Exeter Ship Canal

Exeter Ship Canal

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PaddlePoints Waterways focuses on individual bodies of water across the UK. On this page you'll find a map, launches, routes, licensing information, paddle trail downloads, services, and more about one particular river or canal. For the full PaddlePoints with search bar follow this link.

PaddlePoints can be accessed without creating a free account, but registering will allow you to map your own public and private routes on this waterway. You will also be able to comment on others' points, upload images, and create Personal Information Markers to receive updates about new routes and points.

You can use the buttons above to access map information on other waterways. Simply toggle the waterway to display it. If you do, note that the content surrounding the map area will remain the same. Use the green file icon next to the toggle if you want to open another dedicated river or canal page with relevant licensing information.

Use the icon above to access the legend. All map points, rivers, and canals information will appear in this section here. Click or tap a point on the map to display the information. Actual routes will appear on the map.

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Canal Licensing Information

Licence Required?

No licence required

Further Information

Managed by Exeter City Council.

A canal ahead of its time, the Exeter Ship Canal was one of the first artificially built canals in the UK. It dates back to 1566 and links the River Exe at Turf Lock to the Exeter Quay.

It was built to bypass weirs that had been erected on the River Exe and so enable goods to reach the port of Exeter, This was originally in barges, or later in ocean-going ships.

Following successive enlargements and extensions it reached its present form in the 1830s. This was when the canal basin was also built.

As with canals elsewhere, its commercial viability was undermined when the railways arrived. The Friends of this historic canal are determined that it should continue as an active, functioning waterway. It is also a recreational focal point for Exeter’s citizens and visitors.

This pretty and quaint little canal is five miles long with 2 locks. It is a popular route for walkers, cyclists and paddlers alike.

Being so close to the sea and estuary, the canal is a brilliant way to observe a variety of wildlife, including wading and sea-fairing birds.

The Exeter Ship Canal features in quite a few of our Paddle Trails too, so if you’re stuck for inspiration on where to go on your trip, check out the Paddle Trails!