Exeter Ship Canal

About this route

Exeter Ship Canal forms part of the Riverside Valley Park, managed by Exeter City Council.  Although the canal is over five miles in length, it is possible to walk various circuits using the numerous paths and cycleways in the area.

Getting Around

Parking is close to the Canal Basin in Exeter or the Double Locks.

Information Centre on Exeter Quay. Refreshments on Exeter Quay and at Double Locks and Turf Hotel.
The towpath is surfaced throughout and is flat and easy walking, suitable for all users. The route is also a cycle track so you will need to be on the lookout for enthusiastic cyclists.
Explore more, click to download pdf

OS Maps

Landranger (1:50,000): No. 192 Exeter and Sidmouth.

Explorer (1:25,000): No. 114 Exeter and the Exe Valley.

For More Information

Exeter Ship Canal Walks


Interesting information

The Exeter Ship Canal was first opened to shipping in 1566, although the present entry to the Canal at Turf Lock was not completed until 1827.  It was built to divert trade from Topsham which, at the time, was the second busiest port in the UK.

South of the Double Locks bird hides, look across the extensive pools and ditches – look out for herons, kingfishers, shelduck and thousands of dragonflies!

Exminster Marshes is an RSPB Reserve; it is a superb high tide roost in winter and a spring breeding area for waders and wildfowl.

Photo of the Exeter Ship Canal at Countess Wear
Exeter Ship Canal at Countess Wear Copyright Stephen Pointer, licenced for reuse -geograph.org.uk

You can explore more in this area

Photo of rowers on the Exeter Ship Canal with views of the city in the background

Exeter and Countess Wear

The Exeter suburb of Countess Wear is linked to the city by both the River Exe and the Exeter Canal.
Photo looking down at the river, canal and buildings at Exeter Quay

An Exeter Green Semi-Circle

An Exeter attraction that should perhaps be better known is the Exeter Green Circle. This is a twelve-mile walk around
Photo of Turf Hotel at Turf Lock, Exeter

City to Coast

The Exe Valley Way is a long-distance route for walkers exploring some 45 miles of the valley. At its lower