River, Canal and Quayside Group

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.

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 (pnickol@phonecoop.coop, 01392 255512)

Trews and St James Weirs

ECS has expressed its frustration at the expenditure of some £470,000 by the Environment Agency on extending the fish pass at Trews Weir. This became necessary following the semi-collapse of St James Weir, half a mile downstream. We have long been pointing out the deteriorating condition of St James Weir and calling for its repair. The City Council have at last expressed their wish to see the weir repaired, and the consequent restoration of the leat to Countess Wear, but need now to find a way of funding the repair, which won’t come cheap.


The Mallison footbridge, from the Quayside towards Cricklepit suspension bridge, has now been removed. The City Council hope eventually to replace it with an extended walkway, but unfortunately there is no funding for this at present.

RCQ meetings

Any member of the Society is welcome to attend RCQ meetings, whether online or at a physical meeting. Our meetings have of course been disrupted by Covid-19. No meeting is currently scheduled.

When meetings resume, if you are interested in attending, please contact Peter Nickol on 01392 255512 or by email at pnickol@phonecoop.coop

Friends of Exeter Ship Canal

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

For further information, please contact Mick Green, Secretary: michael.green@endorsehr.co.uk or phone 07791 870585

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.

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 27.12.21