Take a stroll along Topsham’s riverside path taking in 17th century buildings and fascinating wildlife, says One Magazine’s Jake Tucker

It’s important to keep active during the winter months as this is the time that we’re most likely to put on the pounds. Let’s face it, when the temperatures are low it’s all too easy to stay indoors in front of the fire watching a film and armed with a tin of chocolates. You might not be up for a full blown hike, so why not try something a little less taxing but just as interesting instead.

The Topsham Goat Walk route allows you to discover the quaint town of Topsham, full of picturesque 17th century buildings, its riverside strand and museum, as well as a variety of fascinating birds that live in the Bowling Green Marshes. This short one hour walk is predominantly along hard standing roads and paths and doesn’t contain many hills making it perfect for the whole family. There’s also great transport links via train and bus, including the new 57 bus service linking Exeter and Exmouth running every 20 minutes.

Holman way car park makes a great starting point for this walk. Exit the car park left and follow Parsons Path, taking you up a slight incline to the top of the bridge. Here turn left and continue through Monmouth Avenue before turning left onto Monmouth Street. Follow this road but be wary of any cars as there is no footpath along this section. You will then see a sign for the Bowling Green Marshes.

Along this section of the walk you’ll discover the bird hide, managed by the RSPB, where if you’re lucky you can discover a wader or a wildfowl in winter. Be sure to explore the estuary viewing platform a bit further along too. Here there is a chance of spotting the beautiful avocets feeding in the shallow waters, using their upturned bill to catch small fish – a relaxing and spectacular sight all at the same time. From here there are also stunning views down the estuary.

Continue along from here and you’ll reach a slip road, with a raised path next to it. This is the Goat Walk. This narrow raised path along the riverside has plenty of benches for you to stop, relax and take in the scenery.

Once you’ve reached the end of the Goat Walk you’ll find yourself continuing along into the town, past the many quaint cottages along the way, as well as a number of small jettys. Also along this section is Topsham Museum. Well worth a visit, here you can learn about Topsham’s fascinating history.

Continue further and you will reach The Lighter Inn, a delightful place for a well earned drink or meal. Before you continue on, why not let your food settle by having a wander around the Quay Antique Centre to see what you can find?

At this point you can opt for the shorter version of the walk by taking a right and returning along Holman Way and back to the car park. Otherwise you can continue onwards along Ferry Road to Topsham’s riverside strand, showcasing more of the attractive 17th century merchant houses.

Turn right at the end of this road onto Ashford Road and then right again onto the High Street, before turning into Fore Street where you can experience some more of Topsham’s waterside pubs and shops along the way. Don’t miss the mural near The Globe too as you’ll have to turn around to spot that one! From this point simply return back up Holman Way and to the car park to complete the walk.

Starts/ends: Holman Way Car Park, Topsham
Distance: Roughly 2.5 miles but can be shortened to roughly 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

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