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.

Latest news from the River Exe

Comment: Environmental Leadership

After a BBC report that the Defra 25 year vision ‘Lacks policies’ and ‘may not even be published’, Dr Laurence Couldrick, CEO of Westcountry Rivers Trust, asks: is that the real problem? If you look at any book on Leadership it will probably quote the African proverb...

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Games by the River

Whatever your age, rivers are places where so many happy memories are made. In the Westcountry - where we are never more than 2 miles from a river - we all have so many tales of time enjoyed by the river. River walks, picnics, paddling, camping trips, river games…...

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Winter Wonderland

It’s that festive time of year again. In the WRT office, the team are fitting in a few more days of river conservation before the Christmas break. Mince pies have been appearing in the kitchen, talk of tree decorations, present purchases and festive plans fills tea...

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