Dawlish to Dawlish Warren

About this route

Part of the South West Coast Path, this path runs between the pretty town of Dawlish and the National Nature Reserve of Dawlish Warren, renowned for its bird life and dunes.

Getting Around

Car parks in Dawlish or disabled parking in Dawlish Warren.

Toilets and refreshments at Dawlish or Dawlish Warren.
Concreted path along the sea wall. Care must be taken at high tide or in rough weather. Alternative route using mult-use trail and pavement a little inland. (NB: Repairs to the Sea Wall are ongoing during 2014 and access may be restricted.)
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Interesting information

Dawlish is a product of the Victorian era and the coming of the railway.  The railway, opened in 1848, was the brainchild of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  It ran between the land and the sea behind a specially constructed sea wall.  For the first two years it used the atmospheric system before being converted to conventional steam trains.  The Great Western Railway took it over in 1876.

During the storms of early 2014, this sea wall was famously breached and the railway left dangling over the resulting chasm. However, prompt repairs enabled the line to be re-opened within two months.

Dawlish Warren, as well as being a popular beach, is a National Nature Reserve.  It is an area of grassland, sand dunes and mudflats. It centres on a 1½ mile long sandspit and beach across the mouth of the Exe Estuary which is one of the most important places for wildfowl and wading birds in the whole of the South West.  Thousands of birds come to feed, on migration, or to spend the winter here.  The dunes and grassland have a host of special plants; over 600 different types of flowering plants have been recorded on the Warren. This varied Reserve has many different habitats including salt marsh, fresh water ponds, wet meadows and woodland.

Photo looking along the coast over the sea and red rocks to Parsons tunnel at Dawlish

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