Great views across reedbeds and the spectacular Exe Estuary
One of the largest tidal reedbeds in Devon and one of the best for birds.
The Exe Reed Beds nature reserve is home to an amazing array of birds and insects.
Situated in the attractive upper reaches of the Exe Estuary, this site offers wonderful views across the Exe Valley and river. During the winter its mudflats and creeks are important for wildfowl and waders, such as red-breasted merganser, teal and avocet.
In summer Cetti's, sedge and reed warblers all use the reedbed to nest in. Their distinctive calls penetrate their dense surroundings. Swallows, house and sand martins can be seen buzzing over the tops of the reeds collecting insects.
Most winters the Exe Reed Beds are the place to see large starling murmurations. The synchronised acrobatic flight displays of these birds each dusk and dawn are one of nature's spectacles. The best vantage point to watch is from the Topsham side of the River Exe or from the footpath that leads from our Old Sludge Beds nature reserve under the M5 motorway bridge.
Exploring the River Exe
Access to the Exe Reed Beds is limited to views across the nature reserve from the neighbouring Exeter Ship Canal towpath. The River Exe Wild Walk links this nature reserve with our nearby Old Sludge Beds Nature Reserve and Cricklepit Mill. It's a great way to begin to explore the wildlife riches of the River Exe.
Train lines and a cycle path running along both sides of the Exe Estuary, cafes and pubs and regular ferries make this area one of the most accessible and most popular parts of Devon.