River Exe

River Exe

Geobox River
name = River Exe
native_name =
other_name =
other_name1 =

image_size =
image_caption = The Exe Estuary from a balloon over Exeter. The M5 motorway is in the foreground, Topsham on the left bank just beyond, and Exmouth at the river mouth.
country = England
state = Devon
state1 = Somerset
state_type = Counties
city = Exeter
length =
watershed =
discharge_location =
discharge_average =
discharge_max =
discharge_min =
discharge1_location =
discharge1_average =
source_name = Exe Head
source_location = near Simonsbath
source_district =
source_region = Somerset
source_state =
source_country = England
source_lat_d = 51
source_lat_m = 09
source_lat_s = 33
source_lat_NS = N
source_long_d = 3
source_long_m = 47
source_long_s = 12
source_long_EW = W
source_elevation = 440
source_length =
mouth_name = Lyme Bay
mouth_location = English Channel
mouth_district =
mouth_region =
mouth_state =
mouth_country =
mouth_lat_d = 50
mouth_lat_m = 36
mouth_lat_s = 53
mouth_lat_NS = N
mouth_long_d = 3
mouth_long_m = 25
mouth_long_s = 30
mouth_long_EW = W
mouth_elevation = 0
tributary_left = River Haddeo
tributary_left1 = River Barle
tributary_left2 = River Creedy
tributary_right = River Hadden
tributary_right1 = River Culm
tributary_right2 = Clyst
free_name =
free_value =

map_size =
map_caption =

The River Exe in England rises near the village of Simonsbath, on Exmoor in Somerset, near the Bristol Channel coast, but flows more or less directly due south, so that most of its length lies in Devon. It reaches the sea at a substantial ria on the south (English Channel) coast of Devon. Historically, its lowest bridging point was at Exeter, though there is now a viaduct for the M5 motorway about 3 km south of the city centre.


The river's name is obviously related to that of Exeter, and in addition many villages along the course of the river take their names from it, including Exford, Up Exe, Nether Exe, Exwick, Exton, Exminster, and Exebridge, where it is joined by the River Barle. The seaside town of Exmouth is at the east side of the estuary mouth, and Dawlish Warren is at the west, with its long sand spit extending across the mouth.

The river fuelled Exeter's growth and relative importance in medieval times and the city's first industrial area was developed at Exe Island, created by a series of leats to the west of the city. The island was home to numerous watermills producing paper and textiles; it also created valuable land through drainage of the marshlands. [cite web
title=Exeter Memories - the Leats of Exeter

Tides on the river are limited at Countess Wear, the site of a weir commissioned by the Countess of Devon in the 13th century.cite web
title=Exeter Memories - Countess Wear
] The Exeter Canal bypasses this weir to enable ships to reach Exeter Quay. At high tide, the estuary forms a large body of water that is heavily used for water sports especially sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.

Railways run along both sides of the estuary. The Avocet Line from Exeter to Exmouth on the eastern side, and the South Devon main line on the western. The latter is on a causeway, the South Devon Railway sea wall from Powderham to Dawlish Warren. The Exmouth to Starcross Ferry carries passengers across the mouth of the estuary during the summer months, linking the harbour at Exmouth with a pier adjacent to Starcross railway station on the South Devon main line.


At low tide, extensive mud flats are exposed, and these are an important feeding source for wading birds. Along with other rias in South West England, the Exe estuary is an important site for wintering waders. Dawlish Warren is a favoured site for birdwatching. The river is acidic and populated with wild brown trout and some grayling, the average size being 8-10 oz. Unlike many West Country rivers there are no seatrout, but there is a run of atlantic salmon. Just 150 metres below the union of the River Barle is one of the best, and highest salmon pools on the river: Black Pool.

2008 cleansing operation

In 2008 the Environment Agency embarked on a project to clean the river from vegetation forming. In order to do so the water level decreased to its lowest level - less water remained than the droughts the city has suffered. [cite web
title=River Exe runs dry to make way for Flood Defence Work

External links

* [http://www.exetercd.freeservers.com/ExeEstuary.html Photographs from the Exe Estuary, Topsham & Powderham]
* [http://www.dawlishwarren.co.uk/ Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve]

ee also

*Rivers of the United Kingdom


* Lawrence, Rod: "The Exe: A River for Wildlife" Bradford-on-Avon 1999

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Exe Island — was the early industrial area of Exeter, England, and was an area of marshland between the city walls and the river Exe, reclaimed by the construction of a series of leats, or water courses, possibly from as early as the 10th century. Of these,… …   Wikipedia

  • River Culm — Old stone bridge with pedestrian refuges over River Culm at Culmstock The River Culm flows through Devon, England. It rises in the Blackdown Hills at a spring see OS map near Culmhead and flows west through Hemyock …   Wikipedia

  • Exe Estuary — The Exe Estuary is an estuary on the south coast of Devon, England.The estuary starts just to the south (gbmapping|SX9589) of the city of Exeter, and extends south for approximately eight miles to meet the English Channel (gbmappingsmall|SX9980) …   Wikipedia

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  • Exe, River — ▪ river, England, United Kingdom       river in southwest England, rising from its source on Exmoor in Somerset, only 5 mi (8 km) from the Bristol Channel, and flowing southward 60 mi across Devon to its estuary beginning at Exeter and into the… …   Universalium

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  • River Clyst — The River Clyst is a river of England. The river runs through the county of Devon.Rising near the village of Clyst William near Cullompton, the river runs west and southwest, flowing through the settlements of Norman s Green, Plymtree, Clyst… …   Wikipedia

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