Exmouth is located on the east coast of Devon and is believed to be one Devon’s oldest coastal holiday resort towns renowned for its “outdoor pleasure” with over 2 miles of sandy beaches positioned at the head of the river Exe Estuary and gateway to the Jurassic Coast.
Orcombe Point at Low Tide, Exmouth, Devon - Gateway to the Jurassic Coast
The town of Exmouth is twinned with Dinan in France and Langerwehe in Germany and since 2001 is regarded as the westerly gateway to the Jurassic Coast. Exmouth is a short drive along the Exmouth Road (A376) from the City of Exeter and exit junction 30 off the M5.
This is an approximate twenty-minute drive that takes you through the villages of Topsham and Lympstone passing the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) and Michael Caines Lympstone Manor a historic Grade II listed Georgian manor house now a contemporary country house hotel and Michelin star restaurant.
Alternatively, Exmouth can be reached by GWR train from Exeter affectionately known as "rickety dickety"; walked or cycled by following the picturesque Exe Estuary Trail from Topsham; or taking the seasonally operating Starcross Ferry to Exmouth sailing between May 1st - October 31st each year – check their Facebook page for crossing times and fares.
Images of Exmouth Quay & Marina in January 2022
Exmouth is today a popular destination for families, dog walkers and water sports enthusiasts and in particular kite surfing due to the favourable winds and tidal conditions. Exmouth looks across the Exe Estuary to the beaches and distinctive groynes of Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve. In the distance Dawlish shines on a sunny day with the reflection of the new sea wall defence.
The Exe Estuary is regarded a “special protection area” and “Site of Special Scientific Interest” due to the importance of its wildlife including migrating and wading birds such as Black-tailed Godwits, Osprey, Little Egret and Avocet. Interestingly, it is estimated that 1% of the world’s population of Dark Bellied Brent Geese make the Exe Estuary their home during the winter months.
Exmouth’s 2 mile seafront esplanade starts at Exmouth Quay and follows passing Mamhead Slipway towards the beach. You can either walk along the sea wall or along the promenade along Blenny Bay towards the Exmouth NCI Coastwatch.
Along the was you can stop at the Sea Shore Ice Creamery or grab a hot drink at the Hangtime Café at Sideshore. Continuing along the promenade you will see "The Maer" a local inland nature reserve before coming across a suite of brightly rainbow coloured beach huts. Midway along the beach is the the newly renovated Exmouth Life Boat Station at Maer Rocks. At low tide you cant miss the emergence of the Pole Sand sandbar.
The actual start of the Jurassic Coast is at Orcombe Point managed by the National Trust. This can be reached after a short zig-zag climb up from the Bumble and Sea Café along the South West Coastal Path. This will lead you on to a path to Orcombe Point where you will see the landmark obelisk known as the “Geoneedle” created by sculptor and designer Michael Fairfax. The Geoneedle commemorates the inscribing of the Jurassic Coast as World Heritage Site in 2001. The Geoneedle was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2002. The pointed stone needle sculpture represents 180 million years of geology with Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations found along this 95 miles of World Heritage coastline.
As you approach the Geoneedle there is a ‘Jurassic coast hopscotch' indicating the different types of geology dating time from Triassic (Red Sandstone) to Cretaceous (Limestone). Both of which inspired our Fossil Coast Drinks.
On and below Orcombe Point and Sandy Bay
At Low tide you can also head along the beach and around Orcombe Point onto Sandy Bay looking ahead to Straight Point. The red sandstone indicates they were formed in a desert environment and form part of the "Aylesbeare Mudstone Group" dating from the Triassic period 250 million years ago.