In Exeter: To Dawlish, one way - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

June 1, 2024

In Exeter: To Dawlish, one way

After sleeping on it, Rachael wakes up sold on the idea of taking the train south and then walking home along the river.  We look at the train schedule - trains run often all day long - and I map out a route back for her partly to help her think about how far she wants to walk and which station she should get off at.  It’s about nine miles if she gets off at Starcross, the station where our ferry landed yesterday; or eleven from Dawish Warren, or thirteen from Dawish.  Rachael, being Rachael, opts for the longest of them - and having eyes bigger than her feet will later have misgivings as the last two miles to town her feet drag a bit.

She leaves the hotel around nine, walks the half mile to Exeter Central, buys her ticket from the kiosk, and following my good example ends up with a round trip ticket also.  A little wasteful, but we don’t mind supporting UK’s impressive train network.  A half hour later I see on her Garmin email that she’s off the train and walking north, so I leave for my own ride.  

Rachael’s ride, one way.
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Later, Rachael will rave about how great those first two miles are, walking the Southwest Coastal Path east along the coast from Dawlish toward the mouth of the river.  To the right she gets views of the English Channel, and to the left on the other side of the tracks are beautiful red cliffs.  She takes a lot of photos here, which I’m especially pleased with because they’re views I won’t see myself when I bike down here because the bike route stays back from the coast on the other side of the cliffs.

When she nears Dawish Warren the trail turns north, cuts off the long sand spit there, and comes to the west bank of the river a mile or so later.  Not long after that she’s held up briefly on the road by an encounter with an intrusive biker heading the other way, and after that she continues north for another eight miles.

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It’s really a gorgeous coastline here. We’re not that far west from where we took that amazing hike on the Jurassic Coast west of here two years ago.
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Fallow deer, in the deer park on the grounds of Powderham Castle. She wishes her phone had a better zoom so she could get a clearer look.
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Sharing the road with the bikers.
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Patrick O'HaraAre you the 'intrusive biker'?
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraEmbarrassing, but true.
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3 weeks ago

After leaving me behind she walked the path atop the dike for the next few miles, getting views cross the river we missed from the bike path that’s down below and away from the water.  After that she came to the start of the ship canal and followed it the rest of the way into town.  By the time she finally made it back to the hotel her feet were sore from the rough-surfaced dike trail and she was pretty well leg-weary, having put in 14 miles for the day if you count the half mile to the train station she started with.  Nothing that a hot bath can’t help ease the pain of though.

She didn’t take as many photos on these last miles, maybe because she’d seen this country before on yesterday’s ride; or because she was getting tired; or because she knew I’d be along later as a sweeper and pick up anything she missed.  She did wonder if fourteen miles had been a little too ambitious.  Maybe she should have gotten off at Dawlish Warren instead?  But then she’d have missed those first two miles along the red cliffs, her favorite part of the day.

The view across the Exe Estuary, from the dike trail below Powderham.
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The Exeter Ship Canal. Rachael walked up its western side, but there’s a footpath long the other too.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe cow parsley?

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/124544-Anthriscus-sylvestris
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltProbably that or hogweed. Whatever it is, it grows everywhere along the hedgerows here.
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2 weeks ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonYeah. Some things you just gotta be there, and some, even the "experts" argue about.
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2 weeks ago
The view northwest toward Exminster. This is a marshy area, likely a good birding spot if you’ve a powerful camera along.
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