When I was child, if you lived in Exeter, to the east of the river Exe, your beach was Exmouth, to the west and it was Dawlish Warren. Both beaches are around 10 miles from the city. Back then, in the dawn of time, most people didn’t have cars, but there was always the regular train or bus service, and there still is.
Summers were longer and warmer then, and the sunshine was, well, sunnier somehow. Families would pack up their bags with sandwiches, homemade sausage rolls and cake, kids would take their buckets and spades. Sun lotion didn’t exist, so many would burn and peel a few days later, the lucky ones would just tan. No-one thought anything of it, other than a touch of calamine lotion if it was sore.
Nowadays the Warren is a National nature Reserve and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and along with the rest of the Exe estuary, a Wetland of International Importance. Last weekend I took advantage of a few dry hours and took my camera for a walk.
In winter Dartmoor ponies are kept on the Warren to help maintain the grassland, I’ve seen some in the past but not on this visit sadly. The wetlands are teeming with wildlife, mostly elusive except to the ears.
I walked on past and got a glimpse of the beach.
Before striding on eastwards towards the golf course and a view across the estuary to Exmouth.
So, I’m on the crest of the dunes surrounded by beauty
Maybe this will help explain where I was
The wide area at the top is the sand spit right opposite Exmouth, but I pretty much stayed on the red path.
There are thousand of wildfowl and wading birds, I saw Oyster catchers, Wigeon, Brent Geese, and others that I don’t know the names of. The visitor centre had recorded far more that week than I was able to see because the tide was low, even though I walked around the curve of the sand spit to the bird hide.
The wind was getting up and the light was changing, so I headed back before the rain came in. So walking west, the beach was on my left. The big old terrace houses at Exmouth were clearly visible behind me
and my path back to the car park
Looking inwards I could see the grassland again.
The Warren got its name because centuries ago, probably back to the middle ages, rabbits were raised there on a commercial scale, for both food and skin.
This is part of the holiday makers area, with amusements, cafes, a pub and several caravan parks nearby.The tide was right in, but there is sand under there! The bright beach huts are a fairly recent addition. In the 1970’s there were hundreds of traditional beach huts down here behind the beach.
I can’t remember them though, I was an east of the Exe girl and still am, you know how much I love Exmouth!
I hope you enjoyed my walk. It’s either one day late or six days early for Jo’s Monday Walk but I’m never on time!
Sometimes you just know there is a reason for a photo don’t you? Three weeks ago I caught the train to Totnes instead of driving. On a sunny day there can be few train journeys to match it anywhere, the track follows the river Exe to the estuary, then passes through Dawlish and Teignmouth and heads up the river Teign. As always the train windows were grimy and the sun that made it so lovely caused glare and reflections but you’ll get the idea.
This is a small area of Gods Wonderful Railway, at Dawlish Warren, engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a masterpiece of construction in the 19th century. These photos were all taken at 10.04 am on May 18th, a fleeting moment. By 10.05 the scene had changed completely and will never exactly the same again.