Exeter Civic Society

Exeter Civic Society


I am keen to hear from anyone with an interest in, or enthusiasm for, Exeter’s waterways. Please join us and get involved with the group.
Peter Nickol, chair ([email protected], 01392 255512)

Friends of Exeter Ship Canal

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal have their AGM on Monday 10 June at 6.30, at Exeter Canoe Club.

To join the Friends, and learn more about what they do, go to their website, here.

For further information, please contact [email protected]

Exeter Ship Canal was opened in 1566, built to bypass weirs that had been erected on the River Exe and thus enable goods to reach the port of Exeter – originally in barges, later in ocean-going ships. Following successive enlargements and extensions it reached its present form in the 1830s, 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, as well as a recreational focal point for Exeter’s citizens and visitors.

Jean Hall

We were sorry to learn of the death of Jean Hall, aged 93. She was active and supportive in the RCQ Group’s earlier years, and devoted to the cause of canals in the region. She helped us to establish the connection with the Inland Waterways Association, which in turn helped to lead to the formation of the Friends of Exeter Ship Canal.

St James Weir

We remain most concerned about the state of St James Weir, and of the leat leading down towards the Paper Mill at Countess Weir village. The fall in the river level below Trews Weir is also causing problems. No one is yet accepting responsibility for the weir, or agreeing to repair it.

The River, Canal and Quayside sub-committee was established in January 2014 to preserve and enhance the character of the River, Canal and Quayside and examine and comment on matters affecting them.
We will investigate the future of these important areas of Exeter life and heritage and raise and comment on questions that concern them. A large geographical area is involved, covering the whole lengths of the river and canal through the city, and issues range from conservation and development to flood prevention and management of the canal.

Our report, A future for Exeter’s River, Canal and Quayside is available here. It summarises our thinking on many aspects of Exeter’s waterways, and calls for:

  • Joined-up thinking and planning, recognising the special qualities of the waterways and their surroundings.
  • More boats of different sorts on the river and canal, with better facilities.
  • Continuation of the historic link between the canal and the quay and basin, with quayside development used to secure funding for the canal.
  • Openness and public involvement in arrangements for ownership and management of the canal.
  • Care to avoid crass development around the Quay. Retention of open views of the canal basin, and establishment of continuous public access around it.

Last updated on 10.05.19