Weird and wonderful things to do if you find yourself in Exeter (part 1)...

Candy Street, Exeter, Devon, England.
Pub, history, Exeter, Devon, England.

 

 

After living in Exeter for the last couple of months, I've stumbled across quite a catalogue of unusual ways to spend your time in and around this ancient city.

 

With buildings from as long ago as Roman times, spanning through the ages to encompass our ugly concrete additions, Exeter is quite literally a walk through the ages. 

 

Over a series of miss-match articles, I'm going to show you some of the quirky places to find in the city as well as ways to escape into the countryside and beaches of Devon.

Yellow flowers, Exeter, Devon, England.

Free Books


Find your next bedtime read among the dusty volumes and new editions that are crammed around the walls of the two-story cave that is Bookcycle. There's no pressure from the volunteers who work there, but any donations go towards books and educational materials for developing countries and the gradual reforestation of rural Britain. 

 

Bookcycle, free books, Exeter, Devon, England.

You can read more about the project at www.book-cycle.org.

Enjoy a couple of pints down by the canal.


Pubs have always been an intrinsic part of British culture and Devon is deep into cider country. The Double Locks plays on it's quintessentially English setting with a decorative red telephone box and territorial guard swan. With plenty of space outside, you can relax, bring a dog or even camp for the night.

Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, England.

Sunbathe on the Cathedral Green.


Enjoy the most impressive space in the city with a picnic and a view that's remained constant for the last six hundred years. Take a closer look and notice the weather beaten carvings, their different expressions and strange creatures hidden in the elaborate decoration. 

Exeter Cathedral Green, Devon, England.

 

 

Woodbury Common and Castle

 

A little further away and even older is Woodbury Castle. This Iron Age hill fort, later to be the site of the Battle of Woodbury Common in 1549, is now little more than a raised ring of Earth.

 

Regardless, I found the trees have an atmosphere of their own, strangely silent in their eternal struggle to out do each other and reap the light of the sun.

 

There was a magical tinge to my footsteps as I emerged from the far side of the woodland to find the coconut smell of gorse bushes and a clear view out over the ocean.

 

Woodburry Castle, Common, Devon, England.

Dolbury Hill, Killerton 


On the subject of Iron Age hill forts, there is also the intriguing Dolbury Hill. Woodland backdrop to Killerton manor, this monument is built on the site of an extinct volcano. Though less treacherous these days, it's another a good place to go walking. There are ancient wild flowers such as garlic and bluebells and you're likely to spot the tiny Dartmoor ponies that have taken up residence. 

  

Dartmoor pony, Killerton, Devon
Exmouth, Exeter, Devon, England.
Exmouth, Exeter, Devon, England.

 

Hop on a train to the seaside. 

 

Although Exeter doesn't have it's own beach, Devon is lined by fantastic coastline- you don't have to travel far to find a nice spot. For convenience and accessibility, Exmouth comes out on top and it's a pleasant little town for slurping an icecream or trying some of this county's* famous cream teas. The half hour train journey is a great opportunity to spot unusual water birds that live on the Exe Estuary, patchwork allotments and even the occasional fox or deer.


*I am torn on this point as folk from Dorset, where I grew up, claim the cream tea as their own with an equal level of assertion. 

tulips, Exmouth, Exeter, Devon, England.
Elberry Cove, Devon, England.


Elberry Cove

 

If you're willing to travel a little further and are looking for somewhere really special, try Elberry Cove.

 

Without my own transport, the best way I found to reach this secluded patch of pebbles was to catch a train to Paignton before walking West for an hour or so. Along the coastline you'll pass strings of colourful beach huts, endless fish and chip vans and a range of tacky holiday spots, reminiscent of an imaginary Brighton in times gone by. 

 

Further on, the path weaves through wild flower meadows and trees, until the woods engulf you and you can begin to head down to the shore...

Elberry Cove, Devon, England.

Write a comment

Comments: 9
  • #1

    Becky Padmore (Wednesday, 17 June 2015 20:55)

    Such a pretty city with lovely architecture!

  • #2

    Katie Featherstone (Wednesday, 17 June 2015 21:24)

    Thanks Becky, it is.

  • #3

    Charlie Marchant (Monday, 22 June 2015 12:33)

    I'm pleased to say that I regularly did all of the city based activities on your list while I was at university, although sadly I never found the time in between working and studying to explore any of these other gorgeous places! Have you been to the bike shed theatre? And also the pub called the rusty bicycle? I loved those too :)

  • #4

    Katie Featherstone (Monday, 22 June 2015 13:26)

    Hi Charlie, Interesting to hear you went to uni in Exeter. We seem to have crossed paths rather often here in the UK! I was planning on including the Bike Shed in part 2, my friend did a DJ slot there the other day, but I've never heard of the Rusty Bicycle! Where abouts is that? Are you a particular fan or cycling themed venues? ;)

  • #5

    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) (Monday, 22 June 2015 18:27)

    Elberry cove looks just lovely! I've hardly been anywhere in the south west other than the a very brief stop in Yeovil once so both Dorset and Exeter are places I want to go to and I really want to try a proper Devon cream tea - is it cream first or jam though?!

  • #6

    Katie Featherstone (Tuesday, 23 June 2015 20:49)

    Thanks Shikha! Cream first here in Devon. I have to say I was kind of put off them after a very unfortunate summer job when I was 13! haha

  • #7

    Agness (Monday, 29 June 2015 20:46)

    I would definitely go running in this forest!!! :)

  • #8

    Mary{The World Is A Book} (Thursday, 02 July 2015 07:51)

    What a charming town filled with interesting things. I could probably hang out at the Cathedral Greens and look at those tiny Dartmoor ponies all day. Thanks for a great virtual tour!

  • #9

    Katie Featherstone (Thursday, 02 July 2015 19:06)

    My pleasure Mary. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

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