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1. Overview

The Exeter Ship Canal first opened to shipping in 1566 and was the first canal to be built in Britain since Roman times. It was also the first canal in England to use the pound lock.

Starting from the Canal Basin at Exeter's historic quayside, follow the Exe Estuary Trail alongside the canal on foot or by bike for approximately 1.5 miles to reach the Double Locks, a waterside pub with a large beer garden, serving good food and real ales.

The Exe Estuary is particularly important for birds in winter, when the mild climate and suitable feeding areas attract tens of thousands of wetland birds - some of them from the UK but many travelling from Northern and Eastern Europe. Up to 20,000 wading birds and ducks, geese and swans can be present mid-winter, making the area important on an international scale.

Harbour rules and legislation documents can be found here.

See our fees and charges page for the services we provide canal users and the associated costs.

Port of Exeter information can be found here.