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Exeter Ship Canal

The Exeter Ship Canal runs for 5 miles from Exeter Canal Basin to Turf Lock on the River Exe.

Map showing the Exeter Ship Canal

Moored boats and rowers at Exeter basin on the Exeter Ship canal.

Facts & Stats

5 miles

(8.05 km)

The length of the Exeter Ship Canal that is navigable.

2 locks



Since this time it has been owned by Exeter City Council.

From the Exeter Canal to Turf Lock

Its origin dates back to 1566, since when the canal has been owned continuously by Exeter City Council, which is currently formulating plans for the canal’s future development, along with the River Exe and the Exe Estuary. The canal boasts two locks, including a tidal lock and a connection from the River Exe adjacent to the Canal Basin.  It is heavily used by walkers and cyclists but there is only a modest amount of boating traffic due to the difficulties caused by the low swing bridge and lifting bridge on the A379 Exeter bypass and the costs involved in operating these.

The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal was formed in 2016 and is lobbying for improvements to the canal and undertaking volunteer work parties along the canal to help assist the Council’s canal maintenance team.

Exeter City Basin is a Silver Propeller Challenge location.

Waterway notes

Navigation authority

Exeter City Council

useful info

Difficulties are caused by low swing bridge and a lifting bridge on the A379 Exeter bypass and the costs involved in operating these.

Exeter Ship Canal Guide

Download the guide covering the Exeter Ship Canal by IWA West Country Branch and Friends of the Exeter Canal.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.

Sustainable Boating

We want boating on canals and rivers to be more sustainable and – even though the current overall contribution to UK carbon emissions is very small – we want to help reduce emissions on the waterways.

Waterways Heritage at Risk

Britain’s canals and rivers are a unique, living heritage. But that heritage is at risk – from urban development, lack of protection, loss of skills and knowledge and climate change.

You can help Save Waterways Heritage.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

Local activities