The Exe Estuary is a vibrant place, it’s sheltered shores provide home to an array of wildlife, and a wide range of recreational activities. The Exe is a beautiful area to explore, but please remember to give consideration to wildlife.
This guidance is aimed at all shore-based visitors to the Exe, including walkers , dog walkers, birdwatchers, anglers, cyclists.
Prevent litter: Bin in or take it home
Be bird aware
As you enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds of nature whilst you explore the Exe, remember to give space to birds and avoid disturbing them. Disturbance is any activity or noise that could change the behaviour of an animal (such as feeding, resting and breeding). When birds are disturbed they stop feeding, or worse still fly away. Losing energy can affect their overall condition and survival rate.
As an easy guide: if birds become alert, move away!
Don’t put yourself or others at risk, be aware of the dangers from rising tides, soft mud, cliff edges and strong currents.
Avoid waste, only take bait for planned trips, return unwanted fish and don’t discard tackle.
Observe local regulations, such as minimum landing sizes and Bass Nursery Area – see the Devon and Severn IFCA website for more details.
Observe estuary byelaws and warning signs
Always follow instructions provided on warnings and information signs around the estuary. Never swim in the Navigation Channel or in the area marked by red flags.
Be considerate to other estuary users
Keep access points and slipways clear at all times and do not park on the foreshore.
Remember to ‘Share this Space’ by being considerate of other users of the Exe Estuary Trail and keep dogs under effective control on a short lead.
Fly safely – drones, model aircraft, kites, gliders
- Keep your aircraft at a distance from wildlife to avoid disturbance
- No drones at Dawlish Warren at any time
- Drone users should follow the Civil Aviation Authority ‘Dronecode’
In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Watch out for wildlife
The whole of the Exe Estuary is a nationally and internationally important site for wildlife, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). During winter tens of thousands of birds depend on the Exe to rest and feed on their long migratory journeys from areas as far away as Siberia.
To avoid disturbing birds and help care for this special place please:
- avoid voluntary Wildlife Refuges where safe to do so
- keep noise to a minimum
- use dedicated access points and keep to paths
- please do not allow dogs to chase birds or wildlife and bag and bin your dog’s poo.
Contact details for further information
Exe Estuary Management Partnership
Exe Estuary Officer: Phone 01392 382236
Coastguard: call 999 or VHF Channel 16
Harbour Authority (River and Canal Office)
Office hours: Phone 01392 265791
Out of hours emergency: Phone 0845 351 1060
Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (D&S IFCA): Phone 01803 845648 or 07740 175476
Dawlish Warren Visitors Centre: Phone 01626 863980
Exmouth Local Nature Reserve: Phone 01395 516551
Natural England – Devon office: Phone 0300 060 3900
Injured marine mammals (BDMLR): Phone 01825 765546
SEDHRP Mitigation Officers: Email firstname.lastname@example.org