CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

A visitors guide to Topsham

PUBLISHED: 16:14 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:14 25 April 2016

Topsham is a great place to start a bicycle ride

Topsham is a great place to start a bicycle ride

Archant

A day would not be enough to make the most of a visit to Topsham - but here are seven ideas for enjoying the historic riverside town

Enjoy nature

Take your binoculars and walk or cycle down to the RSPB’s Bowling Green Marshes on the edge of Topsham, a wildlife wonderland. In the spring watch out for lapwing, colourful shelducks, swifts, swallows and sand martins. You might even see elusive garganeys as they start arriving for the breeding season, or even a resting spoonbill. The RSPB – which also has a shop at nearby Darts Farm – is also creating a wildlife garden at the Bowling Green birdwatching hide. Funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company will also provide electricity, lighting and heating in the hide, so it can be used all year.

Walk and learn

Discover more about Topsham’s rich history on a free 90 minute guided walk around the riverside town. Volunteers lead the fascinating walks every Wednesday and Saturday between May and September. You don’t need to book – just meet by the notice board at Holman Way car park at 2pm. Angus McNicol, one of the team of volunteer guides, says the tours are entertaining as well as informative, pointing out interesting features and revealing quirky facts about the town’s history which includes wool trading, ship building and rope making. At one point Topsham was one of Britain’s most prosperous ports. Learn about the town’s links to Admiral Lord Nelson and the 1685 Monmouth rebellion. And did you know there were around 47 pubs in Topsham in 1785? Bespoke tours can also be arranged. Search for Topsham Guided Tours on Facebook for more details and check out their Tripadvisor reviews.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, standing in shallow water, Geltsdale RSPB reserve, Cumbria, England, AprilLapwing Vanellus vanellus, standing in shallow water, Geltsdale RSPB reserve, Cumbria, England, April

Take a dip

Unlike most public swimming pools, the Topsham Pool wasn’t provided by the local council but was paid for by a determined group of local fundraisers in the 1970s. The result is an outdoor open-air 25 metre pool bang in the centre of the town, open to locals and visitors alike. The water is virtually chlorine-free and heated to 28 degrees. For early birds there’s even a ‘Nutters Club’ which runs from 6am and there’s adult swimming until 9pm on several evenings a week. Learn more at topshampool.com

See the river

The Sea Dream II sails from Trout’s Boatyard on Ferry Road and takes passengers across to Turf Locks on the other side of the river Exe. You can either take a half hour round trip and enjoy the estuary views and a chance to watch the local wildlife, or get out at Turf and explore the riverside and canal side walks. Cyclists exploring the Exe Estuary Trail can take their bikes across for an extra £1. The Turf Hotel is a popular pub. Alternatively take the Topsham Ferry directly across the river to Topsham Lock for a great riverside walk.

Topsham swimming poolTopsham swimming pool

Hunt for a bargain

There are 75 dealers selling vintage and antique items of all kinds on the three floors of the Quay Antiques Centre, an imposing waterfront building that is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. The building itself has an interesting past – it was built between the wars to store grain at a time when the government feared food riots and insurrection, but was never needed for that putpose. It later served for years as the Tuborg Lager warehouse – barrels would be unloaded from Dutch cargo ships and stored before being loaded onto a rail line that once ran outside the building. The antiques centre has been in business since 1993 and attracts dealers from London and abroad as well as bargain hunters. It has featured on several television shows including Bargain Hunt. Manager Beverley Cook, who has been at the centre for 20 years, says many shoppers appreciate the value of well-made items from the past. quayantiques.com

Pedal away

Get some great exercise and fantastic estuary views by hiring a bike from Route 2 Bikes, down by the quay. Liz Hodges originally started hiring bikes out a few years ago from the Route 2 café she was running. Now a fully trained cycle mechanic she’s developed the business into a cycle shop as well as cycle hire. And the café still operates next door. From her shop you can choose from a range of routes, mostly on traffic free paths. If you have a lot of energy to burn off why not ride down the estuary path to Exmouth, take the ferry over to Starcross, ride up the other side of the Exe to Exeter and then back down to Topsham. It’s pretty flat, family friendly and will make you feel great.There are electric bikes for hire too, if you think you’ll need a little extra help along the way. route2bikes.co.uk

The Bridge Inn, Topsham. Ref ext 11-16AW 1076. Picture: Alex WaltonThe Bridge Inn, Topsham. Ref ext 11-16AW 1076. Picture: Alex Walton

Enjoy a pint

How many pubs in Britain today have been kept by the same family for 119 years? Caroline Cheffers-Heard is the current licensee at Topsham’s Bridge Inn, where her great-grandfather became landlord in 1897, and her daughter who works in the pub is the fifth generation. The pink pub itself is much older and its listed interior has changed little over the past two centuries. Caroline describes herself as “the custodian of an ancient monument in constant need of repairs”.

In 1998 the pub enjoyed what’s thought to be the first ever official visit to a pub by the Queen – and in June the pub will mark the Queen’s 90th birthday with a celebration lunch. The beer is great – the list of ales changes frequently – and there’s a small lunch menu. But beware, talking on a mobile phone might incur a small penalty!

Like this? Check out 10 Beautiful Coastal Walks In Devon: And What To Look Out For Along The Way

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 10:32

October is the perfect time to discover the joys of Exmoor. Jennette Baxter of Visit Exmoor suggests five great ways to enjoy autumn on the moor

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wild camping can be one of the best ways to escape the crowds for a night or two and lose yourself in the landscape - SOPHIE PAVELLE chooses her five favourite places to ‘wild-life’ camp in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast, the Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk. We pick 10 of the prettiest routes to take

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take our quiz to find out how well you really know Devon

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, LIZZIE JANE of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try. Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The South West Coast Path is celebrating 40 years by calling on people to help raise £40,000. To show their support, teams from Devon’s top tourist attractions are preparing to take to the trail. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Away from the hustle of places like Woolacombe and Ilfracombe, North Devon is peppered with tiny coves, empty beaches and wooded walks leading to secluded bays that feel a million miles away from the tourist trail. BECKY DICKINSON reveals her pick of the best kept secrets on the North Devon coast

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

As part of her regular series where she visits Devon’s best places for 24 hours, Lydia Tewkesbury has this time been to Sidmouth

Read more
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ranging from rocky and windy walkways along the South West Coast Path to the sandy beaches on the picturesque coastline, the district of North Devon is one of the prettiest coastal areas in the South West of England. In no particular order, here are 10 of the prettiest villages in the district of North Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In Devon’s towns and cities there’s an awful lot you can do in just 24 hours. For her regular feature, Lydia Tewkesbury travels to see what you can do in a day in Kingsbridge

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Villages in Devon are some of the prettiest in the South West. From beautiful little hamlets on the outskirts of the moors to seaside communities, we pick 10 villages in Devon you need to visit

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Dust off your walking shoes and head to South Devon – here are 6 reasons why the area is so good for a stroll writes Victoria Rogers

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

There is something quite life-enriching about being by the water and in Devon there are plenty of ways to enjoy it, writes Fran McElhone. Including surfing, wild swimming, water skiing and more, here are 10 great ways to enjoy Devon’s water

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Encompassing large swathes of Dartmoor and plenty of the county’s most distinctive sections of coastline, it’s no wonder that the South Hams district is home to some of Devon’s prettiest places. We pick out 10 of the best towns and villages the area has to offer

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search