Exmouth: Wikis


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|static_image = Exmouth seafront |static_image_caption = Exmouth seafront |country = England |official_name = Exmouth |latitude = 50.619744 |longitude = -3.413406 |population = 32,972 |population_ref = (2001) |civil_parish= Exmouth |shire_district = East Devon |shire_county = Devon |region = South West England |constituency_westminster = East Devon |post_town = EXMOUTH |postcode_district = EX8 |postcode_area = EX |dial_code = 01395 |os_hjhhkjheference = SY004809 }}

Exmouth (pronounced /ˈɛksməθ/) is a port town, civil parish and seaside resort in East Devon, England, sited on the east bank of the mouth of the River Exe. It has a population of 32,972.[1]


Geography and administration

The town is defined by the sea and river frontages (each about a mile long), and stretching around 2.5 miles (4 km) inland, along a north-easterly axis. The docks lie at the western corner of this rectangle, where the river passes through a narrow passage into the sea, the mouth of the estuary being nearly closed by Dawlish Warren on the opposite shore of the river. Dawlish Warren is one of the few natural sand spits in the world and is home to rare wildlife and plants. The sea frontage forms a sandy 2-mile long beach; at its eastern end, the town is limited by the cliffs of the High Land of Orcombe, a National Trust-owned open space which rises to a peak at Orcombe Point.

Geologically, the low hill known as "The Beacon", in the centre of the present town, is formed of breccias that are an outcrop of a similar formation on the west side of the Exe estuary. The rising land on which the town has grown is formed of New Red Sandstone. This solid land is surrounded by mudflats and sandspits, some of which have been stabilised and now form part of the land on which the town is built, and some of which remain as tidal features in the estuary and off the coast. The outflow from the river flows eastwards, parallel to the beach for some distance, limited by sandbanks that are exposed at low tide. Buildings in this reclaimed land during high tide, often have to have pumps to pump the water out from the basements.

Administratively Exmouth lies within the East Devon district, along with neighbouring coastal towns east of the Exe. It has its own town council, presided over by a mayorelected from amongst the Councillors. There are 5 wards each electing 5 Town Councillors thus 25 Town Councillors in all. Councillors are entitled by law to claim basic allowance but all have decided not to claim and are volunteers for which they receive no remuneration. The Town Clerk is the Council's senior paid officer with 8 part time staff. The town supports Exmouth Town Management Partnership and employes a Town Manager and his assistant with the role of supporting the economy of the town working with businesses and promoting the town. The town is also home to several websites including the Town Council's official website, Exmouth Guide, Exmouth Online, Exmouth Webcam which has webcams of Exmouth, and Exmouth People.


Byzantine coins dating back to c. 498–518, with Anastasius I printed on them, were retrieved on the beach in 1970.[2] More recent human occupation of the Point can be traced back to the 11th century,[3] when it was known as Lydwicnaesse, "the point of the Bretons".[3]

The two parishes (Littleham and Withycombe Raleigh) that make up the town of Exmouth today can be traced to pre-Saxon times. Whilst the name of the River Exe is an ancient Celtic word for fish, the town has only "recently" become known as Exmouth.[3]

In 1240AD an area known as Pratteshuthe[4][3] ("Pratt’s landing place") was sold to the Mayor and citizens of Exeter.[3] This was the site of the estuary’s ferry dock and over time the name evolved first into Pratteshide,[3] then Mona Island, with the original site now marked by a seating area adjacent to the modern Magnolia Shopping Centre.[citation needed]

For some centuries, commercial trade through the port was limited in part by the shallow waters on the approach to the quay, but mainly by the power of Exeter, which owned the dock and controlled all estuary traffic.[3] The roads in and out of the area were also in a poor state, remaining rudimentary for many years, governed and only occasionally repaired by the parishes that they ran through.[3] A more permanent dock was not built until 1825[3] which replaced a series of apparently seasonal docks first noted on maps dating from 1576 as "The Docke".[3] The area adjacent to the docks was once home to a thriving community composed of some 125 chalets built directly on the shoreline. These have now been replaced by a residential marina complex known as Exmouth Quay.

Human habitation in the town was, in part, restricted by the harsh exposed position on the estuary – civilisation took a hold in a greater and more permanent way in the more comfortable outer lying rural areas. It was not until the 13th century that the town began to develop[3] Morin Uppehille owned the land, granting part of it to John the miller who in turn built a windmill, who thus earned his living on this exposed point, aided by the prevailing south-west winds. The windmill together with the ferry dock and a small scattering of nearby farm buildings began to develop into the early stages of what we now know as Exmouth.[3]

Born in 1544 Sir Walter Raleigh sailed on many of his voyages from Exmouth harbor.

An additional hazard was that as late as the mid 17th Century the area suffered from the ravages of what were then called Turkish pirates,[3] actually Algierian rovers, who would raid along the whole Devon and Cornwall coastlines, attack shipping and attempt to capture sailors and villagers for sale as slaves in North Africa.

The town only really began to establish itself during the 18th century. Regarded as the oldest holiday resort in Devon, visitors unable to visit Europe due to the revolutionary turmoil in France, were attracted by the views and medicinal salt waters which were then so fashionable.[3] Exmouth became renowned as a destination for the wealthy to recover health. Notable visitors in this time included Lady Byron, and her daughter (later known as Ada Lovelace),[3] and the long term residence of Lady Nelson, the estranged wife of Lord Nelson. Lady Nelson is buired in Littleham Churchyard.[3]

High class tourism remained steady for a number of years. This changed when the first railway line into Exmouth was built in 1861,[5] bringing with it mass tourism. It is from this "golden age" for Exmouth that the present form of the town can be traced.


The Strand gardens in the town centre, looking towards the war memorial
The seafront, looking west towards Dawlish Warren
The Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower on the seafront

Exmouth has a wide range of architecture, ranging from small cob cottages in parts of the town that were once villages and are now incorporated into it, such as Withycombe, to the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian town houses. The seafront has a traditional promenade.

The RNLI has a lifeboat station at Exmouth with a Mersey Class All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) named Margaret Jean and D Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) named Geogre Bearman. The station in which both of these boats are housed is new, and nearly completed at a cost of approximately £1.94 million, all of which was raised by voluntary contributions.

The majority of buildings in Exmouth were constructed during the Victorian era with the arrival of the railway. The area to the west of Exeter Road is land that was reclaimed by the railway, Exeter Road originally being part of the seafront. The houses in the colony were mainly constructed for the workers of the railway.

There have been three railway stations at Exmouth. The line first reached Exmouth from Exeter in 1861. In the first five days 10,000 people travelled on the line and property prices increased overnight. By the 1880s commuter traffic to Exeter was considerable. In 1903 a link to Budleigh Salterton was opened the line going eastward over a viaduct which went from Exeter Road to Park Road where it entered a cutting continuing onto Littleham Cross where there was also a station (now a private residence), and from there to Budleigh Salterton, there turning north to rejoin the main London and South Western Railway line. Exmouth Station was rebuilt in 1926. When the line to Budleigh was lifted the viaduct was left in place for many years, with its final destruction in the late 1980s. Housing marks its position now.

The route of the line continued behind Phear Park, which was once the grounds of a large house belonging to the Phear family, used during the Second World War to station U.S. soldiers. Shortly after the war the house was burnt down and left derelict; eventually it too was demolished, and its grounds were given to the town by the Phear family to become a park. The old railway line behind Phear Park was just left as a bare trackbed for many years. At its far end there was a short tunnel through to Littleham, which was filled in when the line was closed. The trackbed has now been tarmaced and now forms an off-road cycle way from Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton.

The 16-sided 18th-century house called A La Ronde, now in the ownership of the National Trust, lies on the northern outskirts of the town. At the eastern end of Exmouth is The Barn, a late 19th century house in Arts and Crafts style.

Exmouth had one of the county's longest surviving nightclubs: Samanthas.[citation needed] This was a cinema before conversion into a tenpin bowling alley. While it was a bowling alley, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a small dance club called Deneys was set up in a small part of the building. It proved so successful that in 1973 it was converted to a nightclub. The club saw national and international artists as well as well known radio DJs. The club was also the resident venue of Mr Sams himself, Alan Clarke, who had worked as DJ and subsequently as Manager at the venue since 1978 and was still there in 2007. The nightclub closed in autumn 2008 to be redeveloped into flats.

Demographics and economics

In addition to its substantial summer tourist trade, Exmouth serves as a regional centre for leisure industries, particularly water sports such as sailing and wind-surfing, and outdoor activities such as bird-watching and walking. The Exe Estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is noted in particular for its wading and migrating birds. A large part of the estuary lies within a nature reserve. Exmouth marks the western end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, which stretches eastwards along the coast to Poole, in Dorset; the South West Coast Path allows for walking along this coast. The town is also at the western end of the East Devon Way path that leads to Lyme Regis.

Exmouth serves as a commuter town for Exeter, to which it has good public transport links by train and bus.


Rugby league team East Devon Eagles are based in Exmouth. They play in the South West Division of the Rugby League Conference. Devon County Cricket Club play their Minor Counties Championship matches at The Maer Ground.

Present day



Exmouth railway station is the terminus of the Avocet Line to Exeter St Davids station. The Exmouth to Starcross Ferry is a passenger ferry that operates during the summer months across the Exe Estuary to Starcross, where the pumping station for Brunel's Atmospheric Railway can be seen.


The University of Plymouth had a campus in the town, but as of July 2008 it had closed, and the future of the Rolle College site is uncertain. On 24 October 2009 the Exmouth Town Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the site.

Exmouth Community College is the school with the highest number of students in Devon (2,327 pupils including 6th form),[6] and one of the highest in Europe.


As of 6 December, £3 million is being spent on regeneration plans for The Strand.[7] The new features include an additional seating area and bicycle storage. The area is also being completely pedestrianised.

References and footnotes

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

There is more than one destination called Exmouth. You might be looking for:

  1. Exmouth in Devon, England
  2. Exmouth in Western Australia
This article is a disambiguation page. If you arrived here by following a link from another page you can help by correcting it, so that it points to the appropriate disambiguated page.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EXMOUTH, a market-town, seaport and watering-place in the Honiton parliamentary division of Devonshire, England, at the mouth of the river Exe, 102 m. S.E. by S. of Exeter by the London & South-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 10,485. In the 18th century it consisted of a primitive fishing village at the base of Beacon Hill, a height commanding fine views over the estuary and the English Channel. After its more modern terraces were built up the hillside, Exmouth became the first seaside resort in Devon. Its excellent bathing and the beauty of its coast and moorland scenery attract many visitors in summer, while it is frequented in winter by sufferers from pulmonary disease. The climate is unusually mild, as a range of hills shelters the town on the east. A promenade runs along the sea wall; there are golf links and public gardens, and the port is a favourite yachting centre, a regatta being held annually. Near the town is a natural harbour called the Bight. The local industries include fishing, brick-making and the manufacture of Honiton lace. Exmouth was early a place of importance, and in 1347 contributed io vessels to the fleet sent to attack Calais. It once possessed a fort or "castelet," designed to command the estuary of the Exe. This fort, which was garrisoned for the king during the Civil War, was blockaded and captured by Colonel Shapcoa to in 1646.

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