you know, Mincinglake comes from the old English words for ‘Nun’s lake’ a reference to the ‘Greater Polsloe Pond’, a lake created when the St. Katherines Priory nuns dammed the stream in the 12th century? https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/mincinglake-valley-park
A surprise awaits you in the Redhills part of Exeter. Barley Valley Park allows you to explore 11 hectares of pretty rolling hills and tranquil walks in the setting of a local nature reserve. This western ridge line of the city has splendid rural valleys and offers excellent views of the city. Barley Valley Park has a patchwork of woods and meadows for you to explore. A network of footpaths and bridleways lead to and from the Valley Park allowing you to extend your visit and explore the farmland fringes of Exeter. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/barley-valley-park
Stroll through buttercup-filled meadows alongside the winding River Exe with wonderful views across the city to its cathedral. Its 40 hectares sit between Clapperbrook Lane and Bridge Road. This is an easy Valley Park to visit: it is close to the city centre and just a short walk from the historic Quayside. It offers river views, excellent walking and cycling paths and flood plain meadows giving way to the wilder estuary. https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/nature-reserves/riverside-valley-park
Leave the city centre to explore the fields, cherry orchards and wooded lanes of Ludwell Valley Park. Follow trails along the Northbrook stream or climb to the top of Pynes Hill for stunning views over Exeter.
The park is a working farm on the edge of the busy city of Exeter. Many of the fields provide free access to people wishing to enjoy this tranquil setting.
Next to the farmland is Wonford Playing Fields where there is space to kick a ball around, jog with the dog, or take a leisurely stroll beside the Northbrook. The valley is a real wildlife haven. Harvest mice nest in the fields, whitethroats and blackcaps skulk in the hedgerows and orange-tip and painted lady butterflies feed on the wildflowers.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
The RSPB South West office in Exeter covers the counties of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire. https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/get-in-touch/rspb-offices/england/#South-West
The aim of the group is to promote an interest in birds and other wildlife in Exeter and the surrounding district, and to support the activities of the RSPB in giving nature a home. https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/groups/exeter
This small site, located halfway between Exeter and Exminster, is an excellent vantage point for watching wildfowl and waders. Cyclists, walkers and joggers regularly use the track which leads to it, sharing this quiet reserve with green and common sandpipers, mallards and mute swans. https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/matford-marshes/
Just five miles from Exeter city centre, Exminster and Powderham Marshes are great places to see birds all year-round. Enjoy a lovely walk here in this fascinating landscape, where flocks of geese, ducks and waders are numerous. Regular visitors include lapwings, redshanks, wigeons and warblers.
Find a range of tasty refreshments on sale in the car park from Hope Coffee Wednesday - Sunday, 9am - 5pm every week. From drinks to cakes, be sure to share what wildlife you see with Hope Coffee to add to their sightings board while you visit! You can also get refreshments from the Swan’s Nest Inn and the Turf Hotel (closed in some winter months).
You'll find Bowling Green and Goosemoor on the confluence of the River Exe and the River Clyst, close to the town of Topsham. It's an ideal spot to watch birds up close, including spring and autumn migrating birds, and winter flocks of waders, ducks and geese feeding and resting, from the comfort of the Lookout hide. https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/bowling-green-and-goosemoor/
Located on the outskirts of Exeter, Darts Farm is home to a large variety of wildlife. These include flocks of linnets, fieldfares and redwings during the winter, dragonflies, skylarks and kingfishers in summer. There's also a popular shop and tearoom here, part of a larger shopping complex.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RSPBExeEstuary/ (1k)
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RSPBExeEstuary (2.5k)
The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. https://rsis.ramsar.org/ris/542
The Exe Estuary is a site of international importance for wading birds, which feed on the estuary mudflats at low tide, and roost at high tide at the adjacent Dawlish Warren. Over 10,000 wildfowl and 20,000 waders winter on the estuary. Exminster Marshes, a series of fields drained by dykes and ditches, carry several plants rare in Devon including parsley, water dropwort, flowering rush and frogbit. Dragonflies are also found here, such as the ruddy darter and hairy dragonfly. The marshes are bounded by the Exeter Canal. Both are fringed by beds of common reed, providing important habitat for warblers. Burrowing invertebrates are found in the sandbanks and mudflats.
Forests care for us. Together we care for forests. For over 100 years, we have been growing, shaping and caring for over 1,500 of our nation’s forests for the benefit and enjoyment of all, for this generation and the next. With your help and support, we care for more land and trees than any other organisation in England. Shaping landscapes for people, wildlife and timber. We’ve built over 1,800 miles of walking, running and cycling trails, supplying England’s largest amount of sustainably-sourced timber, and conserving the homes of thousands of plants and animals. Forests are vital for the future of our planet. They improve the health and wellbeing of everyone and with careful planning and expert management, our forests will continue to thrive. They help to offset carbon emissions, restore eco-systems and provide people of all ages and abilities with fresh air and spaces to breathe. We are always thinking beyond today, planning and planting forests that will help create a sustainable future. https://www.forestryengland.uk/
Escape the hustle and bustle of Exeter city centre with a visit to Stoke Woods. Located to the north of Exeter, Stoke Woods is a great place to have a break from city life and get in touch with nature. Stretch your legs on our wild trails and visit some of the oldest and largest trees in Exeter. https://www.forestryengland.uk/stoke-woods
Huxham Brake is a quiet, mostly coniferous woodland with lots of wildlife, especially in the deciduous edges. Hilly and muddy, it can be challenging to find your way through, but it is lovely for a peaceful nature filled walk. https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/huxham-brake/
New public green space in East Devon, the Clyst Valley Regional Park is waiting for you to explore its heritage and nature, and breathe its fresh country air. The Clyst Valley is a vast green space to breathe, on the doorstep of a rapidly growing population east of Exeter. It follows the meandering River Clyst (meaning ’clear water‘) as it feeds into the Exe estuary. https://www.clystvalleypark.org.uk/
A few miles north of Exeter on the level land between the rivers Exe and Clyst, stands Poltimore House. The Poltimore gardens and woodlands cover about 30 acres, of which 13, including the land on which the House is built, now belong to Poltimore House Trust. The Trust was established in 2000 to preserve this historic building and its estate. https://poltimore.org/ https://www.branchescafe.co.uk/
An intensely Gothic mansion remodelled by William White in 1860-4; a transformation of a house of c.1800 which itself incorporated remains of the most important medieval country residence of the bishops of Exeter (acquired in1265 and used by them until 1546). The Pleasure Garden was, according to Mrs Price in 1805, in its ‘infant state’ but it did have an avenue of elms which formed an arch. White (1850) noted that the house is a commodious building , pleasantly situated on a commanding eminence, in a well wooded park, on the east bank of the small river Clyst. Stockdale described it as ’an elegant spacious Gothic structure chiefly composed of the materials of the ancient palace…… the approach is formed by a beautiful avenue of trees, which, with the surrounding plantations have been much improved. A new Gothic lodge has also been erected.’ When the property was sold in 1833 it had its own pheasantry and aviary, together with a commodious covered summer-house, melon and cucumber beds, fruit trees and an orchard, as well as a rookery of noble beeches, elms and oaks, mingled with limes and chestnuts. https://devongardenstrust.org.uk/gardens/bishops-court
How far can you travel on One Bus From Exeter? In about an hour you can get to Honiton, Sidmouth, Exmouth, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Moretenhampstead, Chagford, Okehampton, North Tawton, Chulmleigh, Witheridge, Tiverton, or Willand. You won't need to find a parking space - and you won't have to return to your car. You can walk along the East Devon Way, or the South West Coast Path, or the Exe Valley Way and return by another bus. Find the quiet places. Avoid the traffic congestion of last year. Step more lightly on the Earth.
Back in the early 2000s, I walked the Tarka Trail and the North Devon part of the South West Coast Path in sections. I would get a bus to a town or village on the Tarka Trail, walk 5 to 10 miles and then return on another bus. One Bus from Exeter is a return to that idea.
One Bus From Exeter was to going to start with step 4 out of national lockdown, however infection rates are still high. Use this site to plan your walks, look at the Covid19 data on the Devon Dashboard, listen to the science and exercise your personal responsibility.