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Exeter Canoe Loops

The Canoe Loops are a series of self-guided circular canoeing/ kayaking trails that link the River Exe and Exeter Ship Canal between Exeter Quayside and the Exe Estuary. There are four loops which can be paddled from different access points and in different combinations. Head down the river and back up the canal and join up loops for longer trips. It takes most people 2-3 hours to paddle each loop and the complete circuit from Exeter Quay to Turf Locks and back is 17km, which can take a full day. To cross between the river and canal and avoid weirs and lock gates, it is necessary to carry craft overland (or pull on trolley).

Kayaks Exeter Kayak Guide

(look out for way marker posts with a canoe symbol). Read the 'Plan a Safe Trip' and 'Code of Conduct' sections of this leaflet before canoeing the loops.

See map for routes and locations of numbered access points - Click each loop trail for more information.

>   Loop 1
Exeter Quay to Salomon Pool
>   Loop 2
Salmon Pool to Countess Wear
>   Loop 3
Countess Wear to Topsham
>   Loop 4
Topsham to Turf Lock

 

What to see

The routes pass many scenic areas and sites of interest. These include the historic Exeter Quayside and Ship Canal, Riverside Valley Park, Topsham Quay, two nature reserves and the Exe Estuary.

A the Esturay you may see Kingfishers, egrets, sandpipers, cormorants, avocets (ospreys, seals and otters are occasionally seen).

There are several pubs along the route where you can stop for refreshment.

     
Code of Conduct

1 Park vehicles in car parks highlighted.

2 Avoid contact with riverbed, aquatic plants and
bank-sides, particularly in the shallows.

3 Wildlife should be given a wide berth and passed
quietly. Avoid disturbing wading birds roosting at the waters edge and breeding birds. Keep to the main river channel – avoid entering the reedbed nature reserve.

4 Only use recognised public access points and landing places. Do not trespass on private facilities or moor canoes where they may obstruct boats.

5 Keep well away from anglers - pass quietly by the
opposite bank avoiding their lines and tackle.

6 Avoid lingering in river pools or below fish passes on weirs (where migratory fish rest).

7 Give way to and do not cross in front of oncoming craft (boats and rowers may have difficulty seeing you).
  Plan a safe trip

Canoeing can be hazardous and is undertaken at your own
risk. You must make your own assessment of dangers based on
your knowledge, skills, abilities, experience and the conditions.

Water at the base of weirs can be dangerous, particularly
in high flows. Hidden obstacles may be present under the
surface. Portage points enable canoeists to safely avoid weirs.
Ensure you are physically able to carry/pull your canoe over
the portage distances and can use the access points (some
are not suitable for larger craft).

Downstream of St James's Weir, low tides can make the river
too shallow to canoe and some access points unusable. It's
safer to restrict tidal trips to fair conditions and 2 hours either
side of high tide. During lower tides, follow the main buoyed
river channel in the estuary. Increased hazards on the estuary
can include wind, waves, currents, boats and their wakes.

Check conditions beforehand via weather reports, river levels
and tide tables. Membership of canoe clubs, personal liability
insurance and appropriate protective gear are advised (e.g.
buoyancy aid, helmet). For more information contact a canoe
club, shop or association (see contacts on back).



Exeter Kayaking

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