Exe Estuary RSPB
Devon EX3 OQH
Approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of the historic City of Exeter is the Exe Estuary RSPB nature reserve. Consisting of grazing marsh on both sides of the river, the Reserve incorporates Exminster Marshes and Bowling Green Marsh.
The Exe Estuary is home to lapwings, redshanks, avocets, little egrets, brent geese, black-tailed godwits and wigeons. Bird-watching can be conducted from visiting the marsh itself or during the winter months, from special boat cruises run by Avocet Cruises Web: Avocet Cruises Website External Link
Winter is the best time to see thousands of waterbirds, avocets, brent geese and wigeons.
Spring is great for seeing black-tailed godwits in full breeding plumage. This is the only place in Devon where lapwings still breed. In late spring, watch out for the fluffy chicks foraging for their own food.
Summer and throughout the year the dainty little egrets can be seen fishing for food. In autumn juvenile black-tailed godwits can be seen.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: External Link
Reserve footpaths, hide and viewing platforms are open all year.
Free, but donations are always welcome.
Darts Farm Shopping Village near Topsham
Village has a RSPB Shop and Visitor Centre, restaurant and refreshments; toilets, disabled toilet, and large car park.
The RSPB Shop is open Mon – Sat 09:00 – 17: 30; Sun 10:30 – 16:30. It is closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day & Easter Sunday.
Exminster Marshes car park is on Station Road, immediately on the right past the railway bridge (note – there is no Exminster railway station!). There is also a public car park by the canal. Refreshments are available in the Village. The Turf Hotel
, south of Exminster Marshes, opens seasonally.
Bowling Green Marsh has a public hide and a viewing platform (reached via a 109 yard/100 metre path and steps); toilets; disabled toilet, picnic area and guided walks. There is no parking at the reserve. Parking is available at Holman Way (pay & display) in Topsham
, a 10-15 minute walk away – follow the signs.
There is one nature trail on Powderham Marshes, approximately 1.2 km long leading to a viewing platform. The surface is rough grass, often damp and muddy, and not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
The public hide at Bowling Green Marsh is accessible along a paved road. The viewing platform is not accessible.
Exminster & Powderham Marshes are not accessible for wheelchairs. Much of the reserve can be viewed from the towpaths of the Exeter Ship Canal
or the Exe Estuary Trail Route 2 cycleway.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1392 824 614
- By Car
Darts Farm is off the A376 Exmouth road, just 5 minutes from Junction 30 (Exeter Services) of the M5. Powderham Marshes are east of Exminster Village, and are accessible off the A379 Dawlish road.
- By Local Rail
Bowling Green Marsh is only accessible from Topsham
railway station is 0.67 miles (1 km) away, with regular services between Exeter
Central and Exmouth stations. Exit station on lower side of level crossing and follow Holman Way to car park (Reserve signposted from there).
Note: Exminster Marshes are not accessible by rail.
- By Local Bus
Darts Farm: Bus Service 57 (Exeter
– Exmouth) stops at Darts Farm.
Exminster Marshes: Stagecoach bus 85/85A (Exeter
to Newton Abbot/Torquay
) stops 218 yards (200 metres) from Reserve next to mini roundabout on A379; walk towards railway, go over bridge and turn sharp right.
Bowling Green Marsh: Stagecoach bus 57 (Exeter to Exmouth) stops at Elm Grove Road, walk down this road and into Bowling Green Lane.
Exminster Marshes are accessible on foot via the Exeter canal bank paths from Exeter and by footpath from Powderham village, along the estuary seawall, via the Turf Hotel
, and the canal towpath.
- By Ferry
River ferries and a water taxi link Topsham
Village and Exminster Marshes. For further details, contact the Reserve.
Google Map - Exe Estuary RSPB