The River Exe

Bursting into life in the heart of Exmoor, the River Exe carves its way through the Somerset and Devonshire landscape.

The River Exe, Somerset & Devon

The headwaters of the Exe lie in the Exmoor National Park. From its source at Exehead, the river flows across the moorland and passes across the rural Exe valley landscape, through the heart of Exeter and finally reaches the sea at Exmouth.

Throughout its journey from source to sea, the River Exe forms an central part of the lives and identities of those who live along its banks. Every stretch of this iconic river offers beautiful scenery, rich wildlife and a space to be explored and admired by all those who make their way to this stunning corner of the world.

The name “Exe” is thought to stem from the Latin take on the Brittonic word ‘isca.’ This translates either as ‘water’ or ‘abounding in fish’.

The Exe is known for its salmon population. Back in 1924, a staggering 61 1/4 pound salmon was caught in the river.

Get involved on the River Exe

If you love your local river, understand how vital it is to you in your life and share our passion for keeping it healthy for you and your community, then there are many ways for you to get involved. Whether it’s helping on a river clean-up day, becoming a river scientist, going on a river walk or simply making a donation, working together we can help your river bring water to life for many years and generations to come.

Salmon in the classroom…

Pupils in the Exe catchment have been welcoming some unusually fishy companions to their classroom, doing their bit to help conserve one of the South West’s most iconic species of fish, the Atlantic salmon.

The fry had been reared in a local hatchery, where fertilised eggs are hatched into alevins. These alevins were then cared for by local children as they develop into fry, before being released back into the local river.

The released fry will help boost the wild salmon population in the river, as part of conservation efforts to prevent further decline of Atlantic salmon populations in the UK.

River Exe Stories

From Roman times to the present day, Westcountry rivers have been an ever-present thread running through our communities, our culture and our heritage. Ever increasingly, we have come to realise how wonderful it is to spend time on, in or near a river and they are so often the backdrop to our fondest memories of days spent outdoors, being active and spending time with nature.

In 2016 we were delighted to be asked to Join Jo Loosmore and BBC Radio Devon for a mini-series looking at the work we do here at Westcountry Rivers Trust. Below are some snippets from the series about the River Exe

Latest news from the River Exe

WRT welcomes Dave Thomas

We are delighted to say that Dave Thomas has joined the WRT family, Here is what Dave has to say..... With a background in ecology on canals & waterways, agrochemicals and working for contractors conducting practical vegetation management I...

read more

First 100 volunteers sign up to monitor Westcountry rivers

Over 100 volunteers have now signed up to help the Westcountry Rivers Trust to monitor the health of rivers across the region. The Westcountry CSI (Citizen Science Investigation) project aims to encourage more people to take a closer look at their local river, stream...

read more

Confluence: Annual Review 2016

2016 was a challenging year for the Trust, mirroring the wider trials faced by Britain and the world in general. The move towards more nationalistic narratives, often seemingly at the expense of holistic integrated thinking, has brought division, uncertainty and...

read more