While the paths that run alongside the Exe are well known and used from the quay to to the sea, it is still possible to find quiet sections to enjoy all by yourself!
This walk begins on Glasshouse Lane in Countess Wear. Free parking is available in residential roads and around the shops and there are regular bus services along the main Topsham Road and to the estate. Head to towards the river with Topsham Road behind you and you will find the footpath gate on your left.
The path here is high above the river, and suitable for buggies, but if taking wheels then you can only walk a short way before having to take the left footpath at a fork to return to Topsham road and back to the start on level paths. The right fork takes you closer to the river’s edge, and there is a risk that high tide could cover the path and make it impassable, so always be aware of conditions and be prepared to turn back if necessary.
Follow the path through the reeds towards the motorway bridge you can see in the distance. Here you feel truly hidden and surrounded by water birds and wildlife.
As you emerge from the reeds, you will cross a small footbridge over a tributary stream and find yourself passing the back of Newcourt caravan park, where gardens reach the river.
The path takes you underneath the motorway and it’s surprisong to realise how little the drivers overhead know of the beauty below!
The path here becomes narrower in places, and there are several sets of steps to landing stages that have to be treversed (making this route unsuitable for pushchairs or those with limited mobility).
Th estuary opens up and there are wide reaching views of the Haldon hills and out to sea. Absolutely breath taking on a sunny, clear day!
As you get closer to Topsham the path moves slightly inland as the water meadows appear. You rejoin ‘dry land’ by the Topsham Rec, full of great play equipment.
From here you can either walk straight on into Topsham itself, to enjoy the waterside pubs of The Passage House and The Lighter Inn, or to join the Goat Walk and extend your walk. To head back to your starting place you can walk directly uphill on Ashford Road and then left onto Topsham Road to make your way back to Countess Wear. This loop would be about 5km.