Having arrived on the Starcross Ferry, Exmouth is a welcoming overnight rest stop.
This location holds the honour of being the oldest seaside town in Devon and sits proudly at the western entrance to The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, in a rather isolated spot at the end of the mighty Exe river estuary.
It has a feeling of openness and freedom to it, enhanced by two miles of sandy beach, as well as a feeling of something new having crossed the Exe Riveryou. Ahead you can see the huge cliffs and the coastal drama returning with a sense of Exmouth marking the end of the holiday coast from Torquay.
There has been a harbour here for centuries. Sir Walter Raleigh, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and the explorer are credited with bringing potatoes and tobacco back to our shores, sailed out of Exmouth many times, but human habitation was quite scarce due to the exposed position on the River Exe estuary.
Unfortunately, even as the town started to grow in the mid 17th century it suffered a setback when Turkish pirates raided the Devon coastline, attacking shipping and attempting to capture sailors and local villagers for sale as slaves in North Africa. However, within the next hundred years it had become established as an elegant resort by the Victorians (who really embraced seaside life) and from the 19th century, the railways brought tourism and prosperity and a true Victorian seaside destination was assured.
For the hungry, there’s a wealth of restaurants and cafes and local food providers are justly proud of the produce from the sea, river and the countryside surrounding the town. Accommodation in Exmouth tends to be either B&B's or mid-range hotels, but all sit within easy reach of the coast path and the beaches.
For those with a day off the trail, watersports are everywhere and easy to arrange, including kite surfing, kayaking, sailing and diving. If you prefer to keep dry then try one of the three hour boat trips to view the huge variety of birdlife, attracted by the mudflats and grazing marshes of the wide expanses of the river mouth.