The Exe Estuary Trail Cycle and Walking Route

WSP was appointed in 2004 by Devon County Council to help project manage the delivery of the award-winning Exe Estuary Trail, a 16 mile cycle and walking route located on Devon’s south coast.

Our clients challenge

The Exe Estuary Trail is an important element of the Devon County Council Local Transport Plan that encourages sustainable and healthy travel by walking and cycling. This off-road facility, which connects over 80,000 Devon residents with the City of Exeter, provides an opportunity for people to cycle or walk around the Exe Estuary, and admire the wildlife and beautiful scenery.


number of residents in the area
80,000 80,000
Distance of the walking and cycling route
16 miles 16 miles
percentage increase in number of  cycle trips
86 % 86 %

Our solution

We worked in close partnership with Devon County Council to deliver the trail on this ecologically sensitive environment. We were responsible for the majority of the preliminary designs, public exhibitions and consultation, land ownership negotiations, ecological surveys, submission of all of the 16 planning applications, as well as detailed design and contract supervision of several sections.

Completed in 2014, the trail includes boardwalks, bridges, culvert construction, lagoons, bird viewing facilities, and public art displays from the local community. The trail is connected to several railway stations and cross estuary ferries, providing a variety of opportunities for recreational journeys.

The route was aimed at significantly reducing car usage into Exeter. The number of cycle trips per annum increased by 86% between 2006 and 2014; from 181,329 to 337,592 trips.

The project won both the ICE SW Community Award 2015 and the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Award for Planning Excellence SW 2015.