The Exe Estuary Trail to Topsham
Continuing on from Exton you come to the River Clyst and have a choice of routes:-
Either fork left and proceed over the river on the bridge (opened November 2013) adjacent to the railway bridge and then follow the purpose-built path around the Bowling Green Marsh RSPB Reserve on the left and the Goosemoor RSPB Reserve on the right (these reserves offer amazing birdwatching opportunities). This path then ends and the trail continues on Bowling Green Road (turn right) and then on Elm Grove Road into Topsham (Bridge Hill joins from the right)...
Or fork right along the Odhams Link on the east bank of the River Clyst and then along the Ebford Link on a narrow lane through buildings next to the Dart Business Park to Darts Farm (the shopping complex is directly opposite across the C527 road, which can be safely accessed using a Pelican crossing). Turn left onto a raised and widened shared-use pavement path adjacent to the C527 road across the Topsham Flats; cross the River Clyst using the purpose-built wooden bridge next to Fishers Bridge. (The Bridge Inn, a classic pub is opposite.) Continue up Bridge Hill on the pavement until the road is joined from the left by Elm Grove Road...
The minor road/pavement path ends at this junction and you have to ride on the main road into Topsham - TAKE CARE! Turn left at the mini-roundabout into Station Road - beware the barriers and level crossing over the Avocet Line railway - and continue down the hill to another rmini-oundabout. Turn right into Topsham High Street, still continuing to ride on the road. The distance from Exton to Topsham is 1.5 to 2 miles depending on which of the above routes you take.
Topsham: Famed for its shipbuilding and maritime history, the attractive town of Topsham was once a port larger than Exeter. Now a suburb of Exeter, Topsham is still delightfully self-contained and has a fascinating mix of architecture, with many buildings dating back to the 17th century and some to the 14th century. St Margarets Church boasts a 15th century tower with fine views over the Exe Estuary and the Haldon Hills. The Strand, a residential riverside street, contains some beautiful examples of Dutch-style merchant houses. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Topsham offers river walks, birds and wildlife, many interesting shops, restaurants and inns. The Passage House Inn and The Lighter Inn both overlook the River Exe and historic seagoing vessels can often be seen moored to The Quay; working fishing boats weave between the many anchored sailing and pleasure craft. Although it has a rich heritage, Topsham continues to have a strong commercial life with traditional maritime trades, modern business and tourism working together. There is a museum and during the summer months, an open-air swimming pool.
There are lots of places to eat and drink in Topsham and it is advised to divert from the route to explore further this fascinating town before rejoining the Exe Estuary Trail towards Exeter or Starcross.
The Topsham Passage Ferry runs from the causeway next to The Passage House Inn to the Topsham Lock on the Exeter Ship Canal. It operates every day except Tuesdays from Easter to the end of September and on weekends and bank holidays only, at other times of the year.